Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Japanese Foods - Miso

I am sure most foodies and open-minded, when it comes to food, individuals have probably tasted the famous miso soup.

But what is miso?

Miso is an important seasoning that has been consumed over 1,300 years. Miso is made of three basic ingredients: soybean, salt and malt (koji). However, there are four varieties of miso, depending on the malt ingredient: Rice, Barley, Bean and Blend.

So, the types are:

1. Mame Miso (soybean-malt miso, deeply rich and dark brown in color)
This is the thickest tasting, "full-bodied" miso. It's recommended for dipping sauces and stewed dishes

2. Mugi Miso (barley-malt miso, sweet to full-bodied, light yellow and red in color, mainly in Fukuoka area of Japan)
This type has the texture of barley and a tempting aroma. It is recommended for spicing up simple dishes and is great as dipping sauce for pork dishes and salads.

3. Kome is a rice-malt miso and is the most common miso in the country. It comes in three different colors and flavors:

a. Rice-malt miso, white and sweet, Kyoto area
It has a soft taste and the lowest amount of salt among all miso. It matches well with fish dishes and desserts

b. Rice-malt miso, light yellow, semi-sweet to full-bodied
This is a very common variety, widely used in Japan. It pairs perfectly with chicken dishes and white wines

c. Rice-malt miso, red and full-bodied, preferred in cold areas of Japan
This has rich and thick flavors; you only need to add just a small amount to your dish to get the flavors. It pairs well with meat dishes and red wines.