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You might be familiar with miso soup, but did you know that miso paste, which is used to make miso soup, is widely used in Japanese foods?
What is Miso?
Miso is one of the important seasonings in Japanese food that support the Japanese diet for more than a thousand years. The main ingredients of this flavorful seasoning are, typically soybean, rice, or barley that is fermented with salt and mold (koji). It has a texture (and sometimes color!) of peanut butter-like thick paste, has a deep savory and richness of umami.
You should be familiar with miso soup as a representative in using the miso paste, but it is actually being used in a wide variety of Japanese cooking! If you have ever visited, for example, a halal ramen shop in Japan, you might have been offered some kinds of ramen including miso ramen! In a Japanese home cooking, you might find stir-fried food seasoned with some amount of miso.
The taste, texture, aroma, and appearance of miso are varied by region in Japan. Miso comes in a light color to dark color, the longer the fermentation is, the richer and darker the miso is. Light-colored miso is nice for light dressings, while dark miso is best for stews.
Is Miso Halal?
Some miso you can get in a Japanese supermarket might contain a small amount of alcohol as an additive. It is added to prevent re-fermentation after packing (re-fermentation after packaging may cause the package to swell and burst, fast coloring, a quick change in taste, etc).
You can check the ingredient list on the back of the packaging or choose halal-certified miso which you can get easily on Amazon Japan.
How to Store Miso
Miso should be stored in a refrigerator after opening and is recommended to finish using it within a year (especially light-colored miso)