We’ve been talking about the health and environmental effects of our heavy reliance on soy in processed foods, in our diets, and for use in biofuels. But not all soy is bad. It has been enjoyed healthfully in moderation in Asian cuisines for a long time. Two weeks ago we provided a recipe for tofu lettuce wraps. Here’s another healthy take on soy – this time, miso.
Miso is a traditional soy product made by fermenting soybeans with a grain – usually rice or barley. It contains beneficial bacteria, making it good for the digestion. It is also very flavorful and salty and it has a variety of culinary applications. In Japan it is most often used to make miso soup and to pickle vegetables. I like to whisk together a quick dressing with miso and use it in a variety of dishes.
This dressing is fantastic on a plain green or spinach salad. Try adding caramelized nuts and orange segments.
Makes about 1/3 cup
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red or white miso
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
A couple shakes of your favorite Asian chili sauce
Whisk together all the ingredients and use or refrigerate. Will keep for 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Here are a few other ideas to get you started cooking with miso:
– Drizzle over steamed asparagus
– Drizzle over steamed, grilled or baked fish
– Make a salad with cabbage, tofu, sprouts, mushrooms, and carrots
– Make a salad with leafy greens, canned wild salmon, avocado and steamed potatoes
– Toss warm grains like barley or quinoa with miso dressing and add steamed kale, seaweed, and other vegetables
– Toss rice or soba noodles with tofu or seafood, green onions, and seaweed
– Marinate fish in the dressing before baking or grilling