Friday, July 5, 2013

Miko Brand Shiro Miso Paste

Hello everyone!

Welcome to our adventures in Asian foods and cooking! The goal of this blog is to help others get over their fear of foreign foods and ingredients (namely Asian origin). Our hope is to create easy to follow recipes with Asian themed foods as the main component. We will also be doing reviews on products you would normally find in an Asian food store.

So let’s explore Asia together!

Our first product review is of Miko Brand Shiro Miso Paste- a product of Japan.  Miso is a puree of fermented soybeans that can range from white to red to black. While most miso is made from soybeans, you can also find it made with barley or rice. The fermentation process can take 6 months at the shortest and 3 years at the longest.
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The different colors of miso are attributed to the ingredients in which they are blended:
- White Miso “Shiro”- Is made from fermented soybeans and rice. The color can range from white to tan and it has a sweeter taste than other miso blends. This is also the most commonly used flavor.
- Yellow Miso “Kiiro”- Is a mixture of soybeans fermented with barley and a small amount of rice. The color can be yellow to a light brown and it’s normally used as a condiment in soups, marinades, and sauces.
- Red Miso “Aka”- This type contains more soybeans to grains and is fermented much longer. The flavor is also much, much stronger, but it goes well mixed in hearty dishes. The color can range from red to dark brown.
- Black Miso “Kuro”- Black miso is made with a high percentage of soybeans and salt, and fermented for the longest amount of time. The flavor is much stronger than red miso, but pairs well with red meats. The sodium content is a lot higher, so use in moderation!

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In Japanese cuisine miso is a staple food product and found in a number of dishes, but today we will be using it in soup.

Tofu and Wakame

Miso soup is the easiest thing you could make. In most cases the recipe is on the miso container!

- 1 quart boiling water
- 4 Tablespoons shiro miso paste
- ½ block tofu (we used firm)
- 1-2 Tablespoons daikon radish, small dice
- 2 Tablespoons green onion, sliced thin on a bias
- 1 tsp dashi stock base (you can also use bonito flakes or fish sauce to your taste)
- Laver strips (roasted nori), for garnish

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1.       Boil the water in a pot. Mix in the miso paste and dashi stock base with a whisk until well blended. Add in the tofu and daikon and cook for a minute or so just to warm. You can cook the radish all the way, but I prefer to keep the peppery taste of the radish.
2.       Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with green onions and laver strips.

It’s as easy as that!
Miso soup is a delicious, warm, and quick meal. The salty, sweet flavor of the miso is worth buying it as a paste. Powdered miso doesn’t cut it and you can easily tell the difference. The earthiness of miso brings out a fifth taste receptor known as “umami”, which is a way to express tastes that are meaty, hearty, or savory.

The soup reheats well too. If it starts to separate, that’s normal. Just stir it back up. I decided to make scallion-potato pancakes to go with our meal, but you can serve this soup with traditional fish and a bowl of rice.

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Please enjoy!

Miss Noodle

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