What is Miso?
Miso is a fermented condiment originated from Japan, especially popular in parts of Asia, though it has also made its way to the Western world. It consists of a thick paste made from soybeans that have been fermented with salt and a koji starter.
Although miso is still unknown to many, individuals who are familiar with it have most likely consumed it in the form of Japanese miso soup. The condiment is highly nutritious and linked to a variety of health benefits, including better digestion and a stronger immune system.
Taste and Uses
Miso’s flavour can be described as a combination of salty and umami (savory), and its color can vary between white, yellow, red or brown, depending on variety. Although miso is traditionally made from soybeans, other ingredients may also be used to make it, including rice, barley, rye, buckwheat and hemp seeds, all of which affect the colour and flavour of the final product.
Miso fermentation can last anywhere from a few weeks to as long as three years. Generally speaking, longer fermentation times produce darker, stronger-tasting miso. Miso paste can be used to make sauces, spreads and soup stock, or to pickle vegetables and meat.
The condiment is a superfood that comes with a plethora of nutrients. It is a rich source of antioxidants that help in guarding the body cell’s against damage linked to cancer disease. It also contains protein, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, among many other minerals. Miso also contains nutrients that may help your immune system function optimally.
The fermentation process used to produce miso makes it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients. Research shows that the probiotics in this condiment may help reduce symptoms linked to digestive problems. Probiotic-rich foods such as miso may benefit brain health by helping improve memory and reducing symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, autism and OCD.
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