Miso is a Japanese seasoning from ancient times made by fermentation of steamed soy beans with koji (sake lees) and salt. Miso has 4 varieties according to the ingredients. Koji is made by multiplying koji mold (aspergillus) on steamed rice, wheat or soy beans, and it is an ingredient of sake, miso and soy sauce.
Kome miso: Made from soy beans, rice koji and salt
Mugi miso: Made from soy beans, wheat koji and salt
Mame miso: Made from soy beans, soy bean koji and salt
Blended miso: Blend of 2 or 3 types of miso explained above.
The main 3 variations subdivided by colour are shown in the above photo.Shiro-miso (white miso: Saikyo-miso – photo on the left, Sanuki-miso, etc), tanshoku-miso (light colour miso: Shinshu-miso, Edo-miso, etc) and aka-miso (red miso: Sendai-miso, Hatcho-miso – photo on the right).
Although miso is a seasoning with a complex mixture of flavours such as sweetness, spiciness, sourness, umami, saltiness and bitterness, miso can be divided into sweet miso such as shiro-miso and salty miso such as aka-miso. Saltness is due to the amount of salt, as well as the amount of koji (sake lees). The more koji is used, the sweeter the miso becomes.
Recipe of dengaku-miso
Cook 60g aka-miso (Hatcho-miso) and 200ml mirin in a small pot over low heat and knead well with a wooden spoon. It tends to burn easily, so a double boiler can also be used. When you can draw a line with the wooden spoon, take it off the heat. When it is cooled, mix in 1 tsp of sesame oil.