Are you in the middle of cooking a delicious recipe that calls for brown miso paste, only to realize you don’t have any on hand?
Don’t worry, there are plenty of substitutes you can use to achieve that umami flavor. From soy sauce to fish sauce, salt to dry yeast, we’ve compiled a list of options for you to choose from.
Keep reading to find out which substitute will work best for your recipe and taste buds.
What Can I Substitute For Brown Miso Paste?
Brown miso paste is a staple ingredient in many Japanese dishes, but what can you do if you don’t have any on hand? Here are some substitutes you can use to achieve that same savory, umami flavor:
1. Soy sauce: Soy sauce is a great substitute for brown miso paste because it has a similar salty and savory flavor profile. However, keep in mind that soy sauce is much thinner in texture than miso paste. To substitute, use a ratio of 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce for 1 tablespoon miso paste.
2. Fish sauce: Another good substitute for brown miso paste is fish sauce. It has the same salty, umami flavor profile as miso paste, but it is also much thinner in texture. Use about 1/4 the amount of fish sauce for the called-for amount of miso paste in a recipe.
3. Salt: If your recipe only calls for a small amount of miso paste, you can easily replace it with salt. Sea salts, smoked sea salts, or other flavored salts are perfect for adding extra flavor to your dish. Simply add a pinch of your favorite salt and taste before adding more.
4. Dry yeast: To make the salty flavor more interesting, you can also add a bit of dry yeast to your dish. About 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon should be enough to add flavor without changing the texture too much.
Why Brown Miso Paste Is A Popular Ingredient
Brown miso paste is a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine because it adds a rich, savory umami flavor to dishes. It is made from fermented soybeans and has a deeper, more complex flavor than white miso paste. Brown miso paste is also aged longer than white miso, which gives it a darker color and a stronger flavor. It is often used in soups, marinades, dressings, and glazes for meat and fish dishes. Brown miso paste is also a key ingredient in traditional dishes like miso soup and ramen. Its versatility and unique flavor make it a favorite among chefs and home cooks alike. However, if you don’t have brown miso paste on hand, there are several substitutes you can use to achieve a similar flavor profile.
Soy Sauce As A Substitute For Brown Miso Paste
Soy sauce is a popular and easy-to-find substitute for brown miso paste. It has a similar salty and savory flavor profile, but it is much thinner in texture. This means that it may not work well as a substitute in recipes that rely on the thickness and creaminess of miso paste. However, it can be a good substitute in recipes where the main goal is to achieve the umami flavor of miso paste.
To substitute soy sauce for brown miso paste, use a ratio of 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce for 1 tablespoon miso paste. Keep in mind that soy sauce is also saltier than miso paste, so you may need to adjust the amount of salt in your recipe accordingly. If you are gluten-free or paleo, you can use tamari (gluten-free) or coconut aminos (gluten-free and soy-free) as substitutes for soy sauce.
Soy sauce is great for adding the umami flavor to sauces, stir-fries, marinades, and soups. However, it may not work well as a substitute in recipes that require the thickness and creaminess of miso paste. For example, using soy sauce instead of miso paste in a recipe for miso soup may result in a thinner and less creamy soup. If you are unsure whether soy sauce will work as a substitute in your recipe, start with half the amount of soy sauce and then add more as needed.
Fish Sauce As A Substitute For Brown Miso Paste
Fish sauce is another great substitute for brown miso paste, especially if you’re looking for a more complex and funky flavor. This condiment is made from fermented fish and is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in Thai dishes. Like miso paste, it adds a strong umami flavor to your dish.
However, it’s important to note that fish sauce is much thinner in texture than miso paste. This means that it may not work well as a substitute in recipes that rely on the thick consistency of miso paste for a certain texture. Additionally, fish sauce is much stronger in flavor than miso paste, so you’ll need to use it sparingly.
To substitute brown miso paste with fish sauce, use a ratio of 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce for every 1 tablespoon of miso paste. Start with a small amount and taste your dish before adding more, as a little goes a long way with this ingredient. It’s also worth noting that fish sauce is not suitable for vegetarians or vegans since it’s made from fermented fish.
Salt As A Substitute For Brown Miso Paste
If you only need a small amount of miso paste in your recipe, salt is the easiest and most accessible substitute. It works well when miso paste is not the main flavor component in a dish. Most recipes already call for salt, so simply add a little more than called for. Start with 1/4 teaspoon of additional salt and increase based on taste. However, keep in mind that salt cannot replicate the unique fermented, umami flavor of miso paste. Therefore, while it is still a good substitute, it should probably be the last resort substitute. Only use salt as a substitute for miso paste in recipes that use a small amount of miso and have many other ingredients. Adding salt only when needed will ensure that you don’t compromise the flavor or consistency of your dish. Similarly, make sure to go slowly! Going slow will help you avoid oversalting your recipe. Dishes where you can substitute salt for miso paste include soups, dressings, marinades, dipping sauces, and noodle dishes.
Dry Yeast As A Substitute For Brown Miso Paste
Dry yeast can be a surprising substitute for brown miso paste in some recipes. While it doesn’t have the exact same flavor profile as miso paste, it does have a similar savory and umami taste. Dry yeast is an inactive form of yeast that is often used as a cheese substitute in vegan dishes. It also adds a nutty and cheesy flavor to salads, soups, and other dairy-free dishes.
To use dry yeast as a substitute for brown miso paste, start by adding a small amount, about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, to your recipe. You can adjust the amount based on your taste preferences. Keep in mind that dry yeast will not have the same texture as miso paste, so it may not be suitable for all recipes.
When using dry yeast as a substitute, it’s important to note that it won’t provide the same health benefits as miso paste. Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans and is rich in probiotics and other nutrients. Dry yeast, on the other hand, is not a significant source of nutrients.
How To Choose The Best Substitute For Your Recipe
Choosing the best substitute for your recipe depends on a few factors. Firstly, consider the texture of miso paste in the recipe. If the recipe calls for miso paste for its creamy consistency, then soy sauce or fish sauce might not be the best substitutes as they are much thinner in texture. In this case, you might want to consider using tahini or chickpea paste as they have a similar creamy texture to miso paste.
Secondly, consider the flavor profile of the substitute ingredient. Soy sauce and fish sauce have a similar salty and savory flavor profile to miso paste, but tamari sauce or vegetable stock might be better substitutes if you want a milder flavor. If you want to add an earthy flavor to your dish, mushrooms or tomatoes could be great substitutes.
Lastly, consider any dietary restrictions or preferences. If you are looking for a gluten-free substitute, tamari sauce or vegetable stock would be better options than soy sauce. If you are vegan or vegetarian, anchovy paste might not be an option for you, but adzuki bean paste or soybean paste could work well.