Miso is fermented soybean paste made from mashed soybeans that have been mixed with salt and a mold culture and aged for 6-36 months.
I'll wait while you gag.
It may not sound appetizing, but fermentation is a natural (and beneficial!) process that simply involves bacteria breaking down and "digesting" carbohydrates. And bacteria aren't that scary. If you don't believe me, some fermented foods that you may regularly enjoy include sauerkraut, pickles, sourdough bread, beer, wine, and greek yogurt.
Miso is used to give a rich depth of flavor to many foods, and it is a common base for soups and salad dressings. Because miso is already partially "digested" by the fermenting bacteria inside, it is generally easy to digest and acts as a good source of B vitamins, vitamin K, copper, manganese, and zinc. Fermented foods like miso are probiotics that boost the number of "good" bacteria in the gut. Bacteria might sound like a bad thing to have inside your body, but having high amounts of healthy bacteria in your colon is extremely beneficial: it aids in digestion, wards off illnesses, and keeps the immune system functioning at its best.
At this point in time, around 90% of the soybeans in the U.S. are genetically modified. Current research shows that GM foods are safe for consumption, but they are still highly controversial and it is understandable why some might find them freaky. If it is important to you that you avoid genetically modified products, purchase a Certified Organic or non-GMO brand like Miso Master or Cold Mountain.
Mushroom soba miso soup
You may have been served miso soup as an appetizer at asian restaurants. It often contains a seaweed broth, mushrooms, and tofu. This one is beefed up a bit with extra vegetables and soba buckwheat noodles.
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
3 scallions, sliced thin, green and white parts separated
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
1 large carrot, cut into 2" matchsticks (~3/4 cup)
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1 1/2 ounces soba noodles
3 tablespoons miso paste (can use red, white, yellow, or a mix for added depth)
1/4 teaspoon sriracha
- In a medium saucepan, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and white parts of scallions and saute for about 45 seconds.
- Add chicken broth to the saucepan and heat to a simmer. Add mushrooms, carrots, onion, and soba noodles and simmer for 10 minutes. At this point, the vegetables and noodles should be softened.
- Reduce heat to low and ladle 1/2 cup of the broth into a bowl. Whisk in the miso paste, then return the mixture to the saucepan.
- Mix the sriracha into the soup and garnish with the reserved green scallion parts.
Labels: miso, soup, vegetarian, winter