Miso has been all the rage these past few years. Although a staple in Japanese home-cooking, it seems it has gained the reputation of a culinary delicacy in the western parts of the world. The main reasons for this are the rise in popularity of Japanese cuisine, and the increased awareness of the UMAMI flavor – miso being a carrier of umami.
Made from fermented soybeans made into a thick paste, the many healthy benefits of miso have been documented all over the world. We’ll definitely talk about these on another post, as it deserves its own limelight.
But ok, so you know it’s healthy, and you love the miso soup at your local Japanese restaurant. You decide to make your own. So far so good…..until you go to the supermarket.
Sooooo many kinds of Miso!!! Which one to buy!?? So many different colors and varieties and prices!! But what’s the difference? How do you know what to buy??
“Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…catch a tiger by the toe….”
You buy it anyway and bring the big pot of miso home. You make some soup. But then what? You are left with a HUGE pot of miso and it just goes bad before you can use it all up.
This is certainly the problem I had for many, many years. Even after being in Japan for well over 15 years, my miso repertoire was very very limited. Once I started digging, I realized that miso is a very interesting and versatile ingredient. That’s why I wanted to help other people who like me were hesitant to even venture into the miso aisle at the supermarket!
Akiko, well known for teaching foreigners delicious Japanese vegan food, prepared some yummy vegan dishes with miso and taught us how to properly make miso soup. Mr. Inoue, a professional miso-maker/chef and restaurant-owner in Kamakura lectured us about the process of making miso, the tradition and history, and how he is bringing those traditions into the future. He brought delicious organic vegetables from Kamakura, and 4 different kinds of Miso for us to taste and compare.
After the lecture with Mr. Inoue and the cooking demonstration by Akiko, we sat and ate our miso-themed lunch and chatted about visiting Kamakura and Mr. Inoue’s shop. So now I am curious, what have our participants made with Miso so far? How adventurous has everyone gotten?
Would love to hear your comments!
And be sure to check out Bentoya’s blog post about our collaboration here.
Looking forward to working with them again!!