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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Off the Shelf
Miso's flavors distinctive, versatile

By Joan Namkoong
Advertiser Food Editor

Island food stores carry a wide variety of misos, some manufactured in the Islands and others imported from Japan.

Gregory Yamamoto• The Honolulu Advertiser

Miso, or Japanese fermented soybean paste, is made by mixing soybeans with salt, koji (yeast culture) and grain.

It is allowed to ferment for months or years, developing a key flavor for soups, grilled foods, marinades and salad dressings. Shiro or white miso is sweet, yellowish and made from rice and soybeans.

Aka miso is red to brown and includes barley or rice. It has a more robust flavor and is used in marinades for meats and strong-flavored fish. Earthy mamemiso is made solely from soybeans and is chunkier. For a dip, combine à cup miso, ´ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon mirin and à teaspoon grated ginger.