It’s easy to learn how to prepare delicious miso sauces at home, from scratch. We’re more or less familiar with edamame, the immature, green soybeans that are high in protein and taste delicious when eaten fresh, on their own with just a touch of salt after being boiled, steamed or microwaved.

But when this very same edamame has been ground down, had some salt added to it and fermented for a while, we get white miso, which is shiro miso or light miso. If allowed to ferment a little longer, it turns into yellow miso, and if fermented longer than that, it results in what is called red miso. The basic premise is that the longer miso is fermented, the saltier and stronger its flavors.

Miso paste can be used to flavor almost any sauce or spread, used as a marinade or grilling accompaniment, and is often employed while pickling vegetables and meats, but is most commonly used to prepare delicious dashi soup stock that forms the base of the popular and healthy miso soup.

Miso is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, and is a probiotic food too. All of these qualities and its unique taste have made it a staple in Japanese cuisine. Modern and traditional dishes alike, boast of this versatile ingredient.

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Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.