Let’s learn about classification (Miso).
When its culture spread among commoners, they began to make their own miso based on their own favorite manners.
As a result, various types appeared and gradually established their own styles in each region.
In this article, I’d like to introduce 4 methods to classify them.
That is to say, classification based on 1.Koji, 2. color, 3. taste, 4. regions.
Let’s understand the difference among them to taste them fully.
1. based on Koji
Koji is indispensable for its fabrication.
So firstly I’d like to introduce the classification depending on the type of Koji. Based on this method, we divide it into 3 types:
1) komé (rice)
2) mugi (wheat)
3) mamé (soy)
If I explain them more clearly,
1)komé type uses rice Koji,
2) mugi type uses wheat Koji
3) mamé type uses soy Koji.
That is to say, the main ingredient is always the same: soy.
Among them, the most popular is 1) komé (rice) which is made all over Japan.
On the other hand, 2) mugi (wheat), 3) mamé (soy) are made in relatively limited regions.
For example, the main producing region of 2) mugi (wheat) is in the western part of Japan such as Kyushu district.
That of 3) mamé (soy) is far more limited; mainly Tokai district. Incidentally, Nagoya is the center of the Tokai district. The most well known mamé (soy) is called Hatcho-Miso.
2. based on color
Probably this is the most distinguishable classification.
We divide Miso into two by color:
1) red (aka)
2) white (shiro)
It is fermentation time that creates this difference.
In other words, the more fermented, the more reddish.
3. based on taste
When it comes to eating, we can never forget its taste.
Based on taste, we generally divide Miso into two:
1) sweet (Ama)
2) piquant (Kara)
As you may know, ama comes from Amai (甘い) which means sweet, just like Ama-sake and Ama-natto.
The quantity of salt is an important element to decide the taste.
But here we cannot ignore the proportion of Koji. If the quantity of the salt is the same, it becomes sweeter with with more Koji.
4. based on region
As I mentioned repeatedly, different types are made in different regions. As a result, it consists of a great part of food culture in each region.
In this classification, we call each of them with the name of the region on the top.
– Shinshu-Miso (developed by Takeda Shingen),
– Sendai-Miso (developed by Date Masamune),
– Hatcho-Miso (developed by Tokugawa Ieyasu),
– Echigo-Miso (produced in Niigata prefecture)