Five easy recipes, one ingredient. Here's how to tip your spoon straight into the umami powerhouse that is miso.
By
Farah Celjo

1 Jun 2022 - 4:53 PM  UPDATED 2 Jun 2022 - 9:02 PM

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Akin to a hug in a bowl, miso soup just has a way to fill our cups.

Miso (the ingredient, not the soup) is a wonder in itself, made from fermented soybeans, sometimes a little barley and rice (koji) and this umami wonder hit comes in many styles and colours. Red (aka) has a longer ferment and is saltier in taste, more concentrated and assertive in flavour. Yellow (shinshu) has been fermented less than red and is a little more acidic than its white (shiro) counterpart. White miso is a lot more mellow in taste and lighter in colour due to its shorter ferment of soybeans and more koji.

Rice culture
How this business discovered the secret to making Japanese food great
Koji is the starter ingredient behind many much-loved Japanese foods. It also inspired “fermentation fanatics” Rice Culture to start a business that showcasing just how amazing it is.

Mild and slightly sweeter, white miso paste is the name of today's game as we delve into the sweet, savoury and umami potential from our tub to yours.


 

Miso salted caramel sauce

In a pan over medium heat, cook:

  • 2 cups caster sugar

For 5-6 minutes or until the sugars caramelise.

Once you reach your golden colour, add:

  • ¾ cup thickened cream
  • 60 g butter
  • 3 tbsp white miso paste

Stirring continuously until creamy and smooth. Top with pink sea salt flakes (optional) and spoon over ice cream, over grilled bananas or make your own miso caramel milkshake.

Sticky miso bananas with lime and toasted rice

This dessert ticks all our flavour boxes – sweet, salty, tangy and umami – and all our texture boxes – sticky, crunchy and creamy.

Honey miso-glazed chicken thighs

In a small frypan, heat:

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 5 cm knob ginger, crushed/grated

Add and bring to a boil:

  • 30 ml sake or rice wine
  • 4 tbsp white miso paste

Add:

  • 400-500 g chicken thigh

Reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through and the glaze becomes sticky and the chicken caramelised.

Serve with steamed rice or with some chopped birdseye chilli and fresh coriander. 

Miso and maple nuts for the win.

Miso and maple nuts

Heat oven to 140°C and roast:

  • 4 cups unsalted raw nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts) 

For 15 mins or until golden.

In a small saucepan, heat:

  • 60 g butter
  • 2-3 tbsp white miso paste
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup brown sugar 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes or oil (optional)

Stir until well combined and sticky. 

Take the roasted nuts and place them into a bowl, pour the bubbling hot miso maple butter over the top, tossing through until all nuts have been coated. Lay them back on the line baking tray to cool.

Sprinkle with extra salt to finish and then pop them into airtight containers. Great on your next ice cream sundae pick 'n' mix, crushed over your breakfast porridge or as a mid-afternoon or midnight movie snack. 

 

Miso and black sesame brigadeiros (Brazilian fudge)

In a small saucepan, heat:

  • 1 x 400 g can condensed milk
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 tbsp butter

Continuously mix to avoid sticking or burning and then set aside to cool.

Place a mixture of chocolate sprinkles and black sesame onto a plate ready for rolling.

Using your hands, take half to three-quarter tbsp measurements of the miso and chocolate batter and roll them into balls to the size of your choosing. Roll them in sprinkles and sesame and then pop them into lolly or muffin cups.

 

Miso onions

Preheat your oven to 200°C.

In a small saucepan, melt:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a heatproof baking dish, add 6-8 small brown onions that have been halved lengthwise. Pour ¾ cup of the miso butter over the top and seal with some foil. Bake for 20-30 mins. Remove the foil, add the remaining miso butter and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden and caramelised. Sprinkle with chopped spring onions, to serve.

 

Love the story? Follow the author here: Instagram @farahceljo.

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