Miso is a thick paste which is a culinary staple in Japan. The process of making miso involves fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, but at times, other ingredients such as rice and barley may also be used. A popular miso-based dish is miso soup which is commonly found in Japanese restaurants. While miso is usually salty, there are other flavors and aromas depending on different ingredients, regions or seasons. There are types of miso which are described to be sweet, earthy or fruity.
These are among the common types of miso:
Even though it is called white miso, the miso is actually a light yellow color. This type of miso is made from fermented soybeans and rice, and it does not undergo the fermentation process for a long period which results in a light color. It is described as having a mild and sweet taste. Due to its mildness in flavor, it is very versatile.
As for the yellow miso, it is often made from fermented soybeans and barley. It has a darker hue than the white miso, which means that it has a stronger taste. However, its taste is not as intense as red miso. The color of yellow miso ranges from yellow to light brown. This miso is described as having a mild and earthy taste.
The dark color of the miso which ranges from red to dark brown is due to long fermentation process which typically involves ingredients such as rice, barley, and other grains. The miso is said to have a mature flavor with a generous burst of umami. Among the 3 types of miso on this list, red miso is the saltiest and most pungent.
You can try using miso to replace salt or soy sauce in various recipes. Miso adds more umami flavor to your dish while also providing health benefits due to it being a fermented food which contains beneficial bacteria. Miso is delicious and it is good for you!