Miso is often used for seasoning soups and sauces. It is a salty-tasting Japanese fermented soybean paste. During the fermentation process, a dark liquid rises to the top. Known as tamari, this dark liquid is a strong-tasting form of soy sauce. Miso is ordinarily sold in vacuum-sealed pouches or tubs. There are darker, stronger,and chunkier misos, and dozens of variations in between. Experiment and find the ones that you like best.
When choosing and using miso, keep in mind that the darker the color, the stronger, saltier, richer, and more robust the flavor will be. There are four basic varieties of miso, each with a different color and flavor. Aka (red miso) is dark reddish-brown in color and has the most intense, salty flavor. Shiro (white miso) has a gold color, a fine texture, and a mild, mellow, slightly sweet, less salty taste. Hatcho (dark brown miso) has a rich, mellow flavor.
To store miso after opening, seal tightly (in a separate jar with a tight-fitting lid, if necessary) and refrigerate for up to 2 years. Miso keeps well due to a very high sodium content. When using miso in heated mixtures, dissolve it first in a small amount of the hot liquid in a separate bowl (using 2 parts liquid to 1 part miso), then stir back into the entire mixture.
** Asian Recipes