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All questions

Does miso paste contain mushrooms

I had some Miso Glazed Salmon a couple of months ago. I loved it, and would like to recreate it at home. The only Problem is that I don't quite know what's in the paste and My brother is allergic to mushrooms. I've done a Google search with no definite answers.

asked by Shannan Harper about 2 years ago
50 answers 1929 views
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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

No mushrooms. Mine contains soy beans, rice malt and salt.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Just a clarification, the rice in miso isn't malted. Malting involves sprouting and then drying/toasting the grain. It's the most common way in Western fermentation to transform the grain's starches into fermentable sugars (like beer making). In the East, when fermenting grains, mold often performs this process. Same end result, but very different taste. For miso, the mold is called Koji (and it is DELICIOUS!). The grain is cooked, inoculated with the spores, then incubated for a couple of days before being combined with the cooked beans (soy or other kinds). The salt in the miso paste, slows down the fermentation mold and allows the other elements of fermentation to take over. My favorite write up on this process is by Katz in The Art of Fermentation. But here's a more indepth look as to how miso is made - http://books.google.ca...

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

Trampled, the ingredients I listed are straight off of my container. It says rice malt. Unless I or they missed a comma.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

That's weird that they would say malt. What brand is that? Where's it made? Did it still list koji or some other variation on mold/culture?

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

I'm thinking it must be a poor translation. It doesn't make sense to use malted rice unless they are compensating for the miso flavour using more modern means. But more likely a bad translation since the processes have a similar end result (making the sugars in the grain easier for the invisible beasties to ferment). Then again, there are some commercial miso pastes out there that aren't fermented in the traditional way... but due to it's nature, malting rice isn't nearly as efficient as using mold to culture it, so it seems unlikely. Then again, a mix of malted and mold cultured rice would make an interesting flavour profile... you've got me interested. looking forward to hearing what brand your miso is.

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added about 2 years ago

Most don't. Your traditional miso is just made of soy, rice, and salt as Susan W. mentions below. Some miso pastes use barley or other grain bases, but no mushrooms. Double check the label before you buy.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Most miso do not contain mushrooms. Although, that said, some traditional and regional variations do. In english these are usually called Finger-licking miso. These are also never found outside of Japan, and seldom in Japan anymore.

Miso, in it's most basic form contains rice, mold (koji), beans (often soy, but not necessarily), salt and water. Some recipes use barley instead of rice, others no grains at all, some contain seaweed (kombu) but most commercial miso don't do this. Like others said, if you are buying miso, check the label.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

sorry, should have said 'almost never found'... there's bound to be one or two jars out there. Also, making finger-licking miso at home is on my bucket list.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

Finger lickin miso is actually called Natto Miso. It's a chunky chutney miso made with barley/soy miso, barley malt, kombu and ginger. No shrooms involved. My Japanese friend grew up on it. His mother makes it for us. It's delicious.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

I think the translation is a bit difficult. Natto miso is just one (delicious) variation under the catigory of fingerlicking miso. What we know now (in English) as fingerlicking miso is much smaller meaning than what it was a hundred (or even forty) years ago. There is a massive regional variation, on top of that, a lot of recipes varied from family to family. I have seen a couple of traditional recipes that use dried mushrooms in fingerlicking miso, but they are uncommon now. Have a look at The Book of Miso I linked to above for some interesting variations on it. Chapter four (especially starting p. 42 http://books.google.ca... ) also has some great write up on fingerlicking miso some of which include eggplant, melon, gobo/burdock, ginger, cucumber, seaweed (wakame or kombu), and so on, depending on the region. Some contain no grain, others no beans, some wheat, some barley, some a mix of grains... fingerlicking miso is a massive catigory that is virtually unknown in the West. Hopefully that's about to change with some of the amazing miso makers popping up in North America.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

I also wanted to say that there is a miso glazed eggplant here on this site. I've always thought it would be great on salmon.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Great idea. I've been drooling over this one, with wasabi and ginger miso on salmon https://food52.com/recipes...

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

Ooo..trampled, that one looks good too. I want to eat more salmon. I grew tired of it, but I'm obsessed with miso right now.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Misso obsessing is awesomeness actualized. But be careful, or you'll end up making your own miso from scratch. Delicious and easy to do, but a slippery slope. I dabbled last winter and by summer I was growing my own beans and grains to experiment making miso with locally sourced ingredients. This month sweet chickpea miso, next month I hope to make black bean and barley.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

Trampled, here is the miso that I use. It's made in Calif. I'll post a photo of the ingredients too. I love the stuff. The one I buy is a combo of red and white. I buy it at H Mart, a huge Asian store. They probably have 40 different misos. This one is the one the owner's wife uses, but next time I go (soon..I'm almost out and need dashi ingredients), I am going to inspect the other ingredients.

Hmm..making my own. I make my own mayo, ghee, sauerkraut, kimchi, cottage and ricotta cheeses, so miso may be next. I use Katz' method for my sauerkraut and kimchi, so I would trust his miso method.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

Ingredients.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Thanks for the label. It does seem to be a translation issue as the product is 'Distributed by' which usually means it's bought in bulk from overseas and packaged in the country it's sold in. So when the product came to the US, someone unfamiliar with miso making translated the ingredients onto the label. In Canada when we have 'Distributed by' they usually have to put the country of origin as well, but I don't know what the legislation is in The US.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

No, the company makes it in Cali. In Oregon, if it's from another country, it has to say that on the label. Their website says they have always made it to meet the high demands of restaurants and Asian grocery stores. The woman said that is her choice "for cheap" and pointed to another one "for special". I want to see if I can remember which one was "special". I know it was close to $10. The one I bought was around $4. The miso journey begins.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Katz recipe for miso are great. It's the perfect place to start. I would almost say it's easier than sauerkraut because there is less chopping. Personally, for sweet miso, I liked his Art of Fermentation recipe better than his Wild Fermentation one, but both worked well. If you are using your sauerkraut crock, make certain you really bleach it first (about the only time I advocate using bleach) as the sauerkraut invisible beasties will flavour your miso in an unpleasant way - don't ask me how I found out, it was sad. Let us know when you start. It's great fun. My first adventures with miso: http://wholewheatfsm.blogspot...

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

I just looked at his Wild Fermentation recipe. Good lord...12 months? I like the sound of the garbanzo miso. I try to limit soy ingestion because of the estrogen link, but lately, I can't get enough miso. I may see if H mart has black eyed pea or garbanzo miso.

I don't use a crock. I use these. If I decide to make it, will it work?

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Hmmm... I'm very interested to learn more about how it's made. A cheap miso leaves me to wonder if it's made in the traditional way. Considering miso (generally) takes at least 2 weeks to ferment in a commercial setting, and up to 3 years (averaging about a month). Such a long processing time usually leads to higher prices. However, looking at the Book of Miso, we can see some of the modern (modern in the 1970s) methods take about 2 days. One way to make this is to blend leftovers from other batches, add sweetener (malted rice?), more salt (usually msg), and preservative (book of miso p44). But then you should still have the koji labeled if it contains real miso. I'm wondering if it's a miso flavoured paste. What's the salt, protein and carb content? We can see if it fits into a traditional style or if it would be a more modern manufacturing process. The more I think about it, it's either a translation issue or it's not a traditional fermented miso.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

Like I said before, it's made in California, so it's not a translation issue. Salt is 870 mg, protein is 3 g and carb is 4 g. This is all oer 18 g.

I have a feeling it's probably not an authentic miso. I've had the real thing at Japanese friend's houses and San Francisco ramen shops and this one is very tasty. I may splurge on a "special" one.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

That's supposed to say "per 18 g".

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Is this right? Salt 4.8%, protein 16%, carb, 22%? With that little salt, it would be a short term ferment, less than 2 weeks. According to the graph on p 32 of the Book of Miso, the closest would be Sweet White Miso, however the ratios are too far off for it to be that. I'm guessing it's a modern interpretation of miso - which is exciting! A new way of making miso that I get to learn about and hopefully try at home. That's why I'm so interested in it... then again, if it's not a traditional method of making, do we still get to call it miso - or is miso the end result like how things for sitting on are chairs no matter how they are made or what they are made from, unless they are stools, or benches, or... By that measure, maybe the word 'malt' is changing in the vernacular, no longer referring to the process but rather to the end result (of making the sugars available for fermentation) - but unlikely given food labeling standards and how some people are sensitive to malting enzymes but can consume mold cultured grains. Nope, I guess it's time to give up my translation error theory.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

Not sure what the % would be. I was told there'd be no math. ;0) The only % on the label is of daily value. It's Awase miso, so a combo of white and red.

Yes, time to let go of the translation thing. :) It's listed as rice malt, not malted rice.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

I'm filing it in the 'needs more information' section of my brain. Since my main interest is in food history and food making traditions, I tend to ignore modern (post 1960) methods and processing.

Pre sometime in the 1970s awase would involve a mix of red and sweet miso, with added sweetener, salt (usually MSG) and preservative. Then ferment for a very short period of time before packaging (and possibly pasteurizing). But we've determined that this brand isn't made that way or it would include koji or 'mold culture' in the label. The lack of Koji tells us that it's a modern manufacturing technique, and not a traditional miso. I'm excited to learn how it was made, though I suspect it will take some digging as modern methods of manufacturing food products tend to be a closely guarded secret.

I can't stress enough what a great resource The Book of Miso by Shurtleff and Aoyagi is. Although it's old (aka, older than me), it's still one of the best english language resources on miso, it's traditions, uses, benefits, methods of home making, and methods of manufacturing (that were common up to the date of publication - 1976) both in Japan and The US.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Just got back from the Japanese food store and had a good look at the miso pastes. Some of them list koji and some don't. However the ones that do not list koji appear to be pasteurized, which would kill the koji mold. There are some ingredients that if they are 'used up' in the making process, then they don't have to be labeled (at least in Canada). So they may have used koji mold in the making but not have to label it. At least that's one possibility, and not the first food to have this labeling grey area.

Though I'm surprised they don't label koji as it's extremely popular as a super-food in Japan lately, and starting to be talked about in local food circles around town here.

I'm going out on a limb and make a big assumption here: I suspect not every person involved in making the laws governing how ingredients are labeled are fully familiar with the differences in preparing grains for fermenting. It could be that since the term 'malt' was already around for beer, whisky, horlicks, &c, that when miso crossed the sea and became popular over here, that the meaning of malt was extended to include all preparation of grain - including mold culture - for fermentation. So we might have an equivocation between the method of malting grain and the end result also being called malt.

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creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

This is an amazing thread. Hats off to Trampled, Susan and Jodi for some excellent information on a fascinating subject.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

It is a fun thread. :0) I wonder if the OP knows what she started.

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Great thread - very interesting!

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

New sub-thread about making miso at home (which is totally awesome). Chickpea miso is the best, but also it can be made from any pulse or combination of pulses (ie, clean out the old stuff from the back of the cupboard).

First off, it can be made in as little as three weeks. I usually ferment mine from four to six weeks for richer flavour. This is sweet miso. Red miso is fermented at least a year and started in the coldest part of the winter (Dec through Feb traditionally) - for reasons that you don't really need to know just yet. This year I hope to put up a 5 gallon batch of red miso, but I want to perfect sweet miso first.

I've never tried making less than a gallon. For fancy reasons of volume to surface area ( http://books.google.ca... ) it's suppose to work best if it's no smaller than that. However, it doesn't mean that it's not possible to make a smaller batch. 2 pounds of beans (the amount needed for one gallon of sweet miso) usually costs $4-$8 here, Koji rice about $2 a pound (needs two pounds), and sea salt roughly 5 oz. so it's not a financial hardship to make a gallon batch.

I use the ceramic lining from an old slow cooker for making miso in these days as it's easiest to clean and the internal dimensions fit my plate perfectly.

**Personal opinion warning!** Personally I would not use the flip top jars for miso making, or any airlock system. For starters, traditional miso making doesn't use an airlock (which is what the flip top jars give - it lets gass out but not air in). Airlocks are a relatively recent invention andit's really not necessarily in traditional foods. Before that the 'airlocks' had a tendency to breath (like bladders or wood). There are a lot of vocalization in favour of airlocks and they don't do much harm in simple vegi ferments so long as there is enough salt or.... I'm going to stop here before it goes too far. For my full rant on airlocks: http://wholewheatfsm.blogspot... There are some advantages to airlocks, but I don't see them for miso making. Others love airlocks, so if you belong to that camp, use what you like best. It's unlikely to do any harm to small batch miso making. If you do use your jar, let me know how it goes.

I found that miso likes to breath a tiny bit, both in and out. An open vat works well (covered with inner lid, weight and towel - in case anyone reading here is new to vat vs airlock system - which isn't the same as just leaving it open to the elements). Some traditions cover the top of the miso in the vat with soaked kombu (kelp) seaweed to reduce airflow. This also adds to the flavour and digestibility of the miso which makes it my personal preference.

Anyway, if you want to do a miso-a-long, that would be fantastic. Been a real pleasure talking with you here on the form.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

I use the same jars for fermenting Kombucha. I just don't fasten the lid. I cover it with a cotton cloth fastened with a rubber band.

I definitely want to make the garbanzo miso as opposed to soy. I have access to local, organic dried garbanzos for $1.99 lb. Not sure where to find the koji rice, but h mart will be a good start. I will look for a katz recipe and your blogspot. I don't want to purchase a crock, but don't want a miso fail either. My biggest jars are 1.5 litre. I have smaller ones, but they house my preserved lemons and mayo for now.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Nice price for organic garbanzos. I always forget how cheap food is in The States. Koji rice is often available (by special order) from Japanese or Asian food stores and is usually frozen. Your part of the country should have a few Sake makers that may be able to sell some koji rice. Failing that, your local homebrew shop may be able to get in koji rice or the koji spores for making sake or other rice beer. Lastly, you can get the spores online at places like GEM cultures and culture your own grain.


If you go for the small vat, let me know how it turns out. Otherwise, the local second hand shop should have a crock the right size.

Also, have you tried South River Miso yet? Fantastic soy and non-soy based miso and tamari. Not easy to get in Canada, but lucky for you they are from your area.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

ps. Don't let them sell you 'shio koji rice' which is koji rice combined and fermented with salt. Delicious, but way too expensive and not what you want for miso. Also, once you have koji rice, shio koji is so simple to make at home.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

I will look for the South River miso. It's more likely to be at my neighborhood shi shi grocery store than h mart. I could be wrong. I'm headed across the street to get the beans and cilantro and fresno peppers for the pumpkin ramen I am making today. My family tells me I am Greek, but I think there's some Japanese in there somewhere.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

I found some koji rice from Japan on Amazon. I'll look in the freezer at h mart and Uwajiama. The one on Amazon is dried and $13.25 for 200 grams with free shipping. I'd link it, but can't from my phone.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Not bad price. I've never ordered food from amazon before, so I don't know how well it would ship. I think we pay a lot less here because the shop buys it direct from the sake maker, who makes a lot of koji rice. If I was in the US, I would probably buy the already prepaired koji rice from here http://www.gemcultures... They have a good reputation for quality, but the batch is more than twice the size. You can freeze the extra or make shio koji.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

I think I will call them and pick their brains and order from them. Amazon is brilliant at shipping, but I think I'll learn more from gem.

This is going to be fun!

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Keep us up to date how it goes with your miso. I'm excited to hear how the GEM koji rice works out - since they don't ship the rice to Canada, I'll have to live vicariously through you.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Another US source of koji grains. http://www.culturesforhealth...

I quite like the look of their products and word is they also have good quality cultures.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

I like the idea of CFH too. I have my eyes on the organic brown rice koji. Is there a difference between the final product when choosing rice koji over barley koji? Obviously I have some reading to do. Miso has so many variables that it's a bit overwhelming, but I felt that way when I made my first kombucha SCOBY too.

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trampledbygeese

trampledbygeese is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Yep, miso is scary at the beginning, but like most ferments, once you get the hang of it, it's easy. If you read nothing else, stick to Katz recipes. He gives some good guidance but leaves enough room for you to be creative as your confidence grows.

Short answer, the important difference between barley and brown rice koji is the flavour.

Long answer:
Historically barley miso was most common. Rice was grown for and consumed only by those with higher rank. Barley was the grain of the people, and most miso paste was made at home. After things calmed down from the Second World War, there was a huge influx of rice into Japan (The One Straw Revolution is a good read on this topic). Rice remained a high status food, but suddenly everyone could afford it and it eventually became cheaper than barley. American agricultural techniques imported to Japan at that time discouraged crop rotation. Instead of growing barley as a winter grain, the farmers left the field fallow...&c.

So, latter half of the 20th Century, rice is high status but affordable to everyone. People started making their miso using rice instead of barley. Around this time, more people are moving to the cities, fewer people making their own miso at home encouraged the growth of specialist miso makers. Miso makers that used the more affordable rice instead of barley, so now rice is standard.

But I suspect there is a miso revolution on it's way and we are going to see a lot more barley miso in North America. Barley being packed full of B's and a lot easier to grow in the North than rice. For organic farming, it makes a lot of sense to use Barley in crop rotation, it also requires less water to grow than rice... &c. Basically barley is gentler on the land. Barley is also much easier to grow at home than rice - one eighth of an acre would grow you enough barley and chickpeas to feed a family daily on miso for a year.

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added about 2 years ago

After reading all this I would fix something else.

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Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Save the confusion and go to a whole foods or a health store. Look for "Miso Masters" miso. It's an USA product made in north carolina.
I think it's the best miso on the market and the ingredient list is up front.
https://www.great-eastern...
Some of the confusion is that Miso SOUP is made with dashi which *sometimes* has mushrooms, but not always.

Speaking of which...what's up with North Carolina and Japanese products?
It's one of the few places in the US where Wasabi roots are grown and sold.
http://www.realwasabi.com...

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

Sam, you are a genius. The dashi sometimes made with dried shiitake is probably exactly the confusion that Shannon had. I admit to making my dashi with shiitake, kombu and bonito flakes. I make the shiitake dashi with the shrooms and cold water soaking for 24 hours. It makes a lovely and sweet dashi. I usually end up adding it to the kombu and bonito dashi that I make.

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Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

Shaiitake mushroom (and the baby version black button mushrooms) are the only food allergy I have. It takes 3 days to show up as little pinprick rash--and it's only those mushrooms.

I'll still eat miso soup tho because most places don't use the shaiitake element in thier dashi--and well dashi hasn't bothered me, but I have been hit with the rash from some thai coconut soups and lettuce wraps.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

If you come for dinner, I will make the dashi with kombu and bonito. I'll leave the dried shiitake in the pantry.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

An FYI, Oregon has several wasabi farms. Frog Eye Farms on the coast is my favorite.

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Leith Devine

Leith is a trusted home cook.

added about 2 years ago

It's fermented soybeans. The glaze has miso paste, sake, mirin, and sugar. Mirin is a sweetish low alcohol rice wine.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 2 years ago

Actually, we learned a lot in this thread. Miso, while most often made with soy, can be made with many other things. I just bought my first garbanzo miso thanks to TrampledByGeese. It's amazing and will be the first miso that I make at home.