Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning, made with soya beans which are fermented with salt and koji, a type of fungus. The paste is a staple in Japanese cooking and can be used to flavour soups, stews, dressings, marinades or pickles. It has a predominantly salty flavour with sweet, earthy and fruity tones. The depth of the flavour depends on the length of the fermentation process and other ingredients used. Main types of miso available on the high street:
White miso (shiromiso) – barley, rice and a small amount of soya beans. Short fermentation process results in a light golden colour, with a mild, sweet taste.
Red miso (akamiso) – more soya beans are added and fermented over a longer period of time resulting in a darker colour and a more pungent umami flavour.
You can also find rice, barley and mixed miso (always containing soya beans with other grains). Especially the darker varieties keep in the fridge for months.