What’s the best miso paste to use for making ramen broth?
But what kind of miso paste should you use to make ramen broth?
Here’s where it gets tricky:
While all miso is made from fermented soybean paste, the flavor can depend on the type or even the brand. Some are sweet, some are salty, and some have a mild and mellow taste. For a light, mild ramen broth, go with Sendai miso.
I like the Hikari brand and this one gives a nice salty, but not overpowering taste to your ramen broth:
Here are the kinds of miso that will balance well with the other ingredients in ramen.
This is made with koji, a kind of fungus that’s used to ferment soybean and other grains like rice or barley.
The koji transform the starches into sugar, and in the process, releases glutamate and other fatty acids. The result is the amazing umami taste, which adds depth and that “special something” to restaurant-quality miso ramen.
Koji will have a hint of sweetness, that actually enhances the savory and earthy notes. It also one of the strongest aromas among all the kinds of miso paste.
Also called Shinsu Miso, this type of miso can be a very light yellow or a light brown. That color comes from the higher barley content, although some brands will also include rice to balance off the rich flavor.
Yellow miso has an earthy flavor that will make your ramen broth taste rich and deep.
Aside from using it to make broth, you can also use it to make other Asian dishes like braised eggplant, or as a glaze for grilled fish and meat.
It’s actually one of the most versatile kinds of miso, so get this is you don’t want to buy a big tub of miso just to make ramen.
Sendai miso can be used to make ramen broth and miso soup. It has a distinctive darker and reddish color, and is also saltier than koji miso and yellow miso. It’s made from rice koji and soybeans, and has a neutral flavor that is best for making a light, mild ramen broth.
Many professional chefs will combine different kinds of miso to make a complex and signature ramen broth.
But even if you only get one kind of miso, you can personalize the taste by adding other ingredients—adding more chili paste for spice, or deepening the umami flavor by using kelp or anchovy stock.
Go ahead and try different ramen recipes and miso brands to see which one you like best!
Also read: miso vs tofu and how to use each
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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.