Miso – the magical condiment . . .
Miso is an essential seasoning for Japanese cuisine besides soy sauce. Miso is a fermented soybean paste that sometimes contains barley, brown rice, or other grains with a type of fungus called “koji”.
In Canada, you can find miso at health food stores and some grocery stores. They typically come in different colours: red or white. I have tried them both and used them to make miso soup. Personally, I prefer white “shiro” miso, because the taste is mild and the texture is smoother.
Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup that has various ingredients and is seasoned with miso. Just like most probiotic foods, miso should not be cooked in high temperatures. In order to retain as much nutrients and benefits of probiotics, preserving the live koji cultures in miso is very important. So, you should only add miso to soups (or other dishes) right before they are removed from the heat.
Miso contains a good amount of protein, some minerals (zinc, copper, and manganese), and is high in vitamin B12. Also, its probiotics help with digestion.
Japanese people adore miso and have some sayings about it:
- “Eat miso soup for the morning detox.”
- “Miso soup kills doctors.”
- “Miso soup is the medicine for longevity.”
- “Make miso on your own, even if you have to borrow money.”
- “If you are a smoker, miso soup is just right for you.”
- “Better to pay the miso producer than doctors.”
- “A bowl of miso soup can give you lots of energy.”
I recently found out that Japanese people who love to ferment foods make homemade miso. The older it gets, the greater corresponding increase its health benefits. Three-year old miso is said to be a medicine. One of my dreams is to make my own miso at home, along with other Japanese fermented foods.
My saying would be: “A bowl of miso soup a day, keeps the doctor away”.
All is well, all the best!