Welcome to the first Ingredient of the Week post! Every Tuesday, I’ll be featuring a different item.
This week I want to talk about miso paste, which has become one of my kitchen staples. An important part of traditional and modern Japanese cooking, it has gained some popularity in the States and can be found in specialty markets and even in larger stores like Whole Foods.
Most miso paste is made from soy, but it can also be made from barley, rice or wheat. It’s often used in soups, sauces, marinades, and for pickling vegetables or meat. Its general flavor is salty, but certain varieties may lean towards savory, sweet, or even fruity.
Because miso is a fermented food, it is often recommended for its probiotic content (Lactobacillus acidophilus). It also contains a fair amount of protein (around 2 grams per servings), fiber, and trace minerals such as zinc, manganese, and copper. With about 20 calories per serving, it’s a great way to add flavor without a lot of extra calories.
You can read more about miso and its reported health benefits here.
There are many kinds of miso. A few examples:
- hatcho miso (made from soybeans)
- kome miso (made from white rice and soybeans)
- mugi miso (made from barley and soybeans)
- soba miso (made from buckwheat and soybeans)
- genmai miso (made from brown rice and soybeans)
- natto miso (made from ginger and soybeans)