MISO is used as bouillon and is an aged, smooth, sandy puree made with soybeans, barley, chick peas, aduki beans, and salt. Barley miso is used most often in daily cooking. If you are just starting to use miso, try Mellow Barley, Sweet White, Chick Pea, or Aduki Bean miso. My preference is chick pea miso first and aduki bean miso second. Other excellent misos are “hatcho” and “natto.” There are also white and yellow misos which are light and sweet tasting. Miso is primarily used in soups in place of bouillon, chicken, meat or bones, and can also be spread on bread or toast especially when combined with tahini.
Miso is reputed to have health promoting qualities:
- Strengthen the immune system
- Detoxify the bloodstream of pollution, radiation, and nicotine
- Contains lactic acid, probiotics, and enzymes to aid digestion
A wide variety of organic misos can be purchased at your local natural food stores. Buy the ones in the refrigerated case. Do not buy powdered or pasteurized misos, but freeze-dried is okay.
Basic sweet vegetable miso soup—makes 4 servings
1/4 cup onion, sliced in thin half moons
1/4 cup cabbage, sliced thinly
1/4 cup carrot, sliced in thin rounds
1/4 cup winter squash or brussel sprouts
1 inch piece of wakame sea vegetable
Cilantro and crushed garlic, if you wish
4 cups of water
2-4 teaspoons barley or other miso (1/2-1 teaspoon per cup)
Soak wakame sea vegetable in a pot with water for 5 minutes.
Remove wakame from pot and slice. Return wakame to pot of water, bring to a boil, reduce flame to medium and let simmer for 3-4 minutes.
When done, add sliced vegetables and simmer for another 3 minutes.
Dilute the miso in a small amount of the hot vegetable broth that you have just cooked. Add the miso only to the soup that you are going to eat now.
You can simmer that broth with the miso in it (simmer is when steam comes off the top but no bubbles come up from below) for the final 2-3 minutes or you can just put the miso in a bowl of vegetables and broth. Do not boil miso. Garnish with parsley or scallions.
Here is a printable version (pdf) of this information about MISO.
Here is another recipe for Summer and Winter Miso Soup.