What is miso and what can you do with it? + recipe ideas

Do you know the differences between the 4 types of miso paste? We'll compare them for you, so after reading this article, you certainly do!
6 July 2022

What is miso?

Okay, first a bit of theory. Miso is a fermented soy paste from Japan. It looks like a spread. Miso consists of soybeans, sometimes supplemented with fermented brown rice, white rice or barley. By mixing these basic ingredients with koji (a good fungus), a fermentation process is set in motion. In this way, a brown mash, called miso, is formed in a few weeks or tens of months. The darker the color of the miso, the longer the fermentation has taken and the stronger the taste.

mugi miso TerraSana

Traditional recipe = authentic taste!

Our miso has been traditionally made in Japan for generations. Speeding up the production or fermentation process does not affect the Japanese. In fact, that’s really out of the question. Miso needs time to mature and develop that super refined taste. Because that taste is really special! If you are familiar with Japanese cuisine, you will recognize the umami flavor in it. And did you know that umami is Japanese for “delicious”?

How do you use miso?

Miso is almost addictive. Once you have realized what you can do with it, you will soon be putting miso through everything. It adds flavor and is a great replacement for the often chemical stock cube. Miso is vegan, just like 99% of our other Japanese products. Except for the miso with barley, all types are gluten-free.

The differences at a glance

Fermentation Base Taste Structure Gluten free?
Hatcho miso Min. 24 months Soybeans Very powerful Solid Yes
Genmai miso Min. 18 months Soybeans and brown rice Moderately powerful Smooth Yes
Mugi miso Min. 18 months Soybeans and barley Powerful Smooth No
Shiro miso 2-6 wks Rice and soybeans Mild Slightly sturdy Possibly. traces of

Mugi and genmai miso are the most similar in taste. Mugi miso has a slightly saltier taste and perhaps a bit more malty. You will automatically discover which one you prefer.

Is miso pasteurized?

Hatcho miso ferments for at least 2 years. This is so extremely long that pasteurization is not necessary. That actually also applies to genmai and mugi miso in glass jar. They ferment for about 18 months.

Is the miso in bags? Then we do pasteurize the soy paste. If we don’t, it “grows” the miso out of the package and the package bulges. Pure necessity!

Recipes with miso paste

Delicious with hatcho miso:

  1. Sandwich spreads: mix 3 tablespoons peanut butter with 1-2 tsp hatcho miso.
  2. Seasoning in (vegetarian) stews and wok dishes: in combination with tamari or teriyaki

Delicious with genmai miso:

  1. Sandwich spread or dip: genmai miso with almond butter
  2. Miso soup: fry garlic, ginger, chili pepper and vegetables of your choice briefly in a pan and add water. Finally add the miso along with a dash tamari. This way the power of the miso is preserved as much as possible!

Delicious with mugi miso:

  1. miso soup
  2. Marinade for vegetables, fish or meat: rub eggplant or corn on the cob with miso, or marinate chicken or tofu with miso, sesame oil, genmai su, chili and garlic.

Delicious with shiro miso:

  1. Sweet dishes: ice cream or in “icing” for cake
  2. Granola: marinate oat flakes and nuts with a mix of miso, tahini and maple syrup