Miso is a Japanese thick paste used as sauces and spreads, similar to Chinese fermented bean paste (doujiang, 豆酱). Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory. The most common flavor types are:
- Shiro miso (white miso), known as sweet or mellow miso. It is fermented for a shorter time and lower in salt than darker varieties, with a easy adaptable, mild, delicate flavor and used for lighter fare such as dressing bases and fish marinades.
- Shinshu miso (yellow miso), another mild type which is fermented slightly longer than white miso. It is adaptable to most cooking applications, from soups to glazes.
- Aka miso (red miso), a longer-fermented miso that encompasses any darker red and brown varieties.It is generally saltier than light yellow and white miso and has a more assertive, pungent flavor. used for stews and the marinade of meat, poultry, and vegetables.
- Awase miso (mixed miso), a blend of red and white miso. It is a little heartier than white miso, but not as strong as the red.