Alright, I’ll admit it! I love miso! That gorgeous Japanese umami fermented paste made of soybeans and rice that, after one taste, makes you think, “Who the heck came up with that?” It is the ingredient that brings complexity and interest to an otherwise simple recipe and dish.

There are several types of miso, and they range in color, flavor and intensity. The white miso is light and sweet and fermented the least. Yellow miso is the most commonly used miso for its versatile applications. And red miso brings up the rear with the most rich, salty and pungent flavor, mostly used for heartier dishes. Any or all of these types of miso should be staples in your arsenal of refrigerated ingredients.

I use miso whenever I can to add a little intrigue to some everyday dishes—soups, stews, sauces and vegetables. And of course, certain proteins love the bump to their savory nature. The most notable sources of such proteins are fish—cod, sea bass and salmon. Their natural oils combined with the marinade and cooking technique produce an experience that can only be called sublime. Here is a recipe that inspired a million mouths, chef Nobu Masuhisa’s famous recipe for miso black cod:


3 tablespoons mirin

3 tablespoons sake

1/2 cup white miso paste

1/3 cup sugar

Six 6-ounce to 7-ounce skinless black cod fillets, approximately 1 and 1/2 inches thick

Vegetable oil, for grilling

In a small saucepan, bring the mirin and sake to a boil. Whisk in the miso until dissolved. Add the sugar and cook over moderate heat, whisking just until dissolved. Transfer the marinade to a large baking dish and let cool. Add the fish and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least overnight or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a grill pan and oil it. Scrape the marinade off the fish. Add the fish and cook over high heat until browned, approximately 2 minutes. Flip the fish onto a heavy rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, until flaky. Transfer to plates.

I am sure you noticed the chef’s use of the white miso for delicate fish, but below is my recipe for hangar or skirt steak using red miso. Minus the marinate time, it is a quick, easy and delicious weeknight recipe.


1/2 cup mirin

2 scallions, minced

2 tablespoons fresh ginger minced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon red miso

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoons Sriracha or hot sauce

1 1 and 3/4-pound to 2-pound hanger steak, trimmed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 scallion thinly sliced

Open a resealable plastic bag and prop in a bowl. Add first 8 ingredients to the bag, seal and mix well by massaging the closed bag. Once combined, open, add steak in one layer (flat), reseal removing as much air as possible and massage again until coated. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.

Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to allow steak to come to room temperature. Position a rack at least 6 inches from the broiler and preheat for 10 minutes.

Remove steak from bag while removing excess marinade from steak and lay flat onto a foil-lined sheet pan or ovenproof dish. Season both sides of the steak lightly with salt and decently with black pepper. Broil for 4 minutes and flip for another 4 minutes for medium rare. SCHOP! TIP: Set a timer and pay attention! This is quick cooking!

Remove from oven and transfer the steaks to a cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice to desired thickness and serve topped with any pan juices and sliced scallions. Sticky rice and sauteed sugar snap peas on the assist!

Have you got #misomania yet?

Happy eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl or on Facebook For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at