Special Miso Sauce

Special Chilli-Miso Sauce

This recipe is one that Taste published some time ago and a friend pushed me to have a look at it. I was very sceptical – cooking miso is not something that I do often (heat destroys some of its health properties), and cooking lemon juice is rarer (cooking changes its flavour). But I do like to test recipes, especially if prompted or recommended by friends. So one Saturday afternoon when I was roasting some broccoli and needed a sauce for it, I set about making this special miso sauce. With only 5 ingredients – miso, rice vinegar, sugar, lemon juice and mirim – the result is precisely as you imagine. Dark. Rich. Bright. Chilli-hot. Sweet.

The recipe is originally from Hiroko Shimbo’s Hiroko’s American Kitchen. While it uses Japanese ingredients, it is not something traditionally Japanese – far far too bold and funky for the subtleness of Japanese cuisine.

The premise for this sauce is that

  • it is so very easy to make
  • it freezes, but not solid, so you can spoon it out into dishes whenever you want – keep it in the freezer in a solid container, not a ziplock bag (it will leak out)
  • it can be used in almost anything – stirred into sauteed potatoes and into soups and braises. Toss through fried rice. Stir into lentil stews and make miso soup with it. Toss roasted broccoli and cauliflower in it. Add a little to dressings, dips and spreads.

Pretty much the number of uses of this sauce is infinite, guided only by your imagination. Add a little to a dish for full-on flavours, or add just a little for a mysterious undertone.

Actually it is so dark and funky, I’ll use it as a vegetarian substitute in place of fish sauce in some recipes.

Today, we roasted slabs of broccoli and served with the sauce. Broccoli shines when paired with something punchy, formidable and umami-rich, so the combo works divinely.

Similar recipes include King Oyster Mushrooms with Special Miso Sauce, Roasted Eggplant with Special Miso Sauce, Miso Peanut Coconut Sauce, Miso Vegetables and Rice, and  Miso and Tofu Dipping Sauce.

Browse all of our Miso dishes and all of our Japanese recipes. Or explore our Late Autumn food.

Special Chilli-Miso Sauce

1 cup brown or red miso (Mugi, Akamiso or Genmai miso types are recommended)
0.5 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar (brown, palm or white sugar)
0.75 cups mirin
0.25 cups plus 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or sake
0.25 cups fresh lemon juice
5 – 6 dried red chillies, crushed, or to taste, or 2 – 3 tspn chilli flakes (use to your own heat levels according to the chillies used)

Place the miso, sugar, mirin, dried red chillies and sake in a saucepan and whisk until smooth. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low simmer. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes only.

Add the lemon juice and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 more minutes.

Turn off the heat. Let cool then transfer the sauce to a freezer-friendly container. Store in the freezer for at least a few months.

Special Chilli-Miso Sauce

Other Uses

Eggplant and Special Miso Sauce

Roasted Eggplant with Special Miso Sauce

King Oyster Mushrooms in Special Miso Sauce

King Oyster Mushrooms in Special Miso Sauce



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