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jparrott
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I have a confession to make.

I know nothing about miso. The types of miso and their flavor profiles, how they perform in various liquids, what non-dissolved in liquids they can be used for.

This is a hole in my cookery.

Please help. Give me kindergarten information, give me advanced information, give me everything in between.

I'll try to ask more cogent questions as we go along :lol: .

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What made you ask?

Miso lasts forever and only a spoonful (or two) is needed for a single serving of soup, so it's extremely economical.

It's usually associated with hippy-type eating, but years ago one of the best meals I have ever eaten started with a mushroom-rich soup in a delicate broth with a miso foundation. (The restaurant no longer exists.)

I have a container of red miso paste that I use to make soup when the weather is a bit like this. White miso is a bit more delicate in flavor.

It's traditional to start out with a light quick Japanese broth made with a type of dried fish flake and seaweed, though that's not necessary. Then add whatever you wish to make it nourishing and filling. Usually I stick to soba noodles, small cubes of tofu, scallions, thin slivers of carrots and a dab or two of toasted sesame oil. Good with shitake or other Japanese mushrooms, ribbons of spinach, sprinkling of sesame seeds, radish....

Here's a very basic recipe from Epicurious.

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I know nothing about miso. The types of miso and their flavor profiles, how they perform in various liquids, what non-dissolved in liquids they can be used for.
Usually diced tofu, chopped scallion, shaved bonito and seaweed pieces are added to miso soup. If you need any help how to choose miso/seaweed/tofu/shaved bonito, let me know. Escoffier and I go to Super H almost weekly basis.
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Usually diced tofu, chopped scallion, shaved benito and seaweed pieces are added to miso soup.
Not that I am an expert, but as I understand it the shaved bonito and seaweed (kombu) are used to make a broth called dashi. Then they are strained out, perhaps to be reused, perhaps to be discarded, depending on preference. If reused the dashi may be described as "more delicate" or "weak," depending on how you look at it. We just discard.

The diced tofu and chopped scallion are part of the finished soup, along with the miso. Mushrooms make a welcome addition, in my opinion.

The Japanese have made instant soup a fine art. You can buy little foil packages of dashi makings. You can buy little foil packages of miso soup. These are actually pretty good, considering. Of course it's preferable to buy packs of bonito flakes and packs of kombu. These are available in any good Asian grocery store and at Whole Foods, among other sources.

Whether to use red miso, brown miso, white miso, etc., etc., is something worth exploring endlessly if you are a fan of miso soup. I like the darker misos, and barley miso. Also prefer the softer tofus (silken) but not the softest for miso soup.

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What are the flavor profiles of the different-coloured misos. The linked discussion at eGullet doesn't go into much depth.

The other issue here is, I'm looking for uses other than standard miso soup (my wife won't eat it), i.e., using miso as an accent in other kinds of broths (stock-based, with other aromatics) or other methods.

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Basically, the darker the color is, the stronger the taste gets. The same thing applys to sashimi. When you eat sashimi, start eating from light color fish to dark color one, even though pickled ginger wash your mouth....

Another thing, Jake, I saw a recipe using miso in Michel Richards new cookbook 'Happy in the Kitchen'. Find his onion soup recipe in the book if you like to use miso with a fusion style.

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Basically, the darker the color is, the stronger the taste gets. The same thing applys to sashimi. When you eat sashimi, start eating from light color fish to dark color one, even though pickled ginger wash your mouth....
Stronger in the same way, that sort of nutty-fishy-salty way? No added complexities? Is ginger a complementary aromatic? Galangal? Lemon grass? Curry Leaf? Shallot? Garlic? (yes)
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Stronger in the same way, that sort of nutty-fishy-salty way? No added complexities? Is ginger a complementary aromatic? Galangal? Lemon grass? Curry Leaf? Shallot? Garlic? (yes)

Oy.. wikipedia explained about this... Click here.

As I experienced, red miso is more pungent than others and has earthy flavor. Think about cheese such as mild brie and strong blue cheese.

I tried all of them but saltiness is similar each other. When the color gets darker, the taste gets more earthier, nuttier and fishier(?).

(It's a bit difficult for me to explain because I am not a native speaker. haha)

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"Stronger" as in thick woolen socks with a reinforced heel and toe, worn with hiking boots while ascending a steep, wooded path on a Thursday morning in March just as the sun is starting to rise, while carrying a week's worth of supplies into the wilderness, forging rivers and streams

as opposed to glistening, thin silk stockings woven by nimble-fingered fairies whilst a harp plays.

It's Friday. Why not include both types on your weekend shopping list and report back?

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Not that I am an expert, but as I understand it the shaved bonito and seaweed (kombu) are used to make a broth called dashi. Then they are strained out, perhaps to be reused, perhaps to be discarded, depending on preference. If reused the dashi may be described as "more delicate" or "weak," depending on how you look at it. We just discard.

You are correct about dashi. However, shaved bonito is also added often with a teaspoonful amount. The seaweed I mentioned is called wakame which grows in the middle level in the sea. Kombu grows in the deepest level. That's why kombu is the thickest among all the seaweed. Anyway, wakame pieces is added to miso soup many times.

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It's Friday. Why not include both types on your weekend shopping list and report back?
I may just do that anyway, but I wanted to see what insight people had. I understand the difficulty of providing detailed taste profiles--I have to do it for people every day on the wine side.
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When the color gets darker, the taste gets more earthier, nuttier and fishier(?).

(It's a bit difficult for me to explain because I am not a native speaker. haha)

I believe that's because we haven't bothered to translate "umami" yet. The darker the miso, the... um... umami-er it is.

Umami is basically the sensation/taste of MSG, akin to salt being salty.

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The other issue here is, I'm looking for uses other than standard miso soup (my wife won't eat it), i.e., using miso as an accent in other kinds of broths (stock-based, with other aromatics) or other methods.
I haven't done it recently, but after a dinner at Makoto, I was inspired to mix some red miso with orange juice, black pepper, and a bit of oil and use it to baste orange roughy during grilling. It kept the fish moist, and made for nice, crunchy edges. I don't remember proportions, unfortunately.
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The other issue here is, I'm looking for uses other than standard miso soup (my wife won't eat it), i.e., using miso as an accent in other kinds of broths (stock-based, with other aromatics) or other methods.
Do you have the new Michel Richard cookbook? He puts miso to some interesting uses in it. Instead of beef broth for his version of French onion soup, he uses a stock made only with white miso.
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A really good dish is black cod (sablefish) with miso sauce--basically white miso thinned with a flavorful fish stock and a little bit of ginger and honey, sugar or mango puree. This is a really popular menu item at Beacon in L.A.--the chef/owner was for many years the chef at Chinois on Main, Wolfgang Puck's Asian-French fusion place in Ocean Park.

The fish can be grilled, but is really best (super silky) when slow-roasted.

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I understand the difficulty of providing detailed taste profiles--I have to do it for people every day on the wine side.
Your analogy to wine is well taken.

Different types of miso have different ingredients, not just soybeans. Also the koji (fermenter) varies from place to place, as does the water.

You could devote a large part of the rest of your life exploring all the varieties, I suppose, if you could get them.

My own absolute favorite is the only one that was available during my formative years, hatcho miso sold in the US for people on macrobiotic diets, made or distributed by Westbrae.

Hatcho miso is the darkest and strongest in flavor, and is very "yang" so it's supposed to balance excess "yin" in your diet like fruit, sugar and alcohol.

All this talk about miso is making me crave miso soup. Ummmmmm, miso.

(I would guess that hatcho miso has the most umami, as well?)

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(I would guess that hatcho miso has the most umami, as well?)

It's the Umamiest! :lol:

Well, assuming I'm correct about a dominant taste of miso being umami and that the darker/longer fermented misos have more umami-ness to them. Umami has only recently entered the Western lexicon, so I imagine a lot of us are still having problems wrapping our heads around it. Imagine if you didn't grow up with the concept or real exposure to "sugar/sweet"...

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Ok, so what 'color' of miso do I buy if my goal is to recreate the miso soup that I get at my local sushi joint? (I know, I could aim higher, but that's where I am now!)

If you go to an Asian market, they will have an array of options. Look for the miso paste with dashi--it is often packed in square plastic tubs. This is what is used to prepare miso soup in most Japanese restaurants. All you do is thin it with hot water, and it tastes very good. If you get straight miso, go for white miso (it's actually a yellowish tan color), or for the palest one you can find. Then if you want to make miso soup, you have to make dashi.

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Look for the miso paste with dashi--it is often packed in square plastic tubs. This is what is used to prepare miso soup in most Japanese restaurants.
Perfect! Thanks for the info--the last time I tried this I simply purchased some random miso at the store and was disappointed with what I prepared at home. I didn't want to waste more money and not get something approximating what I'm after!
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The white miso I have is seriously salty (or MSG-y, I guess it is). Like to the point where it's hard to use any significant quantity of it. For example, I followed Michel Richard's proportions for miso stock and the result was incredibly salty. Same with some sauces I tried to use this miso in. Does this mean I bought a low quality brand? If so, can someone recommend a better one? As I understood it, white miso is supposed to be the least salty grade of miso? Is that right?

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The white miso I have is seriously salty (or MSG-y, I guess it is). Like to the point where it's hard to use any significant quantity of it. For example, I followed Michel Richard's proportions for miso stock and the result was incredibly salty. Same with some sauces I tried to use this miso in. Does this mean I bought a low quality brand? If so, can someone recommend a better one? As I understood it, white miso is supposed to be the least salty grade of miso? Is that right?

Hmmm... as I mentioned above, the saltiness is similar among all miso (of course there is a minor difference) through my experience. So far, I had no problem with the saltiness when I buy it. I mean any brand. The reason why Michel Richards is using white miso is probably white miso has the mildest flavor among all miso. May I ask where did you buy it and how long have you kept it?

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What are the flavor profiles of the different-coloured misos. The linked discussion at eGullet doesn't go into much depth.

The other issue here is, I'm looking for uses other than standard miso soup (my wife won't eat it), i.e., using miso as an accent in other kinds of broths (stock-based, with other aromatics) or other methods.

Some of my favorite uses for miso don't involve soup but using it as a foundation for other flavors. I often use it as a marinade with ginger, lemon grass, garlic and chile for steak. When you add alittle brown sugar to this and grill the steak, you get a beautiful caramelization that is delish. I mix it with dijon mustard and white wine, lemon juice and zest and use it as a rub for roast chicken. I use it as a small addition to my peanut sauce, which I think adds that lil bit of salt that I like in it. As you've read it makes a great marinade for fish. I use it for a great addition for a tuna salad. I sear tuna rare and chill it, then I smear a thin layer of yellow miso on each side and dredge the tuna in ground shitake powder. This is awesome with a cold soba noodle salad.

When I make a broth for my miso soup I do it a bit unorthodox. I use garlic, shallot, kumbu, dried shitakes, mirin and dashi. I make a nice broth from that, strain it and then kut the kumbu and put it back in if I'm making miso soup (I like the chewier texture). If I'm not going to add miso, this makes a great poaching liquid for fish, halibut particularly. Poach the fish in this broth and serve it with matsutake mushrooms, scallions and a bit of the broth (ala nage) and a bit of cilantro......ummmmmmmmmm.

Hope that gives you some inspiration Jake.

PS: That miso mustard also is good on hamburgers and miso oddly complements blue cheese in the right proportions.

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The white miso I have is seriously salty (or MSG-y, I guess it is). Like to the point where it's hard to use any significant quantity of it.
Perhaps you are one of those people who tastes MSG as salty. I do. When something has a significant amount of MSG, I tend to find overwhelmingly salty (and I am a salt fiend!) although no one else eating it will think so.
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Hmmm... as I mentioned above, the saltiness is similar among all miso (of course there is a minor difference) through my experience. So far, I had no problem with the saltiness when I buy it. I mean any brand. The reason why Michel Richards is using white miso is probably white miso has the mildest flavor among all miso. May I ask where did you buy it and how long have you kept it?
This was purchased at Grand Mart. I forget the brand. It's been in my fridge for a bit over a year now. I'm not sure how that affects it (the color seems to have gotten a bit browner).

Just for reference, the Michel Richard broth calls for 2 cups of white miso to 10 cups water.

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This was purchased at Grand Mart. I forget the brand. It's been in my fridge for a bit over a year now. I'm not sure how that affects it (the color seems to have gotten a bit browner).

Just for reference, the Michel Richard broth calls for 2 cups of white miso to 10 cups water.

I have no knowledge of miso, but I read a web site that stated that white miso should be used within 2 weeks of purchase! :lol:

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Just for reference, the Michel Richard broth calls for 2 cups of white miso to 10 cups water.
Wow. For miso soup, I find that about 1 tablespoon per cup of water is about right.

Does that recipe call for more liquid to be added?

Re: white miso. I thought that the primary difference is that it's made with a lot of rice, more rice than soybeans.

Hatch miso, which is pure soybean miso, aged or smoked, is actually less salty than many other misos. The salt component is added. The "MSG" component (not really added MSG, just umami components) is not added, although it may be added to pre-mixed miso.

Edit: got Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchen from the library. His recipe for miso broth does indeed call for 2 cups miso to 10 cups water, but it also calls for letting the broth sit overnight so that the solids settle to the bottom of the container, and pouring off the upper strata for use - about 6 cups. So wouldn't the saltier lumps settle out?

Will give this a try soon. His onion soup with miso broth looks very intriguing.

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Wow. For miso soup, I find that about 1 tablespoon per cup of water is about right.

Does that recipe call for more liquid to be added?

No more water. Some miso settles out overnight and then you decant off the liquid.

I have no knowledge of miso, but I read a web site that stated that white miso should be used within 2 weeks of purchase! :lol:
Uh-oh.
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Don't worry. I don't think that your miso went bad. It just got dried. That's all. Maybe that's why your miso got saltier that it was because the moisture was evaporated. Miso has a way longer history than a refrigerator. Asian people used to keep the miso jar/urn in their backyard where sunlight doesn't reach. Maintaining constant temperature is a key to preserve the quality.

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I use like a heaping teaspoon of white miso to flavor (along with other aromatics) about a quart of chicken, duck, or beef stock for a broth. Gives some depth and earthiness.

In one week (see original post), you've gone from an Innocent to a User? :lol:

Do tell! Any experiments? Did you buy other types of miso?

* * *

Thanks for the inspiration. I ended up making dashi and a traditional miso soup last night with soba noodles, tofu, shitake mushrooms, etc., adding a little soaking liquid from dried porcini just because there was some in the fridge. Since it was so cold ( :unsure: finally!!!), it was perfect for the time of year as well as for The Summer Challenge.

P.S. I'm very happy with the tubs of organic Miso Master that are found in stores like Yes or WF, I think.

At least when red miso is concerned, 1 T per cup sounds like a bit much. 2 t to a T for a generous serving of 2-3 cups of broth is fine, especially if other flavors are added to the dashi such as light soy sauce, mirin, toasted sesame oil...

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OK,

I lost my Misovirginity this weekend. I have purchased a few items to try my soup making including miso paste, minute miso (liquid), Instant Dashi (number one Dashi in Japan), Bonito Flakes, and wakame.

Batch 1

1 tablespoon instant Dashi

4 tablespoons of one minute miso

3 cups of water

firm tofu cubes

wakame (seaweed)

The soup came out ok, I think it needed some more miso taste. So I added a teaspoon of actual miso paste into the mixture. That helped a lot. Wish I had some scallions. The funny thing is that the Dashi said to use one tablespoon per 3 cups water and the Miso paste box said to add 1/2 tablespoon Dashi for 4 cups. a warning that the dried seaweed goes a long way I was amazed how big the pieces became after I soaked them in water.

Next batch I make I will write down the brands I bought and provide pictures. I will use actual Dashi flakes and the actual Miso paste.

Has anyone used the Miso paste that has Dashi already in it?

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Has anyone used the Miso paste that has Dashi already in it?
No, but this is the stuff that zora recommended to me upthread when I said that my goal was simply to recreate the miso soup that I find at my local sushi joint. If you buy some and are pleased with the results, share the brand name!
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1) Is it okay to ask a dashi question here without starting a new thread?

Bittman says leftovers from a batch should be used within two days. I guess bacteria has a greater chance to grow in a broth that is taken only up to the point where it's about to boil, but never boiled.

However, I am wondering if it's okay to keep it for longer--provided it doesn't smell or look funky.

2) For the non-virgin, here's an example of miso used as seasoning from a private dining club in Seattle: Caché. Click "the food..." then the square in the left-hand corner of the first row down.

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1) Is it okay to ask a dashi question here without starting a new thread?

Bittman says leftovers from a batch should be used within two days. I guess bacteria has a greater chance to grow in a broth that is taken only up to the point where it's about to boil, but never boiled.

I venture to guess that dashi will last longer if strained and refrigerated in a clean container. It will, I estimate, last as long as any other solution of protein in water. My rule of thumb for protein is that if it smells good, it is good.

Not entirely true. One can get a dreadful case of food poisoning from a protein solution left unrefrigerated, say chicken soup left on top of the stove overnight, but that no doubt was already contaminated with some amount of E. coli.

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I would be tempted to freeze it in ziplocks or ice cube trays. Instant dashi is also another way to go.

I venture to guess that dashi will last longer if strained and refrigerated in a clean container. It will, I estimate, last as long as any other solution of protein in water. My rule of thumb for protein is that if it smells good, it is good.

Not entirely true. One can get a dreadful case of food poisoning from a protein solution left unrefrigerated, say chicken soup left on top of the stove overnight, but that no doubt was already contaminated with some amount of E. coli.

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Bumping this thread up:

Last night I used this recipe to marinate some jumbo shrimp and softshell crabs for an hour or so before grilling them over medium coals. Exceptional! It gave a nice, rich undernote to the flavor of the shellfish, without overwhelming their natural goodness.

I had white miso, not hatcho, but otherwise followed the recipe as written.

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Vegetarian dashi, according to several sources, is simply a konbu/kombu or shitake broth. Since there's no protein, will it keep longer?

What about miso soup? Once you have the dashi, the soup is easy to make. Can that be kept for a while, say seven days? Or, does miso... a soybean protein... fall into the same category as meat- or dairy-based proteins?

Has anyone found instant dashi at WF or TJ?

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Or, does miso... a soybean protein... fall into the same category as meat- or dairy-based proteins?

Has anyone found instant dashi at WF or TJ?

Miso itself is resistant to bacterial growth, no doubt due in large part to high salt concentration. Dilute miso broth is probably less resistant to culture growth but must surely be more resistant than meat or dairy.

I have experimented with leaving so-called almond "milk" out of the refrigerator, and it does not appear to be particularly susceptible to bacteria growth over the space of several days. Analogous to miso broth in the sense that this is a purely plant protein in pure water.

But why take a chance? Why not keep it in the refrigerator?

Dashi is another story entirely, and once you add dashi to miso broth, well, that's not something to take a chance on.

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Has anyone found instant dashi at WF or TJ?
I haven't been able to at Whole Foods, but I would love to find any place in the DC area that carries it. Ever since coming back from Japan I've had a craving for dashi-based dishes and don't have the time to make it fresh. If anyone knows a place for instant dashi please chime in?
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Instant dashi is available at the area Japanese markets. I had purchased mine from Daruma in Bethesda a while ago, and I'm certain Hinata should carry it too. However, I've just decided that I prefer the homemade dashi since it only takes 10 minutes or so, but if you're looking to make a donburi bowl or miso or what have you on the fly, that insta-dashi is the way to go.

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