When you hear ‘miso’, most people think of miso soup. But, as Rotterdam Collective’s Japanese fermenter and food activist Erika Hirose shows, there are many many more delicious things you can make with miso: from miso hummus to chocolate cookies. You just need to think outside the box! So on a Monday evening in March, a group of Rotterdam chefs and other foodies gathered at Rotterdam Collectief for a workshop to learn how to cook with miso in unexpected, yet yummy ways.
But first, what is miso? Miso is a fermented bean paste. It’s a combination of beans, grains and salt, that are transformed into miso by koji – a Japanese fungus. A young miso may take about 6 months to a year to ferment, but some may take up to 3 years before they’re at their peak.
Three types of miso, from right to left: Kome miso (rice miso, fermented 1 year), Hacchou-Miso or Aka-Miso (bean miso, fermented 3 years), Mugi miso (countryside miso, fermented 6 months).
Why Miso Is So Good
During the workshop, Erika shared much of her carefully collected knowledge about miso with the group. From geographical differences in miso (miso in the north of Japan is so different from miso in the South, that it is said to create unhappy marriages) and health benefits (miso is relaxing and good for your digestive system) to explaining what you should pay attention to when you buy miso in the store (additives!).
The presentation was followed by a tasting of 7 different types of miso. The audience’s favourite? It was a miso made from typical Dutch ‘bruine bonen’ or brown beans!
Cooking with Miso
After the presentation, followed by a snack of miso soup and rice balls with a fermented peanut sauce, the workshop participants were put to work to make their own Miso & Yoghurt Easy Tukemono: vegetables marinated in a yoghurt-miso dressing. Fermented overnight, you can eat it as a healthy breakfast or as a side dish for lunch. You can make your own using the recipe below.
Miso & Yogurt Easy Tukemono
Recipe by Erika Hirose
- miso (30 grams)
- yoghurt (30 grams)
- vegetables (carrots, paprika, celery, etc.)
- Mix miso and yoghurt
- Cut the vegetables in small pieces
- Mix 1. and 2. Rub the the miso and yoghurt paste into the vegetables
- Keep it in the fridge over night. It will be ready for the next day!
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