What?! There's fungus in my soup?!
Let's be rational about all of this. Fungi aren't in all soups, but they are in one in particular.
- Miso. Maybe you've heard of it?
- Well even if you haven't, you're about to! Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup (aka our salty, delicious cold-weather food bestie). And it has fungus in it.
- Not the kind that you're thinking of! The good kind that's yummy and uber nutritious.
So what is miso exactly?
Miso is traditionally a paste of soybeans that are fermented with a fungus called koji as well as other microorganisms that break down the soy.
- Yep, the same super protein koji that's the star ingredient of all of our Prime Roots meats!
- The koji produces enzymes that break down the soy macronutrients. Miso is a cultured product that can also be made with other ingredients for the base such as chickpeas, rice, or buckwheat. A byproduct of the fermentation process to make miso is Japanese soy sauce which is rich and salty seasoning.
- The koji fungi that play an essential part in making miso are also the national fungi of Japan and also used in making safe and other Japanese foods and drinks.
- Koji itself is high in protein and also contains many healthy micronutrients.
- The humble fungi have been domesticated for thousands of years and in recent years has been popularized by chefs that have found it powers to elevate simple ingredients and dishes. Koji transforms flavors of simple ingredients but when by itself is neutral tasting but still equally high in nutrients.
- This feature on Koji produced by Bon Appetit really shows how versatile the super fungi is. Check it out!
- The very distinct and strong flavor of miso is created by the soybeans fermenting.
In terms of taste, miso is a great source of salt and umami to a dish and can really help to elevate other flavors and ingredients. Not only is miso a flavorful ingredient that can be used in many applications, but it can also be a great add into a plant-based diet since it is a source of B-complex vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Miso is an ancient cultured food that is commonly associated with Japanese cuisine but its origins are from ancient China with the introduction to Japan over a thousand years ago.
- Miso has always had a wide range of applications with different regions in Japan have different styles for making miso.
- There are different types of miso colors which are based on how long you ferment the soybeans with white being the shortest amount of time and red miso being the strongest and longest to ferment.
- Making miso is a labor of love with white miso taking anywhere from 1–3 months and red miso taking upwards of two years.
- Here are some of our favorite miso dishes that we’re experimenting with in our test kitchen, let us know which ones you want to learn to make and we’ll publish the recipes.:
- – Miso Glazed Grilled Eggplant
- – Salted Miso Caramel Ice Cream
- – Crispy Miso-Red Wine Brussel Sprouts
- – Creamy Miso Mushroom Udon
- – Ginger Miso Root Veggie Stirfry
- Already knew what miso was and have an awesome recipe for this incredible ingredient? Show us what you’re making and share on social media #fungination #primeroots! Your recipe could be featured in a cookbook alongside famous chefs!
- Want to try to make miso soup at home? Follow our easy 15 minutes recipe. Miso can be purchased online or at most grocery and health food stores.
- Or give us your email and zip code deets below to join our inclusive community of mission-minded foodies who also love and cook with miso! It's free to join and you get to be in the know when we offer freebies and giveaways!
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More questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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