When we think of miso, we naturally think of it as the primary ingredient of miso soup.
But miso can actually also be great as a dessert!
Wall Street Journal once praised miso for its “special witchcraft” and “uncanny ability to deepen and expand the flavors in almost anything it touches”. The article also explained that the special attribute that contributes to these seemingly magical qualities is “umami”, the meaty, savoury flavours often mentioned in Japanese recipe books.
Who knew that mashed soybeans fermented with salt and water could provide such exquisite sensations as desserts?
I immediately scoured the Internet through the smorgasbord of miso dessert recipes to gather this selection of treats to test your taste buds on! You’re very welcome indeed.
Although these recipes only call for a small amount of miso, they all assure definitive flavour. Just remember that a little bit goes a long way – trying to add an extra kick by adding an extra spoonful could end up overpowering, or killing the result.
When using miso for desserts, it’s important to use miso that does not include dashi. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to make my desserts without the flavour of bonito or seaweed stock!
Another quick tip: shiro miso is best for lighter flavoured, pale coloured desserts while aka miso is ideal for deeper, rich recipes using chocolate or caramel.
Sweet Miso Chocolate Brownies
Tofu and miso don’t only go together in soup. Skeptics! Don’t freak out until you’ve tried this recipe! I have baked sweets with tofu many times before, and can vouch for the finished result and satisfaction level!
・100g silk (kinu) tofu
・50g soy milk (Sweetened or unsweetened, depending on your preference )
・1/2 teaspoon miso (red miso)
・2 tablespoons honey
・30g pure cocoa powder
・1 teaspoon baking powder
1. Preheat oven at 180C. Mix the tofu, milk, miso, honey and sugar in a bowl and beat until formed into a smooth paste.
2. Add the flour, cocoa and baking powder into the first mixture until smooth.
3. Pour into an ovenproof container, and bake for between 30 and 40 minutes. Insert a thin pick and if the pick comes out clean, then you know it’s baked through!
4. Wait for the brownie to cool off before cutting it into small pieces to share, unless your intention was to eat it all by yourself.
Sticky Sweet Miso Dango
In Japan, whether I’m visiting popular tourist areas or just walking around a quiet neighbourhood, I love coming across a tiny old dango shop (read: hole in the wall) and ordering warm and chewy dango on a stick, straight off the grill. This style of dango is called mitarashi dango, and is glazed with soy sauce or miso. They’re ridiculously easy to make and very satisfying, not to mention vegan and gluten free! (Just make sure the miso is the GF variety that doesn’t contain wheat)
・100g glutinous rice flour
・100cc tepid water
・3 tablespoons sugar
・1.5 tablespoon miso
・1 tablespoon mirin
・1 tablespoon potato starch
1. Mix the rice flour and sugar with water, and knead into soft balls.
2. Once the dough is soft and slightly squishy (about the softness of your earlobe) pop them into a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, then scoop them out and dunk them into ice water to harden.
3. Mix all the other ingredients and heat on low until the texture thickens.
4. Skewer the balls onto bamboo skewers, generously glaze miso sauce, enjoy!!
Chewy Buttered Miso Potato Mochi
You can substitute the potatoes for pumpkin in this recipe. I’m particularly fond of the savoury-sweet flavour
・400g potatoes, peeled and diced
・100g potato starch
・a pinch of salt
・2 tablespoons mirin
・2 tablespoons miso
・2 tablespoons water
・1 teaspoon sugar
・butter or cooking oil for the pan
・ground sesame or sansho spices (optional)
1. Mix the mirin, miso, water and sugar and heat on low. Set aside.
2. Steam or boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to be mashed. (Personally I prefer to steam them to get more nutrients)
3. Mash the potatoes in a bowl while they are still hot. Add in the potato starch and salt and knead into a dough.
4. Roll into bite sized balls, flatten them out gently and fry them in a pan with butter, until they turn golden brown.
5. Coat generously with the warm miso glaze, and sprinkle with ground sesame or a tiny amount of sansho. Meshiagare! (Bon Apetit!)
Strawberries and Miso Cream
Now I’ve really seen everything. Not even the most quintessential dessert, served countless times at the post-dinner table of my Kiwi grandparent’s house has been spared of miso magic. This one was provided on the website of Miyasaka Jozo, a 350 year old company that has been making miso for the last century, so I feel very assured that they knew exactly what they were doing when they came up with this unique recipe!
・2 to 3 handfuls of strawberries, washed and hulled
・Optional amount of sugar to your taste
・2 tablespoons rum
・200ml fresh cream
・1 tablespoon of reduced salt miso
1. Gently heat the strawberries in a pan with sugar and rum until they have softened but not liquefied. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Whip the cream, then blend in sugar and miso.
3. Serve with strawberries in a dessert bowl. Also works wonders with kiwifruits, apples or bananas.