Nothing screams comfort food quite like a beloved pot of mashed potatoes. Creamy, fluffy, and a complementary side dish to just about any entree, mashed potatoes are an easy-to-make delicacy that vegans and meat-eaters alike can enjoy. As delicious as they are, however, it's easy to make a batch of boring, bland mashed potatoes. Potatoes have a naturally mild and neutral taste, so even when they're dressed with salt, butter, and gravy, mashed potatoes can still lack the blast of flavor they deserve. Enter miso paste.
Miso is a traditional Japanese paste made by fermenting soybeans with koji -- a type of culture -- and salt water. What makes miso so enticing is that it's a pure umami bomb that can add a thick, savory edge to your favorite dishes. Adding it to your mashed potato recipe guarantees a rich, meaty flavor without the use of any animal products. Miso pairs well with a wide range of other ingredients, which means it can enhance the flavors of the spices, seasonings, herbs, and dressings you typically add to your mashed potatoes.
Not only can miso paste bring a heavy-handed gust of flavor to your mashed potatoes, but it also provides some health benefits. According to Food Science & Nutrition, miso is a low-calorie food that has the potential to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer while improving gut health and digestion, making it an excellent addition to a nutritious diet (and a heaping pot of fluffy mashed potatoes).
How To Use Miso In Your Mashed Potato Recipes
If you've never worked with miso in your kitchen before, you may not know exactly how to use it in your mashed potatoes. Since miso is a thick paste, it's not as simple as just adding a dollop to your finished product. Don't worry, we've got you covered.
Add a small amount of miso paste to a few tablespoons of warm water or milk. Stir well until the miso paste is fully dissolved and forms a smooth mixture with no clumps and bumps. Emulsifying the miso helps distribute it evenly through the potatoes and prevents funky, unwanted textures. Once you've combined the miso paste with water or milk, slowly stir the mixture into your mashed potatoes. Start with a small amount and taste as you go to ensure that the miso flavor is to your liking. Keep in mind that miso can be quite salty, so be cautious when adding additional salt and seasonings that are high in sodium. If you accidentally add too much miso and end up with an overpowering batch of mashed potatoes, add a dash of acid via lemon, lime, or vinegar to balance out the flavor. Happy eating!
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