How To Cook Recipes Using Miso

This Japanese ingredient can make your dish even more delicious.

Japanese ramen has come a long way from being just an instant noodle meal you enjoy for merienda. Ramen has actually become gourmet and can include special ingredients to make it even more mouth-watering than normal. In fact, you can have at least four different kinds of ramen soup when you visit a ramen place:

  • shoyu or soy-sauce based
  • shio or salt-based ramen
  • miso or soybean paste-flavored ramen
  • tonkotsu or pork bone broth ramen

Of these ramen, one of the most flavorful ingredients used is miso. Miso is a Japanese ingredient that can make your recipe even more delicious. It’s usually made from soybeans but it can also be from barley or a combination of soybeans and rice. This soybean paste is then injected with a mold and then fermented. The mashed product that emerges is miso paste. 

The yellow miso or soybean miso is the most common kind of miso on the market.
Photo by Shutterstock

There are three kinds of miso that you can find available in stores. The most common is the soybean or yellow miso, the barley or the reddish-brown miso, and white or beige-colored miso that is a combination of soybeans and rice. 


It makes a great salty substitute for patis or even soy sauce, and since it’s made from soybeans, it’s a vegetarian or vegan substitute, making it a good choice for those who are on those diets. 

How do you use miso? 

It’s actually very easy to use miso! You just need to stir it in. The biggest problem that may arise when using it in recipes is if there is more than one ingredient that is salty. That’s because miso is salty, too. 

To use miso in recipes, you need to balance the salty flavors and ingredients out well. Fail in this, and you’ll have a super salty dish or a bland one, so it can be tricky. The good news is that you don’t need to use a lot of miso to make your dish more flavorful. A teaspoon can be enough if you’re making a sauce or a tablespoon will do if you’re using it for soup. 

Here are ways to use it plus recipes to show you how easy it is to use in your recipes: 

This pork sinigang recipe is made extra tasty with miso.
Photo by Patrick Martires

1 Stir it into soup. 

Stirring it into soup is the easiest way to add miso to your dish. Instead of using salt, soy sauce, or even patis or fish sauce to make your dish salty, use miso instead. Stir it while hot so it can dissolve into the liquid. Let it simmer a little so the flavors can meld and become tastier. 


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Then, serve it and remember to stir when ready to take a sip so you can disturb the pureed paste that settles on the bottom of your bowl. 

The sauce for this simple vegetable recipe has miso.
Photo by Patrick Martires |Styling by Rachelle Santos

2 Make a sauce. 

Miso is also a delicious ingredient to add to sauces. The nutty-salty flavor of miso is a great two-in-one flavor combination that makes a miso-based sauce easy to make since it uses fewer ingredients. You can add and simmer the miso when heating up the ingredients to make the sauce or just stir it into the ingredients of a no-cook mix. Just stir well if not heating it so it can combine with the other ingredients well. Then spoon it over your desired food. 

Make a simple steamed fish even more delicious with a sweet-salty miso glaze.
Photo by Michael Angelo Chua

3 Balance the sweet flavor of glazes. 

Glazes are usually super flavorful mixtures that coat food lightly. This is usually even a thinner coating than a sauce. This means you need to pack in a lot of flavors in a small amount of glaze as you can. This is where the miso paste can shine! Miso’s nutty-salty flavor is a great pairing for a powerful flavor such as sweetness. 


For these glaze recipes, use the miso to taste so you can balance the salty flavors with the sweetness without either overwhelming the other flavor. 

Learn more about miso and other Asian ingredients when you read these articles:  


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