- This week’s ingredient feature is all about Miso. You’ve all heard of it and probably tried it in some form but how much do you really know about it?
This week’s ingredient feature is all about Miso. You’ve all heard of it and probably tried it in some form but how much do you really know about it?
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (good mould that kickstarts fermentation). It’s generally used for soups, seasoning meat and fish and making pickles. However, it’s an incredibly versatile ingredient for all kinds of cooking. If you don’t know by now, fermented stuff tastes great. There are endless varieties of Miso, but the most commonly found in the supermarket is White Miso. Oh, and it’s vegan too.
Miso acts as an instant flavour bomb, adding salt and savouriness to your food. The trendy way to describe that profile is “Umami”. It has a deep and earthy taste that can elevate vegetables to an absolutely delicious level. It works brilliantly when used to create depth of flavour in soups and stocks and makes a great replacement for fish sauce and seafood seasonings in Thai cooking.
I’m a huge fan of Japanese and South-East Asian cooking, but some of my favourite ways to use Miso is as a subtle flavour enhancer in all sorts of Western dishes too.
1) Miso Butter Mushroom Risotto
Risotto is a delicious dish that really lends itself to plant-based cooking. You don’t need loads of butter, cream and parmesan to make it delicious. Try making a simple risotto with garlic, leeks and good quality vegetable stock. Mix vegan butter with some miso paste and stir this into some sauteed mushrooms. Sprinkle these all over your risotto and chuck in an extra knob of miso butter for good measure. You will not miss the dairy, I promise.
2) Miso Glazed Carrots
My go-to accompaniment for any roast or pie. Chop your carrots into chunks and pop them in a saucepan with a knob of vegan butter and a splash of water (only enough to cover the bottom of the pan). Put a tight-fitting lid on top and cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes. When your carrots are about a minute off being ready, add a teaspoon each of agave (or honey) and miso. Stir it all together and serve when the carrots are al dente and beautifully glazed.
3) Miso Tahini Dressing
Mix together miso and tahini and then stream in cold water until you have a smooth, runny dressing. The water will make the tahini seize up initially, but don’t worry, it will thin out with eventually. This dressing is perfect for pouring over salads, grilled broccoli, roasted aubergines or deep-fried cauliflower.
4) Miso Mayo
Mix the two together and put it on everything. Seriously. I dare you not to love it.