What Is Miso + What Does Rachael Use Miso Paste For?

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Rach is answering more pantry-related questions today, including one sent in via email from a viewer named Judith, asking about miso. 

Q: What is miso and how do you use it?
— Judith, viewer, via email

What Is Miso?

"Miso is fermented soy bean paste. It's made with salt and a type of mold—don't be scared by that word!—used to make sake and it creates this delicious fermented bean paste," Rachael says. "It's a really versatile, very specific flavor that you can use in varying degrees, but that's technically what it is—it's fermented soy beans."

What Are The Main Types of Miso?

There are a few main types of miso, including white miso, yellow miso and red miso.

"White miso is very mild," Rach says. "Red miso I use for [heartier] dishes like beef ramen." 

How To Store Miso Paste

Rach says she keeps a couple containers of miso in the fridge at all times, because it has such a long shelf life.

How To Use Miso Paste

"You don't have to be making Japanese food or even Asian cuisine to use miso," Rach points out. "I make miso butter for popcorn. I love miso and fresh herbs and butter on summer corn—and a lot of people serve corn at the holidays too."

Recipes Using Miso Paste

Miso Messy Corn

White Miso Corn Soup

Gluten-Free Miso Mustard Gravy

Cauliflower Cream Pasta with Fresh Herbs

Chicken Ramen Bowls

Lamb with Miso Marinade

Moroccan Nachos

What Are The Benefits of Miso?

Besides being delicious, because miso paste is fermented, it contains probiotics. Probiotics are living organisms that can help replenish good gut bacteria and improve gut health, according to Dr. Travis Stork. Plus, fermented foods like miso can lead to clearer skin, according to Dr. Nigma Talib.

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