Miso, mirin, amazake: A guide to using Asian fermented foods – fitness

Fermented foods are promoting in India’s more and better beingacutely aware cities.

Fermented foods like tempeh (a soy-primarily based different to tofu), miso (a paste of fermented soybean, barley and koji), mirin (rice wine utilized in cooking) and amazake (a drink constituted of fermented rice) are promoting on-line and offline, and being included into recipes, in India’s more and more well beingacutely aware cities.

Apart from the umami flavour they add to dishes, they’re full of wholesome probiotics that help digestion, improve immunity and enhance gastrointestinal well being.

Here’s a take a look at how they need to, and shouldn’t, be used.


This fermented soy paste with a salty, earthy flavour is what makes miso soup so hearty and comforting.

“It can be eaten raw or cooked, but boiling makes it lose its beneficial probiotic qualities,” says Sandhya Pandey, a chief scientific nutritionist on the Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon.

“Also, it contains high levels of sodium, so it is advisable to limit its use.”

Another way to effectively use Miso is by adding a dash of the paste in a ramen at the end or in a salad dressing. Another means to successfully use Miso is by including a splash of the paste in ramen on the finish or in a salad dressing.

While it tastes fantastic in marinades, sauces and batters, to get essentially the most out of miso, its preferred use could be in a salad dressing, the place it’s by no means heated to excessive temperatures and due to this fact retains the probiotic qualities that make it so wholesome.

  • Ingredients: 2 spring onions bulbs, chopped finely; 6 tofu cubes; 1½ tbsp miso paste; 2 cups water
  • Method: Boil tofu cubes in water till smooth. Add spring onions. Reduce warmth and blend in miso paste gently and regularly. Stir effectively and take away from warmth. Serve sizzling.
  • For finest outcomes: Don’t combine within the miso too early. It doesn’t want to prepare dinnersimply flippantly simmer for a number of seconds. If it boils, it loses its probiotic properties. Don’t add the miso paste in a single go; it’ll type a lump. Mix it in a bit of of the broth first, and gently stir it into the soup. Eat miso soup recent. If it’s saved, the miso will settle on the backside and also you’ll have to reheat it to combine it in once more. Recipe courtesy James Bianka, company chef at Kofuku, Mumbai.


The principal condiment in teriyaki sauce, mirin is comparable to rice wine sake however sweeter and with a decrease in alcohol content material (and better sugar content material).

“Steam vegetables and fish with mirin or add it to marinades for a delicately sweet grilled fish or meat barbecue. This is a flavour that pairs well with ginger, soy sauce and sesame seeds,” says chef Amit Patra, of the Japanese restaurant Edo on the ITC Gardenia resort in Bengaluru.

While mirin is freed from fatsit’s excessive on sugar content material and due to this fact not appropriate for diabetics or pre-diabetics, says Sweedal Trinidad, a senior dietician with Mumbai’s Hinduja hospital.

If it’s being utilized in a household meal, mirin additionally needs to be cooked on excessive warmth to enable the alcohol to evaporate whereas its flavours stay. “Mirin in salads is not heated and hence unsafe for children as it has significant alcohol content.”

KOJI: The base participant of fermented foods

  • Koji is the bottom ingredient for a variety of soy-primarily based fermented foods, together with miso, sake, mirin, tempeh, amazake and soy sauce.
  • Koji is a mould or thread-like fungus that develops on rice or barley and is then used as a starter tradition for additional fermentation.
  • In Asian delicaciesit’s used to create merchandise that lends the umami flavour to mealsin addition, to soften meat and fish.
  • Depending primarily on the ratio of koji rice to soybean, the method can be utilized to produce a variety of merchandise from the candy, alcoholic rice wine, mirin, to the fermented soybean muffins referred to like tempeh.
  • Koji is itself a well-being meals. The technique of fermentation produces kojic acid, which has sturdy probiotic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities. It additionally aids in the assimilation of meals and nutrient absorption, incorporates nutritional vitamins and helps increase the metabolism.


This fermented soybean muffins from Indonesia seems like a burger patty and is commonly used as a meat substitute. Tempeh is fermented soybean compressed right into a stable cake. It seems related to tofu however is a dairy-free different that can be eaten by vegans.

“Tempeh has a firm, dry, chewy texture and a nutty flavour that can lend meatiness to a dish. Its texture makes it versatile, and it can be tossed, sauteed, marinated, or added to curries,” says Eric Sifu, govt chef with Pebble Street Hospitality, which manages the Asian eating places Foo and Koko in Mumbai.

Tempeh is a fragile probiotic. Once opened, it has to be wrapped and refrigerated instantly. “Leave enough space around it in the fridge, as stacking will lead to overheating and undesirable fermentation, which could spoil the tempeh and make it unfit for consumption,” says Tenzin Namkha, chef de delicacies on the Mikusu restaurant on the Conrad Bengaluru resort.

In addition to its antioxidant resultsit’s a nice supply of protein for vegetarians and vegans, says Trinidad.


This candy, non-alcoholic rice wine is made by mixing dried rice koji (see field) with water and letting it ferment underneath very particular temperature situations.

Amazake can be used in baking as it acts as a vegan substitute for milk or the beverage can be warmed up a bit and sipped on during chilly days. Amazake can be utilized in baking because it acts as a vegan substitute for milk or the beverage may be warmed up a bit and sipped on throughout chilly days.

“Because it is made from whole grain brown rice, it is packed with nutrients,” says nutritionist Hetal Chheda. “It has active enzymes which break down carbs, fats and proteins to aid digestion. Other key benefits include improved gut-health, a boost in metabolism, better skin health, and improved immunity.”

You can have the beverage, gently warmed and flavoured with recent ginger, on chilly days. In the summer season, have it chilled.

Amazake can act as a vegan substitute for milk in baking. But drink moderately, says Chheda. It has an excessive sugar content material.