Miso and the Muse

What is miso and why would you eat it, how would you eat it? Well you’re in luck my fellow Bon Vivants, this week we are going to study miso. By the end of the week you will certainly have seen at least one recipe that inspires you to try miso!

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Miso comes in different ‘colors’. It is a traditional Japanese food that is created by fermenting soybeans. It is superb on its own but, it can also be used to increase the umami of many dishes. Umami is one of the five basic flavors (the others being  sweet, sour, bitter, and salty). Loosely translated it could mean savory.

White Miso – Shiromiso: is the mildest and great place to start if you’re new to miso. It is sometimes referred to as ‘sweet’, but I don’t find it actually sweet, just milder than the other varieties.

Yellow Miso – Shinshumiso: is fermented a little longer than white and so it is slightly stronger.

Red Miso – Akamiso: is fermented the longest and thus has the strongest flavor.

Some miso is fermented with other ingredients like barley, rice, millet or rye; and, fermentation can be anywhere from a few days to a few years. Yes, years!

So how do you select the right one? Read the label carefully. Some miso is extremely high in sodium and some miso has lower sodium, select according to your palate and dietary needs. Also read the ingredients to check for MSG, some miso manufacturers us it as an additive.

So now that you know what miso is what are you going to do with it? Let’s start with breakfast – Miso Poached Eggs.

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First prepare your miso. Slowly heat a small quantity of water, add a heaping spoonful of miso and stir or whisk until it is incorporated and hot. The amount and type of miso depends on your tastes, I like strong miso so I’ve used a dark read miso. Take care not to let your misos rapidly boil, at that point they often break down and then never become smooth again.

Prepare your poached eggs however you normally would. Fried or scrambled would work just fine. Drizzle the miso over the eggs and top them  with a few strips of seaweed. Add a side dish, like sauteed mushrooms and steamed asparagus and you’ve got a delicious, exotic breakfast.

Tomorrow we’ll tackle miso broth with vegetables and tuna!

Until next time… Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

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