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In Our Pantry: Miso

Photography by: Raymond Hom

We prefer organic (non-GMO) miso

Used in Japan since the 12th century, this protein-rich fermented soybean paste is a world-class flavor foundation. We use three types -- shiro, aka, and awase -- to impart the savory taste the Japanese call umami to salad dressing, roasted chicken, even pasta and chocolate sauce.

Cheat Sheet

Where to Buy

You'll find these misos at Asian markets and most supermarkets, and at

How to Store

Shiro miso can be stored in the refrigerator up to three weeks; aka and awase, up to four months.

Photography by: Raymond Hom

Shiro (White)

Made from soybeans and rice and fermented no longer than two months, this gateway miso is creamy and mildly salty. Shiro (shee-roh) elevates the other flavors in a salad dressing, and it does the same when tossed with hot cooked vegetables.

Photography by: Raymond Hom

Aka (Red)

Aka (ah-kah) miso, made from a higher proportion of soybeans to rice (or barley), is fermented up to three years. It adds depth to a sweet ganache, provides protein in a glaze for grilled eggplant, and is an instant flavor base in stews and braises.

Photography by: Raymond Hom

Awase (Mixed)

This blend of shiro and aka misos is more savory than shiro yet gentler than aka. We think awase (ah-wah-say) works especially well in a buttery pasta sauce and on chicken. You can also mix shiro and aka to make your own blend.