Miso is a pasty fermented seasoning made from koji, salt, soy beans, rice, or barley. Cooked ingredients are combined with koji and salt. Then let it sit over 6 months for fermentation process to take place.
Miso is made all over Japan, and and some people still make their own. In the market, red, white, rice, barley, soy beans varieties are usually available. Most popular white is made from rice and soy beans. Hacho is dark red color, and it’s made only from soy and salt. Each miso has its distinctive flavor, but all can be used for miso soup.
Other than making soup, miso can be used widely for cooking. Mixture of equal amount of miso, mirin, and sugar is good for marinating fish, chicken or pork chop. Japanese salad dressing can be made by adding a small amount of it into vinegar and oil mixture.
Regional and personal preference strongly affects the flavor of miso. It’s interesting to buy a different kind each time, and find the one you like.
Miso can be bought at Japanese grocery stores, Chinese grocery stores, Korean grocery stores, and health food stores. For those who rather want to order online, here are some suggestions;