3 ways with miso

Green Lifestyle

The sweet–salty flavour of miso makes it a stand-out addition to salads, dressings and grilled vegetables of just about any cuisine.


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Originally from Japan, miso is a paste made from fermented rice, soy or barley.

A type of mould (the same used in sake) is used to break down the grain or vegetable starches to create a delicious and nutritious sweet paste.

Salt is added to preserve the paste, which can be stored in an airtight container for several months, and used to flavour a range of dishes.

There are manufacturers of high-quality, traditional-style miso paste here in Australia. For great quality, ethics and flavour, try the extensive range from Spiral Foods.

Try these tasty dishes that showcase the versatility of miso:

Eggplant and Sweet Miso Grilling Sauce

Called dengaku, this is the simplest, and most delicious Japanese sauce that’s brushed over vegetables before cooking.
Mix 100 g of white miso, 100 g of sugar and 100 ml of mirin in a bowl to form a sauce. Cut an eggplant in half lengthways and deeply score the flesh into 2 cm cubes. Drizzle several teaspoons of the sauce over the scored eggplant and then grill or bake it in a hot oven until the flesh is soft. Also brush the sauce over zucchini, corn or thinly sliced pumpkin before barbecuing.

Miso Mayo

A wicked luxury, Japanese mayo contains an astonishing amount of MSG. Avoid it by making your own version by putting an egg yolk in a bowl and adding one tablespoon of lemon juice, rice wine vinegar or even yuzu vinegar (available from Japanese grocers) and one tablespoon of white miso paste. Blend with a whisk while slowly dribbling in a cup of grapeseed or sunflower seed oil until the mixture begins to thicken, at which time you can increase the dribble to a trickle. Enjoy instead of butter in sandwiches, or use it to dress steamed vegetables or fish. It will store in a sealed container in the fridge for several weeks.

Miso Salad Dressing

This thick and nutritious dressing is perfect for spooning over freshly steamed broccoli or tossing through a salad of wild rocket and avocado. Put one tablespoon of miso paste in a screw-top jar with the juice of one lemon and a teaspoon of sesame seed oil. Shake vigorously. Use as desired and store in the fridge for up to a fortnight for future use. A tablespoon of freshly toasted sesame seeds sprinkled over the dressed vegetables or salad will add a tasty finishing touch.