Japanese Food: Miso

Miso is the most medicinal soy food. According to many scientific research, miso is an effective therapeutic aid in the prevention and treatment of heart disease, certain cancers, radiation sickness and hypertension.

Miso soup consumption is also linked with up to a 50% reduced risk of breast cancer according to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

What is Miso?

Miso is a traditional Japanese food produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans with salt. The most typical miso is made with soy. Miso has a texture similar to peanut butter, it comes in thick paste that is used for sauces, spreads, pickling vegetables or meats, mixing with dashi suop stock to serve as miso soup, a Japanese culinary staple.

Miso is high in protein, rich in vitamins and minerals. Miso is also low in fat. Miso is typically salty, but it is available in a vast range of delicious flavors, ranging from meaty and savory to sweet and delicate.

Cooking with Miso

Miso is a versatile ingredient, as highlighted in John and Jan Belleme’s book: The Miso Book: The Art of Cooking With Miso

You can cook Miso in various style. In their book, there are 140 miso-containing recipes, offering some innovative and tasty dishes: expected fare like Kyoto-Style Miso Soup and Spicy Soba Salad, accompany many dishes not normally associated with miso, such as French Onion Soup, Italian-Style Stuffed Shells, Caribbean Fish Chowder and Apple-Nut Muffins.

Traditional Miso Soup Recipe

Miso Soup
Traditional miso soup is not difficult to make at all. It takes only minutes to prepare and can be served as breakfast, lunch or dinner. Personally, I prefer my soup served at dinner.


3 cups dashi stock
2 thinly sliced fresh mushrooms (shiitake or white button)
1½ tablespoons miso paste
1 tablespoon Japanese soy sauce
1½ oz (45g) silken tofu—cut into cubes
½ scallion—thinly sliced on the diagonal


1. Bring the dashi stock to a gentle boil in a saucepan.

2. Add the mushrooms and simmer for 3 minutes.

3. Mix together the miso and soy sauce in a small bowl, then add to the hot dashi stock.

4. Add the tofu.

5. Heat the soup and, just before it comes to the boil, remove from the heat.

6. Pour the soup into bowls and garnish with the sliced scallions on top to serve.



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