Japanese ingredients for your healthy life

Miso products

So many variations

With miso found all over the world now, many people are now asking more about miso and all the different variations and brands available. Miso is such a super food and itfs uses in the kitchen stretch far and wide. Miso comes in many forms and can be very or a little salty with every type able to be used to add something special. Letfs have a look at the different types on offer and what brands to look out for when in the shops so you can find the right one.

 

Miso is sold all over the world now. If in Japan, itfs one of the most common ingredients and all the big brands can be found in pretty much every retail shop selling food. Miso is also distributed and sold throughout the world and can be found at Japanese supermarkets and/or Asian grocery shops. Miso is usually sold in small sealed tubs varying in size but can also be found in sealed bags too. There is usually a best before date and given that miso is a fermented product, it generally lasts a long time but needs to be kept in the refrigerator.

 

Miso comes in many forms, some miso pastes are very strong tasting, others are lighter and sweeter. Generally speaking, miso pastes that are fermented longer have a darker colour and a stronger flavour. Generally, speaking it all comes down to personal preference as to which types to use. There are six main types of miso in Japan each with special characteristics. A very well known type is shiromiso which means white miso. This is made from soybeans, barley and rice. This is known for its delicious sweet taste and is fermented over a shorter timeframe than other miso products. Another type of miso is mugi miso which translates to barley miso, this miso is known for it pungent and unique smell. In the eastern part of Japan, they produce a yellowish coloured miso called komemiso (which translates to rice miso) This particular variety is made from soybeans and rice. Another type of miso is mame miso, a name which means soybean miso. This type of miso has a darker, brownish looking colour and is particularly delicious. The taste is less sweet than some other varieties and offers a more savoury taste. It takes a long time to ferment. The miso that is usually aged for the longest time is known as aka miso or red miso in English. The variation gets its red colour from the length of time it ferments, fermenting this long changes it from a whitish colour to red. This type is quite strong tasting and particular salty. Lastly, shougou miso (translated as mixed miso in English) can take on many forms as it is a mixture of the key ingredients from other miso types like, rice, soybeans and barley. For those interested in miso but without experience eating each type, why not ask your local Japanese restaurant waiter what type of miso and what brands they offer to get an idea of which type youfre eating and whether you like it.

 

Because miso can be made in so many different ways by varying ingredients and fermentation times there really are so many forms of miso. Because of this a huge market exists offering a multitude of miso tastes and brands. If in the miso aisle in Japan for example, there would be so many different brands to choose from.

Top brands

The most famous miso brand is marukome. Marukome has been pumping out miso since 1854 and is now Japanfs leading miso manufacturing company. They offer a range of products but the appeal to most people for their reliable miso products and their reputation. Another top brand is hanamaruki. Hanamaruki has been producing miso for around 80 years and like marukome, mass produces quality miso and can be found in supermarkets throughout Japan. If buying miso overseas, these two are highly recommended choices as they have a good reputation and are popular with Japanese people.

 

if you were looking for a miso with a particularly strong smell and/or taste then itfs best to try one of the smaller brands, particularly the local ones. In Japan, each region tends to have its own special taste and local manufacturers often supply it to supermarkets in that area.

 

Miso can be used in so many ways. Miso soup itself can be made from any of the different types of miso discussed earlier. The darker and stronger tasting miso pastes will results in a miso soup that has a more pungent smell and stronger taste. Miso soup is all about experimenting, so itfs best to add miso in little by little until you reach the desired levels of saltiness and strength of taste. being the versatile ingredient it is, it is also greats for seasoning meat and fish. One great recipe that always impresses is to mix miso together with Japanese mayonnaise and put on top of fish. Grill the fish in the oven and serve with white rice and vegetables to make a delightful meal. Another nice little creation is frying miso in with boiled mussels and seafood. Once the miso starts to brown on the seafood it is ready to serve. you donft just have to heat miso to heat it, it can also be eaten raw too. Miso goes well as a dip with raw vegetables too. Try cutting up some celery and carrot sticks for your next party to impress. As always, the choice of miso depends on personal preference.

 

Miso is a fine food and itfs no wonder that it has become such an important food around the world in recent years. There are many variations of miso and many brands and all of them should be tried to gain an understanding and learn what types you like. Regardless of the type, itfs good to know that they are all good for you with lots of fibre and good bacterias for helping your stomach to function. Itfs also great to know that with so many brands and types therefs a whole world of new tastes to try.