What Is Miso, the Secret Weapon in Every Healthyish Pantry? | Healthyish


This story is part of the Healthyish Pantry, a collection of articles breaking down the ingredients we love most. Click here to read the whole guide—then stock up.

Sure, the concept of a « secret ingredient » might be kind of silly. But if we tell you there’s a secret ingredient and you guess miso, you’ll probably be right. We use miso to add a salty savoriness to polenta, to balance the sugariness of caramel, and to give salad dressing an anchovy-free oomph. But what is miso and where does it come from? Let’s find out, shall we?

Okay, what is it?

At its most basic, miso is a fermented paste that’s made by inoculating a mixture of soybeans with a mold called koji (for you science folks, that’s the common name for Aspergillus oryzae) that’s been cultivated from rice, barley, or soybeans. Over weeks (or even years!), the enzymes in the koji work together with the microorganisms in the environment to break down the structure of the beans and grains into amino acids, fatty acids, and simple sugars.

The Only Way You’ll Want to Make Brussels Sprouts from Now On

The use of miso goes back millennia in Japan, where a bureau to regulate its production, trade, and taxation was established by Emperor Mommu in 701 (!), and traditional miso-making is an art form.

Though most of the miso sold in the US is kome-miso, made from a combination of soybeans and rice koji (cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo puts that number at 95%), you can also find mugi-miso (soybeans plus barley) and mame-miso (soybeans alone). The color, aroma, and taste varies based on where it’s made, the proportion of soybeans to koji, and the fermentation time and conditions.

If you’re avoiding soy or you’re looking for something a bit quirkier and less traditional, there’s a whole gang of new wave miso-esque varietals made from farro, lima beans, adzuki beans, and chickpeas that offer a similar salty depth.

What’s to love?

Salty, earthy, and, yes, funky, miso has the sort of deeply layered flavor that can only be the result of nature and time. It’s the key to umami-rich broth without the meat, to creamy salad dressing with the optimal balance of salt, and to glaze that leaves fish crispy and caramelized .

We’re already fans of baking with salted butter, and we’ve been using miso to balance the sweetness level of doughnuts, jams, and cobbler to an even greater degree.

Maar atm miso v

Some miso is smoother than others. If you’re working with a chunky variety, you can whisk it with liquid, then press it through a fine mesh strainer.

Which should you buy and where should you start?

Let the color of the miso help you predict how it will taste (and how you can use it). There are over a thousand different types, but in The Miso Book, John and Jan Belleme simplify them into two major groups.

First, sweet miso: light in color, with a proportionally high amount of koji to soybeans and a relatively short fermentation time, it’s mellow and refreshing (you can sample it by the spoonful). If sweet miso is sandwich bread, dark miso (often labeled as red or brown miso) is a hearty miche. A longer fermentation time, higher salt content, and proportionally more soybeans to koji makes it saltier, earthier, and more intense, with a pungency that’ll hit you right in the sinuses.

Senior food editor Chris Morocco recommends starting with sweet miso as an entrypoint. Not only does its milder flavor make it more versatile as an accessory ingredient, but it also dissolves more easily into dressings, soups, and sauces.


The many varieties of miso

Whichever type of miso you’re selecting, look for a minimal ingredient list: Ideally, you’ll want just soybeans, rice or barley, salt, and sometimes alcohol, which is used as a preservative. Morocco recommends the Miso Master brand, made in North Carolina. South River Miso, out of Massachusetts, is another favorite brand in the test kitchen. You’ll find much larger selections of miso at Japanese markets—just remember that darker means more powerful.

How should you store it?

You can keep miso in an airtight container in the refrigerator indefinitely, though it may get darker or denser over time. You can also store it in the freezer, which will not change its texture or flavor.

How can you use it?

Well, soup, obviously: Start with the classic, then tinker it into chicken noodle miso, kimchi and egg miso, or another variation.

But you probably won’t get through a whole container of miso only making soup. Morocco likes to take advantage of it as an accent note—rather than a headliner—in less traditional places: Try blitzing it with pecans and spreading it on a sandwich for a fancier PB&J. Or blend it with herbs for a pesto you can mix with ramen noodles, swirl into soup, or spread on a pizza, or with tahini for a mayo-like dressing that will be at home in chicken or egg salad.

Blend miso into butter and use it to coat green beans, rub on corn, or smear into garlic bread.

Or go sweet! Use miso butter as the basis for a miso blondie or snickerdoodle, or cream together miso, butter, and confectioners’ sugar for a sandwich cookie filling. You can even incorporate miso into a sweet potato pie for a version that’s far from one-note.

As you experiment, keep in mind that darker miso delivers big, bold flavor better suited for hearty stews and braises, whereas sweet miso is your go-to for sauces, glazes, and baking projects.

Now put your jar to use:

Chickpea Bowl.jpg

This recipe will work long after corn has gone out of season. In winter, just sub shaved cauliflower or torn kale.



Springy ramen noodles and a cilantro-miso sauce bring a welcome twist to a classic pesto recipe.



Toasted sesame seeds can often be found in the Asian sections of some supermarkets, sometimes labeled Gomasio. If ever there was a time of year to keep a big jar of them on hand, pre-toasted and ready to go, this is it. They are the perfect crunchy topper for everything from salads to soups and roasted vegetables.



Source link

قالب وردپرس

The 16 Best Things We Added to Our Pantry This Year


Is there anything less inspiring than the idea of a “pantry staple”? Think about it: By its very nature, they’re the most ordinary, quotidian, unspecial stuff you could possibly keep around. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This year, in an attempt to keep things exciting in our kitchens, we added some new tricks to our fridges and cupboards. We’re talking flavor bombs like an umami-rich fish salt and a smoky-hot spice, toasty sesame seeds to amp up dressings and salads, and nutty, toothsome wheat berries to give your usual go-to grains a rest. Sure they’ll be a whole new crop of things to fall for in the new year, but we’re still psyched about these goodies.

red boat salt

I love Red Boat’s fish salt, which is made from just anchovies and sea salt. It’s saved me more than once when I’ve run out of the tinned stuff. Add a pinch to Caesar dressing or fish stew, mix it to make anchovy-salted butter, or stir it into olive oil and make croutons. —Amanda Shapiro, senior editor, Healthyish

Buy it: Red Boat Fish Salt, $15 on Amazon

jacobsen salt co

About six months ago I finally got around to buying flaky sea salt, namely Jacobsen sea salt, for cooking at home (I already had a stash at the office). Once I finally got it, I never looked back. I showed my roommate the ways of the flaky sea salt too, and now we both use it on everything from eggs to roasted veg to meats. —Emily Schultz, social media manager

Buy It: Jacobsen Hand-Harvested Pure Flake Sea Salt, $30 on Amazon

eden gomasio

Does anyone toast their own sesame seeds? I doubt it, and untoasted sesame seeds are mostly a waste of time. Toasting brings out the flavor, and yet most nuts and seeds in supermarkets aren’t optimally toasted, including the ones that claim they are. The one exception is toasted sesame seeds, sometimes labelled gomasio, which I started keeping on hand this year. They are cheap and crazy flavorful and so nicely toasted—they don’t have any of the charred spots I get when I do them in a skillet on the stovetop, totally pissed I’m toasting seeds on Tuesday night. It’s easy to sprinkle them with abandon on salads and vegetables, or blend them into dressings. —Chris Morocco, senior food editor

Buy It: Eden Foods Toasted Seasoned Sesame Seeds, $3 at VitaCost

red mill wheat berries

Wheat berries became my grain of choice this year. I love how nutty and chewy they are—cook ‘em like pasta and they stay especially al dente. I’m convinced they turn what might otherwise be a sad whatever’s-left-in-my-fridge salad into a meal actually worth looking forward to. —Sasha Levine, senior editor

Buy It: Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Berries, $9 on Amazon

black urfa chili

Photo by Max Falkowitz

The spices now available to us home cooks are better than ever. New companies selling single-origin, direct-trade spices are popping up left and right, and I want to try them all. But the one I obsessed over in 2018 was Black Urfa Chili from Burlap & Barrel. I’ve been sprinkling it on every snack I make—from eggs to hummus to cucumbers doused in rice vinegar—and cooking with it too, adding it to braises and sauces. If you know Aleppo-style pepper, Black Urfa will seem similar, but it’s smokier and sweeter, and the burn lingers longer. I’m in love. —Anna Stockwell, senior food editor

Buy It: Black Urfa Chili, $9 at Burlap & Barrel

pantry 1

I use black tahini in place of regular tahini when I want a more intense sesame punch. It’s woodsier, smokier, mustier, and a little more bitter, and great in hummus, baba ghanouj, or sesame noodles. I also use it in baking when I need black sesame paste to fill babka or brioche, or when I want black sesame frangipane for a tart. Marumoto Neri is my splurge Japanese brand with a cleaner, toastier flavor that isn’t as earthy and muddy as my go-to everyday black tahini, Kevala. —Sarah Jampel, contributing editor

Buy It: Marumoto Neri Black Tahini, $27 on Amazon

kitchen garden chili sauce

I spend so much impulse ca$h at R&D Foods, a gourmet wonderland in Brooklyn. The last thing I bought was Farm to People’s sriracha, which is mostly chiles and vinegar so instead of being gloppy like ketchup from corn syrup, it’s close to liquid. And VERY spicy. The chile flavor is bright and nearly fruity. I can’t eat eggs without it. —Alex Beggs, senior staff writer

Buy It: Kitchen Garden Farm Organic Habanero Sriracha, $17 on Amazon

soybean paste

I was adopted from Korea, but didn’t start really cooking the cuisine until this year. Doenjang was one of my first purchases to make a hearty and flavorful soybean stew (doenjang jjigae). Made from fermented soybeans, it’s umami-rich and salty with sweet undertones. It’s great mixed into broth for a quick soup, added to sauteed or roasted vegetables, or stirred into batter for a green onion pajeon (pancake). It also works in marinades and braises, like bossam pork wraps (for that I follow Maangchi’s lead). I am not picky about brands when I buy it in Asian grocery stores, but you can get a 1 lb. tub on Amazon that will last a year in the fridge. —Alyse Whitney, associate editor

Buy It: CJ Haechandle Jaeraesik Doenjang Soybean Paste, $11 on Amazon

black garlic

Photo by Christabel

I was gifted this black garlic by my friend Mitch last time I was in San Antonio, and it is truly the best. It’s the best-quality garlic, grown in Texas and fermented until it gets all sweet and soft and funk-ified. I put this garlic on eggs. I spread it on toast. I put it on pizza. I mix it into pasta sauces. I add it to soups and stir-fries. I munch the cloves whole, I kid you not. It was like eating umami. This garlic did no wrong by me in 2018. —Priya Krishna, contributing writer

Buy It:Texas Gold Black Garlic, $9 at texasblackgoldgarlic.com


I got this Middle Eastern spice trio from Spicewalla as a gift, and oh ’twas a good one. There’s spicy-smoky harissa, tart-tannic za’atar, and an Ethiopian-inspired berbere that defies description. I like to rub them onto barbecued meats, sprinkle them onto scrambled eggs or out-of-season avocado toast, and mix them into olive oil for drizzling flatbread. I’m also really into the fact that these spices are small-batch and ethically sourced by one of my favorite chefs, Meherwan Irani. —Hilary Cadigan, associate editor

Buy It: Spicewalla Middle Eastern Spice Collection, $13 on Spicewalla

mother in laws kimchi

I feel like I’m the last person at BA who made sure that they always have a jar of kimchi in their fridge. What was I thinking?! As everyone else already knew, it’s now my go-to for adding instant punch to a meal, from crispy chicken cutlets to basic white rice. —Adam Rapoport, editor in chief

Buy It: Mother in Law’s Kimchi, $10 at LuckyVitamin

red mill corn grits

I have never thought of polenta as a weeknight recipe until our oven polenta with crispy mushrooms recipe! You don’t have to stir it until it’s done, so it’s one of the easiest recipes in my arsenal. I now keep polenta on hand at all times, and this recipe has become my go-to when I have no idea what to make for dinner. —Kate Fenoglio, associate production manager

Buy It: Bob’s Red Mill Polenta, $3 at Thrive Market

aleppo turkish chili pepper

Social media guru Rachel Karten gifted me some aleppo pepper last holiday and it didn’t last long—it went on Caprese salad, Brussels sprouts, sautéed green beans, eggs, literally everything. I love how toasty it tastes. —Erika Owen, associate audience development director

Buy It: Zamouri Spices Aleppo Pepper, $8 on Amazon

chat masala

I spirited a box of chaat masala out of the office after Priya Krishna sang its praises in an article. It’s a heady mix of dried mango powder, black salt, cumin, chili powder, and coriander, and it adds a blast of umami funk to anything you sprinkle it on. Priya suggests adding it to almond butter toast, but I’ve taken to liberally dusting roasted eggplant with it (à la Gunpowder), which gets all wonderfully crispy and savory. Priya describes it as the only acceptable type of store-bought Indian spice blend you should have in your kitchen, and man do I feel lucky to have it in mine. —Aliza Abarbanel, editorial assistant, Healthyish

Buy It: Badshah Chaat Masala, $5 on Amazon

country miso paste

The only thing I like about jet lag is that I’m up when no one else is. Which means while most San Francisco residents are still hitting snooze at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, I’m already running around the Ferry Building farmers’ market and snatching up all the good stuff. My favorite find this year has been the Aedan Country Miso, so intensely nutty and earthy that it puts the mass-produced stuff to shame. (It’s made with two types of koji, rice, and barley, which is why you see oats riddled throughout!) Mashed into chicken meatballs or even eaten raw with crudités, this miso is as versatile as The Rock—it just goes with everything! —Elyse Inamine, digital restaurant editor

Buy It: Aedan Country Miso, $12 at Good Eggs, or check for local retailers and farmers’ markets near you here.


Photo by Max Falkowitz

For Burlap & Barrel’s tart and vivacious sumac, the berries are cured in salt and ground up. It’s giving my go-to dish of roasted chickpeas and herbs an invigorating citrus-like finish (and a deep red-violet hue that you couldn’t dream up). —Tommy Werner, assistant video producer

Buy It: Burlap & Barrel’s Cured Sumac, $10 on Burlap & Barrel


All products featured on Bonappetit.com are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Source link

قالب وردپرس

This Kimchi Udon Recipe Is My Desert-Island Pantry Dinner


Welcome to Never Fail, a weekly column where we wax poetic about the recipes that never, ever let us down.

I recently started watching a Korean cooking show on Netflix called Chef & My Fridge, in which Korea’s top chefs have 15 minutes to cook a dish for a celebrity guest using the contents of the celebrity’s personal refrigerator (yes, they physically transport the physical refrigerator to the film studio.) In the first episode, one chef turns a package of cinnamon cookies, a block of tofu, and a bottle of soy milk into a churros-inspired dessert of fried tofu cubes in a crunchy cinnamon coating with a sweet soy milk sauce. This got me thinking: Were the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen to have its own version of this brilliant show, the undisputed master of my fridge would be senior food editor Andy Baraghani and his Kimchi Udon with Scallions.

These ethereally simple noodles save me on the days when I’m too lazy to cook for longer than 15 minutes and too impatient to order takeout (this is a place I often find myself.) They require just eight ingredients that are in my kitchen at all times, and have no business tasting as delicious as they do given how easy they are to make. (They also feel like Andy made these just for me, based on the contents of my home refrigerator.)

Were Andy to do a quick scan of my fridge, he’d find the following ingredients: unsalted butter, kimchi, a tub of gochujang (the spicy-sweet Korean hot pepper paste), chicken broth, eggs, and a few dying scallions he would give me a whole lotta side-eye for.


Chung Jung One

Gochujang: Your pantry needs it and doesn’t even know it.

Next, he’d check my freezer and find the huge stash of frozen noodles I always have for bulking up a bowl of soup, toss in a quick takeout-style stir-fry, or to simply eat on their own mixed with a ton of ginger-scallion sauce. I buy the fat white udon noodles that come in three-pound bags from the freezer aisle of H-Mart, though you can also find them at other Asian supermarkets. They’re pre-cooked, which means all that stands between you and a bowl of glorious noodles is the 45 seconds you need to reheating them in some boiling water. Trust me: You want to keep frozen noodles around at all times.

Here’s the real genius of this recipe: It coaxes a handful of humble pantry staples (butter, kimchi, gochujang, and chicken broth) to produce maximum flavor in minimal time. You heat up some butter in a skillet until it’s sizzling, then throw in a handful of roughly chopped kimchi and a spoonful of gochujang. As the kimchi softens and the sugar in the gochujang caramelizes in the bubbly butter, you’re hit with an incredibly potent aroma that gets even more intense when you add some rich chicken broth. In the time it takes to bring a pot of water to a boil and flash-cook the noodles, the butter and broth mixture reduces and melds together to create a sauce that is further improved by the addition of MORE BUTTER. This may seem excessive, but that little bit of extra fat is critical to creating that velvety, perfectly emulsified crimson sauce that clings to every strand of udon. Break the egg yolk with your chopsticks or fork and mix it in there for even more glossy-saucy action (a poached or fried egg would also be great.)

In keeping with « Chef & My Fridge » rules, the whole dish takes about 15 minutes to cook, which you can easily confirm by, you know, making them. Right now. Time yourself, and thank me later.



Source link

قالب وردپرس