4 May 2006

Miso the High Protein Seasoning

Miso (pronounced MEE-so) is a high protein fermented paste made out of soybeans, rice or barley. There are three kinds of miso: shiro miso (white miso), aka miso (red miso) and awase miso (blended miso). Shiro miso has a sweeter flavor while aka miso has a salty flavor.

In Japan most of the population starts each day with a cup of Miso soup, instead of coffee like the West, a much healthier start to the day. Miso is commonly used in Macrobiotic Diets. It is extremely versatile as it can be used in everything from soups to desserts. Miso will keep in the refrigerator for up to a year in a sealed container.

Miso is very nutritious as it contains calcium, iron, phosphorous, thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (b2), niacin (B3), Vitamin B12, zinc, manganese and copper. It also contains a high amount of sodium so people on a low-sodium diet should purchase low-sodium miso. It is said to promote longevity and research results show it reduces instances of stomach cancer.

As with all soy products it should be checked that the product purchased is GMO-free and preferably organic. Instant Miso Soup is also available in some Japanese or health stores.

A couple of simple Miso recipes from Jolinda Hackett
"Your Guide to Vegetarian Cuisine"

Basic Miso Soup

I think just about everyone loves a steaming hot cup of miso soup! With a soothing and mild flavor, miso soup is light and "brothy", not the type of soup that is a meal on its own, so serve as an appetizer and be sure to accompany your soup with a hearty stir-fry or an Asian-inspired noodle dish.

* 4 cups water
* 1/3 cup miso
* 3 green onions (scallions), chopped
* 1 tbsp shredded nori OR wakame (seaweed)
* 1/2 block firm silken tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
* dash soy sauce (optional)
* 1/2 tsp sesame oil (optional)

Bring water to a slow simmer and add seaweed. Allow to simmer at least 5-6 minutes. The longer you simmer the seaweed, the less of a salty fishy flavor it will have.

Reduce heat to very low and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until miso is well dissolved. Its best not to boil the miso, as this will ruin some of it's healthy properties as well as change the flavor of the soup.

Miso Baked Tofu

This tofu dish is healthy and flavorful with a unique taste.

* 1 container pressed firm tofu
* 1/3 cup miso
* 3 tbsp rice vinegar
* 3 tbsp sugar
* 2 tbsp soy milk
* 1 tsp ginger
* 1 tsp granulated garlic
* 3 tbsp water
* 2 tbsp soy sauce
* 2 tbsp oil (olive, sesame or vegetable)
* dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
* sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to broil or highest setting. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil. Combine all ingredients except tofu and oil using blender or mixer. Slowly add oil and mix until smooth and creamy. Pour mixture into wide bowl or pan. Cut tofu into 1/2 inch thick pieces and dip into miso mixture until coated with a thin layer, reserving some of the mixture. Gently lay tofu pieces on covered cookie sheet. Broil 8-10 minutes until golden brown and slightly crisp. Remove from oven. Turn the pieces over and "baste" another layer of miso mixture over the pieces with a spoon. Broil 8-10 more minutes until browned and crisp. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired and serve.

For more information on miso nutition go to WHFoods and for vegan miso recipies go to VRG .


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