Miso is a thick paste made from fermented soybeans. Miso and its relatives have been essential ingredients in Japanese, Chinese and Korean cuisines for thousands of years, adding savoury umami taste to everything from soups to sauces to pickles.
The first step in making miso is preparing a (friendly!) mould called koji (“KO-gee”). The koji is then mixed with cooked, mashed soybeans; salt; and sometimes water. That mixture sits for anywhere from a few weeks to a few years! Over time, the koji starts to break down the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in the soybeans. It converts the soybeans’ proteins into amino acids, including glutamic acid, which give miso its trademark savory umami taste. At the same time, the koji turns the carbohydrates in the soybeans into simple sugars, which add some sweetness to the miso. According to the Japan Miso Promotion Board, there are 1,300 different types of miso!
Salmon with Miso-Orange SauceRecipe by America's Test KitchenServings
The first step in making miso is preparing a (friendly!) mould called koji (“KO-gee”). The koji is then mixed with cooked, mashed soybeans; salt; and sometimes water.
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest plus 1/4 cup orange juice, zested and squeezed from 2 oranges
- 3 tablespoons white miso
- 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 (6- to 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
- Add orange zest and juice, miso, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, and cayenne (if using) to a small saucepan. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, sprinkle salt and pepper in an even layer. Place salmon fillets, skin side down, in the skillet. Wash your hands.
- Cook salmon over medium heat, without moving salmon, until fat begins to puddle around fillets and skin begins to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Gently slide spatula under fish to loosen skin from skillet, then use tongs to flip fish. Cook, without moving fillets, until the center of each fillet registers 125 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Bring miso mixture in saucepan to a simmer (small bubbles should break often across the surface of the sauce) over medium-high heat. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 1 minute. Turn off heat. Spoon glaze evenly over salmon. Serve.