Japanese Barley Miso
Onozaki Barley Miso is made completely by hand using the finest organic whole soybeans, cultured organic barley, pure water and sea salt. It is then aged in huge cedar kegs at natural temperatures for two years. With barley's inherent sweetness and natural aging this miso slowly develops the hearty yet mellow character and rounded flavor that makes it ideal for daily use in soups, sauces, or dressings. Enjoyed by natural foods enthusiasts worldwide, this classic, barley miso is our best seller. Unpasteurized Aged 24 Months.
Marukura Barley Miso is a long time favorite for many people. Its deep, rich, and versatile quality make it an incredibly delicious and coveted miso. The Okada family prepare all of their own koji in small batches and thus Marukura misos are very smooth and incredibly tasty. Mr. Okada combines the finest ingredients, and long natural aging. The miso is never hurried; it is harvested at its peak of flavor and goodness. Ideal for soups, stews, sauces, or vegetarian patés. Aged about 20 Months.
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Cooking with Miso
From sweet, creamy, and light to hearty, robust, and dark, Mitoku has an exciting variety of misos available to add to your cooking and dining enjoyment. As you will see, miso can be used to enhance everything from basic macrobiotic dishes to gourmet fare.
The key to fine miso cookery is not to overpower dishes with a strong miso taste, but to integrate the more subtle aspects of miso color and flavor in a gentle balance with other ingredients. For example, when making miso soup, the use of a kombu, shiitake, kombu-bonito, or vegetable stock helps achieve a full, rich flavor with considerably less miso than you would need if you boil vegetables in plain water and rely on miso to supply all the flavor. The latter method usually results in either an overly salty soup or one that is watery, bland and unappetizing. With respect to color, bright summer vegetables such as sweet corn or yellow squash and lightly cooked greens floating in the beautiful yellow to beige colored broth of light, sweet miso soup is appealing in warm weather, whereas the earthy tones and hearty flavor of dark miso soup with chunky root vegetables and wakame or kale is pleasing during the colder months.
Certain general rules can be applied when cooking with light, sweet misos, such as opposed to dark, salty ones. The light color, sweet taste, and creamy texture of sweet miso is suggestive of its application in American-style cooking: it is an excellent dairy substitute. For example, try a little sweet miso instead of milk, butter, and salt in creamed soups, and with tofu and lemon or rice vinegar in place of sour cream for dips and spreads.
To realize the full potential of sweet miso, explore its uses in salad dressings and sauces. Sweet miso and naturally brewed rice vinegar create a delicious tartness that is both refreshing and cooling. Known as su miso, this combination has a long history in Japanese cuisine. Blended with your choice of other ingredients such as oil, onion, dill or other herbs, rice syrup, tofu and tahini, sweet miso and rice vinegar complement each other perfectly in American style dressings, dips and sauces.
In contrast, dark, saltier misos combine nicely with beans, gravies, baked dishes, and vegetable stews and soups. For a simple and delicious fall or winter vegetable dish, try adding sweet chunky vegetables such as winter squash, carrots, or parsnips to sautéed onions, steaming them in 1/4 inch of water until just tender, then seasoning with dark, long-aged rice or barley miso thinned in a little water or stock just before the end of cooking. Try dark miso in thick soups using root vegetables such as burdock, carrots, and daikon. A lentil casserole seasoned with dark miso warms the body and supplies plenty of high quality protein. Although dark misos are not as versatile as light varieties, traditionally made, unpasteurized dark miso makes nutritious, flavorful and satisfying miso soups that you can enjoy every day in fall, winter and spring without ever becoming tired of them. Once the weather becomes warm, we prefer to combine a dark and a light miso when making miso soup.
Mixed with sweet, tangy, or pungent ingredients such as mirin, rice syrup, rice vinegar or fresh ginger, dark miso can be used in refreshing sauces. Remember that dark miso is stronger in taste than sweet miso, so use it sparingly.
Both dark and light misos are suitable for certain special uses. In general, miso is a good choice when you are looking for a salting agent, digestive aid, or tenderizer.
As a salting agent, miso supplies much more in terms of flavor and nutrition than plain salt without salt's harshness. When substituting miso for salt, add approximately one level tablespoon of any sweet, light miso or two level teaspoons of dark, salty miso for one-quarter teaspoon salt.
The powerful enzymatic action of unpasteurized miso is a natural digestive aid and tenderizing agent. In the digestive system rniso enzymes aid the body's own resources in breaking down complex food molecules. Foods such as beans, tomato products, and raw tofu may cause digestive discomfort. Miso helps balance and digest these foods.
For the same reason that miso aids digestion, it is also a great natural tenderizer. When used in marinades its enzymes break down the complex molecules of vegetable fiber and animal protein into more readily digestible forms. At the same time its flavor penetrates the marinating foods.
For many people making the transition to natural foods, there is a problem of interesting other family members. For families with a commitment to healthful eating, cooking for guests who are not accustomed to this way of eating can be a challenge. Miso helps bridge this gap. It brings a depth of savory flavor and a satisfying complexity to simple fare.
Miso Soup with Shiitake
Shiitake stock lends an especially rich flavor to this hearty soup. Other vegetables or ingredients such as tofu or fu may be added or substituted, but if shiitake are omitted, it is best to start with vegetable or kombu stock rather than water.
6 cups spring water
5 Mitoku Dried Donko Shiitake Mushrooms
1 carrot, sliced
1 1/2 cups chopped greens (such as kale or mustard greens)
1/4 cup Mitoku Barley Miso or Mitoku Brown Rice Miso
Soak shiitake in the 6 cups water overnight or for at least two hours. Remove shiitake, cut off and discard tough stems, thinly slice the caps, and place in a pot with the soaking water. Bring to a simmer, add sliced carrot, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add greens and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more. Turn off heat. Dilute the miso in a little of the broth, then add to soup. Allow to steep briefly before serving.
Fat-Free Shiitake Sauce
Makes 1 2/3 cups
Unlike most sauces or gravies, this simple recipe contains no oil or flour, yet it has a full, delicate flavor and pleasing texture. Serve it over grains, vegetables, or noodles.
2 cups kombu-shiitake stock - See recipe in this section
1/4 teaspoon Masu 100% Sea Water Salt
1/2 bay leaf
2 Mitoku Dried Donko Shiitake used to make the stock or 2 fresh shiitake, remove and discard stems and thinly slice caps
1-2 scallions, thinly sliced, or 1-2 shallots, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons Mitoku Marukura Barley Miso dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons Mitoku Mikawa Mirin
3 level tablespoons crushed Mitoku Wild Akizuki Kuzu
Combine stock and salt in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add bay leaf, shiitake, and scallions or shallots, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the miso and mirin, and remove from heat. Dissolve the kuzu in 3 tablespoons cold water and slowly add it to the sauce while stirring briskly. Return the pan to medium-low heat and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. If too thin, add a small amount of kuzu, dissolved in water; if too thick, add a little water or stock.
Variation: Sauté the shiitake and onions in a little sesame oil or water for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the stock, salt and bay leaf and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the mirin and miso and thicken as described above.
Makes 1/2 cup
This simple and tasty spread goes well on bread or toast, rice cakes, crackers or chapatis.
4 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons spring water
1 level tablespoon Mitoku Barley Miso
1 rounded tablespoon minced onion, scallion, or chives (optional)
1/4 teaspoon dried basil or 1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil (optional)
Mix all ingredients well in a small saucepan or skillet and bring slowly to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Gently simmer for 1 to 2 minutes while stirring constantly, then remove from heat. If too thick, stir in more water, a teaspoon at a time.
Shiitake Dashi (All-Purpose Soup Stock)
Makes approximately 6 cups
This simple stock is great for soups; stews; sauces and gravies; noodle broths; and dips for tempura, fried mochi, and fried tofu. Dashi will keep for one week in the refrigerator.
6-inch piece kombu
3-4 dried shiitake
7 cups spring water
In a pot, soak kombu and shiitake in water for 15 minutes*. Remove shiitake, cut off and discard stems, and thinly slice caps. Return mushroom caps to the water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 5 minutes, then remove kombu and reserve it for another use. Simmer shiitake 10-15 minutes more. If not using the shiitake in the dish, remove it and reserve it for another use.
*If you intend to use the shiitake in the dish, they will be more tender if you soak them for several hours or overnight. Add the kombu for the last 15 minutes of soaking.
Shiitake Soup and Noodle Broth
For soups, add your favourite vegetables or other ingredients to Shiitake Dashi, simmer until tender, and season with a little salt and Shoyu or Tamari and Mirin to taste (about 1 tablespoon of each). If desired, add a little fresh ginger juice.
Broth for Soba or Udon is made the same way, except that more Shoyu or Tamari is added (about 1 tablespoon for every 2 cups of broth). Increase the Mirin, if desired, and season with ginger or wasabi. Ladle the hot broth over bowls of cooked soba or udon and garnish with minced green onions.