I didn’t know it when it happened. But I figured it out pretty quickly.
You see, about a year ago I stumbled upon a new ingredient.
An ingredient that I soon realized that I couldn’t – and didn’t – want to live without. What is it? Miso paste.
Oh, I’d heard of it before but didn’t really know much about it. In fact, when I saw it I had a recollection of having miso soup at some point in my past. Then vaguely remembering that it smelled and tasted like dirty sock soup. Yeah, I know. I’m not selling you on it yet am I?
I’ll admit it took a couple times of staring at it in the store before I actually bought it. What was holding me back? Well, for one, that dirty sock incident but I was willing to try to get past that. The real reason was because I had no idea what I was going to do with it. Finally I just decided to get over it and buy it already! And so the research began.
So what exactly is miso? It’s a Japanese fermented paste typically made from soy beans, salt and koji. The ingredients are blended together and allowed to age which could take up to a
couple months depending on the type of miso being made. It’s then ground into a paste which has a texture similar to butter.
So what’s so special about miso? Well, two things – the taste (no – not dirty socks!) and – you know what I’m going to say next – the health benefits. Let’s first talk about the taste. The taste of miso is so special. It’s not able to be categorized into the four tastes we are all familiar with – salty, sweet, sour or bitter. It’s umami. Umami actually means “pleasant savory taste”. It’s a taste that just doesn’t quite hit the mark of the other flavors we know. It’s the flavor in mushrooms, in shellfish, in parmesan cheese, in miso. It’s delicious.
Now on to the really good stuff – the health benefits. Miso is made from the process of fermentation. Fermented foods contain a type of bacteria called probiotics. I know – I said bacteria – don’t let that scare you away. Really – trust me! This is “good” bacteria – you want this stuff! Probiotics are good for you – especially your digestive system. It’s important to maintain a balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your system. Things like medications, diet, and diseases can upset that balance. Well, probiotics can help keep you balanced! Some research also indicates probiotics may also help with some skin conditions, oral health and liver disease.
So miso is a pretty cool ingredient right? Have I sold you on it yet? Don’t let the fact that it is Japanese deter you from trying it. While I love to use it in my Asian-inspired dish, Miso-Glazed Cod, I have used it in non-Asian dishes as well. I’ve experimented with it in salad dressings and pasta dishes. Miso adds an extra pop of flavor that is so unique it will have you asking yourself, now what was that delicious taste?
Have you tried miso? What dishes have you used it in?
- 2 - 4oz pieces of cod
- 2 teaspoons red miso
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons sambal oelek
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix all ingredients for glaze together in a bowl.
- Spread glaze over the top of cod pieces.
- Bake cod for 4 minutes then broil for 6 minutes.
Powered by Facebook Comments