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A Japanese paste made from fermented soy beans. It can be used in soups and stews, and lathered onto vegetables (such as aubergines) before they are grilled. Miso comes in a variety of colours, the lighter varieties tend to be less salty and sweeter than the darker versions.
Once prepared, the mixture is allowed to ferment for between six months and a year, and as a result, is live food.
When being served, it should never be allowed to boil vigorously.