Most of us think of the soothing miso broth, but this sweet-salty paste brings flavour to any dish!
What is it?
Traditional Japanese seasoning miso is all about umami, the unique, savoury ‘fifth flavour’ associated with fermented foods. Miso is made by fermenting soy beans with salt and the koiji fungus. Rice, barley or buckwheat are often added to vary the colour and flavour.
How is it used?
Miso isn’t just for soup — it’s so versatile and helps amp up the flavour in food. You can use the paste in stews, salad dressings and marinades, often with a touch of mirin or sake, sugar or oil. Once opened, store in the fridge. Find recipes using miso at healthyfoodguide.com.au
The nutrition verdict
It’s high in protein, iron and antioxidants, but as you use only a small amount, it won’t greatly affect your diet. The fermentation process creates enzymes beneficial to digestion, but pasteurisation and heat can destroy them. Just one tablespoon of miso paste contains around half your daily intake of sodium — so go easy!
For marinades and salad dressings, white miso (‘shiro’) has the shortest fermentation time, tasting light and sweet.
For seasoning vegies, yellow miso gives an earthy flavour.
For stews and broth, use brown rice miso (‘genmai’) or red (‘aka’) for a deeper flavour.
For traditional miso soup, you should use dashi miso (miso paste with added dashi stock).
From the shop to your table
Hikari Shiro Miso Paste $4.11 per 400g
Nutrition per tablespoon: 178kJ (43cal), 3.0g protein, 1.2g fat, 1.0g fibre, 1067mg sodium
Miko Dashi Miso Paste $7.49 per 500g
Nutrition per tablespoon: 211kJ (51cal), 0.8g protein, 2.4g fat, 2.0g fibre, 1372mg sodium
Hikari Aka Miso Paste $4.39 per 500g
Nutrition per tablespoon: 66kJ (16cal), 0.1g protein, 0g fat, 0.4g fibre, 889mg sodium
Spiral Foods Organic Genmai Miso $15 per 400g
Nutrition per tablespoon: 191kJ (46cal), 3.3g protein, 1.9g fat, 1087mg sodium