A traditional Japanese health food made from soybeans
Miso, a uniquely Japanese seasoning made from fermented soybeans, is gaining popularity the world over.
In Japan, miso has been used for centuries as a versatile seasoning. While its most typical incarnation is in miso soup, an essential part of the traditional Japanese meal, miso is an indispensable part of Japanese cuisine where it is used to flavour all kinds of dishes, including ramen.
In fact, since just a little miso can give a sauce depth and complexity, chefs have even started adding it to French and other world cuisines.
Miso is deeply rooted in Japan’s climate, culture and history. It is so important that, during the Warring States Period, castles used to stockpile miso and rice in anticipation of a siege.
A host of benefits for your body
Being high in salt, miso keeps well (it contains between 5% to 12% salt). It comes in sweeter and saltier varieties (generally speaking, the saltier varieties come from the north of the country).
You can find soybean miso, barley miso and rice miso, and each manufacturer has their own twist on the formula. Most of the miso on the market is a blend of different varieties, and recently an easy-cook version that is pre-seasoned with dashi stock has been gaining popularity.
And miso offers a host of benefits for your body! Needless to say, it has similar benefits to its mother the soybean, but the fermentation process makes miso healthier still.
Soybean miso is made by adding a kind of malt (kouji) to steam-boiled soybeans to ferment them. This produces yeast and lactic acid bacteria, which help to lower cholesterol, prevent cancer, promote good digestion, fight aging and refine the complexion.