Miso is a traditional fermented food paste made from fermented soya beans combined with rice or barley, koji (a unique fermentation culture) and sea salt. It is a staple food in the Japanese diet and is characterised by its deeply balanced umami flavour. Umami is loosely translated as “savouriness” and is considered the “fifth taste” (alongside sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness). Miso is a versatile ingredient and can be used as a base for soups, marinades and sauces.
There are several types of miso, differing by flavour depending on the ingredients used, climate temperature, length of fermentation and aging. It can take years to develop an ideal flavour profile for miso, which translates to a well-rounded, aromatic, earthy taste that compliments so many different ingredients.
Today we’re breaking down the different types of miso you might encounter at the grocery store or your local Asian supermarket. Here at Indigo Herbs we’ve got a range that will satisfy all your miso needs.
Types of Miso
Sweet White Miso - rice and soya beans
White miso is a special miso historically from Kyoto, traditionally made in small batches. It is noted for its shorter fermentation process, which lends itself to a light colour, a wonderful creamy richness and a malty sweetness. Historically this miso was reserved for royalty and high-class citizens because of the costly price of traditional ingredients used. Sweet white miso is a perfect substitute for milk in creamy soups and sauces as well as mashed potatoes. You can also get creative by using it as a base for salad dressings and dips.
Brown Rice Miso / Genmai Miso - soya beans and brown rice
Brown rice miso is known as genmai miso in Japan and was developed for maximum nutrition, using whole soya beans and brown rice. Its flavour profile is savoury and slightly sweet with a delicious, balanced taste that enhances all sorts of dishes, including beans, vegetable dishes, sauces, soups and stews.
Barley Miso / Mugi Miso - soya beans and barley
Barley miso is known as mugi miso, and is the traditional miso of rural Japan. It adds a deep, rich flavour to baked dishes, stews, and soups - especially miso soup! The barley miso we carry is made by traditional methods and is fully aged in cedarwood kegs for one to two years in order to develop its rich umami flavour.
“Hatcho” Miso - soya beans and barley flour
If you're familiar with miso and have used it before, most likely you've had a chance to taste hatcho miso. Hatcho Miso has been revered for centuries as the most famous miso in Japan, noted it for its dark colour and rich, distinctive taste. This pure soya bean miso is made with a bit of barley flour and contains twice as much protein than either brown rice or barley miso. As with any miso, use instead of salt for a balanced, savoury flavour that adds a depth of umami to soups, stews, sauces, marinades and dressings.
Other Miso Products
Do you love Clearspring as much as we do? Check out our full Clearspring range here.
How do YOU use miso? Do you have any interesting tips or tricks?
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