Last week I sent out a poll through Instagram and Facebook asking which food people were most resistant to try from these options: Kimchi, Miso, Seitan and Kombucha. All four I've experimented with over the years and like to rotate them in my diet on a regular basis. The poll received mixed results from folks who were keen on them all to those that either were generally wigged out by fermented foods or knew very little about some or all of the choices. As you may have guessed by the title of this post; Miso tallied the most votes so that's where we will start to demystify and share some easy to incorporate recipes for all you lovelies out there!
To begin - What is miso? Basically it's a fermented paste that is most commonly made from soy beans but can also be made from other legumes as well as barley and/or rice. There are also many varieties in colour of miso including white, yellow, brown, red and black. Some can be quite salty while others are sweeter in flavour. Miso is not the most attractive looking product as a lumpy paste with a slightly funky smell. So it makes sense that it's a scary food. Where the hell do you start?!?
Currently I am using Amano brand Shiro Miso - which is white rice and soy beans fermented. It's lighter in colour and not too salty so I find it quite versatile. I also really like chickpea miso and I'll feature that in another upcoming post. Either way - as you can see below the paste isn't all that much to look at but I tell ya the flavour it brings to a variety of dishes is full of that je ne sais quoi umami flavour that is also great for your health!
Secondly - Miso (and all fermented products, really) is alive with microorganisms! That may freak a few people out but stay with me here, k?! It's really good for you (I promise!) and you really don't need much to start making a very positive difference in your gut health. There are many sources on the internet that you can Google for further details. One significant detail to know though is that all those tiny microorganisms in miso (and all fermented products) are not fans of too much heat. Therefore, it's best to add miso straight in to salad dressings and dips or added to dishes near the end of cooking to reap all the health benefits. There are many recipes out there where miso is cooked throughout the process as the umami flavour that miso adds is kick-ass and it works well for many dishes. But really the health benefits are toasted when fully cooking with any fermented product.
Lastly - The Japanese culture have been using miso in their diets for centuries and they have a lot of centenarians where the standard Western diet has not completely infiltrated their traditional foods. I take that information as a good enough reason for miso to be included in my diet too to get in on that longevity. Miso soup is the most common form that Japanese folks consume miso (I'm assuming this... if anyone out there knows for sure or otherwise feel free to comment below) and is likely how most Westerners have tried miso as well. Miso soup is really great but perhaps is a big leap for many to try as it looks and tastes quite different than your standard vegetable or cream soup. So with that in mind we are going to forego any soups here and incorporate miso in to recipes that could already be in your rotation but are in need to be changed up!
For today's Miso recipe we tried a simple and delicious miso glaze on a garden fresh picked zucchini! I've only tried this glaze on zucchini but I can guarantee that I will be using this on other grilled veggies this summer. I happen to be house/dog-sitting as I'm writing this and my friends' house has a great south facing backyard and a wonderful garden. Since they're gone for nearly two weeks there's been a bunch of growth and I'm enjoying the benefits of fresh zucchini today!
While enjoying a brilliant sunny day I figured I'd do all the prep and cooking outside! Minimal ingredients and took all of 10 minutes to prep and cook once I had everything all set and the BBQ heating up. Since I was only cooking for myself I only prepped
So without further ado here's the recipe!
Miso glazed grilled zucchini
1 tbsp melted coconut oil (or safflower oil)
1 zucchini, cut in to wedges (as shown above)
1 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp tahini paste
1 tbsp maple syrup (honey or agave would do well here too)
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
splash of water to thin the glaze
1 - Heat grill to medium-low heat
2 - Brush all sides of zucchini wedges with coconut oil
3 - Grill wedges for 2-3 minutes per side
4 - While zucchini is grilling prepare the glaze
5 - Whisk to combine miso paste, tahini, maple syrup and Worchestershire sauce in a bowl. Add a splash of water to thin out the glaze to your desired consistency.
6 - Once zucchini wedges have been grilled on all sides remove from grill and brush with glaze. Reserving some for dipping as well.
7 - Eat and enjoy!
Now this amount of glaze was plenty for these six wedges with extra for a side dipping sauce. However, since the ratios are so simple this recipe would be really easy to make in a larger batch.
So - do you think you'll try this? Is there a way you've heard of miso being used before that you'd like some help with? Let me know in the comments :)