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Definition: Made from fermented soybeans, miso is a thick paste-like substance. Miso is brownish in color and tastes extremely salty and tangy on its own. While the most common use of miso is in Japanese-style miso soup recipes, miso also adds a unique burst of flavor to sauces and marinades, baked tofu, or vegetable dishes. I like to use miso to make Asian-style salad dressings, such as this miso and orange dressing recipe.

Besides soy, miso can also be made from barley, rice, or other grains. These types of miso will vary slightly in color and taste, though can be used interchangeably in recipes. In general, the darker the color of the miso, the stronger the taste, so if you find the taste unpleasant, look for white or yellow miso rather than brown or barley miso.

Look for miso in plastic tubs in Asian grocery stores or the refrigerator section of your local health food store.

Wondering what to do with miso, other than miso soup? Here's a few recipes which use miso as a key ingredient:

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