Miso Dip

I like Asian-inspired recipes.  After Latin and Italian cuisines, I think I excel at Asian recipes.  I don't claim to make authentic Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese or Korean style meals, but I can make a reasonable facsimile of them.  I guess I tend to do a mash-up of Vietnamese/Chinese/Japanese style cooking.  I usually always have on hand two kinds of soy sauce - low sodium and Kecap Vietnamese Sweet Soy; Rice Vinegar or Mirin; Sesame Oil; Hot Chili Sauce; Fish Sauce; A variety of mustard, ranging from Asian to French.  I like my condiments, what can I say?  They help keep my cooking interesting without adding a lot of fat calories.  So when I cooked an All-Asian inspired barbecue for Memorial Day, I realized I need a good appetizer that would be light, easy to make and work well for a hot day.  Perspiration is a good inspiration, on a hot day, who wants to heat or grill one more thing?  I needed a little starter that works well with either a stir fry or Asian barbecue and a batch of rice crackers.  I looked to the condiment cupboard threw together things I thought would work well, and voila, a miso dip that is rich (without being fattening) and has great Unami; it can be used as a filling in an Asian wrap, folded into Asian Chicken Salad, or used as a dip with simple rice crackers or Wheat Thins, the possibilities are endless.

Miso Dip Ingredients (Yes, you really ought to make a trip to the Asian Supermarket)

  • 1/4 Cup White Miso Paste
  • 1-8 ounce Package Low-Fat Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 Cup Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Paste (or more to taste)
  • 2 Teaspoons Spicy Brown Mustard or Chinese Mustard (or one take-out packet)
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Rice Crackers (such as Kame Wasabi Rice Crackers) and other assorted crackers for serving

Directions:

  1. Use a large mixing bowl and beat together the miso paste and the softened cream cheese until well-blended.  
  2. Stir in the soy sauce, chili paste, mustard, honey, lemon or lime juice, Chinese 5 Spice Powder and freshly ground pepper.  Blend to fully incorporated all the ingredients until the mixture is smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more hot sauce, honey, lemon/lime juice and or soy sauce to suit your taste.  
  3. Put the dip into a serving bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes to set and allow the flavors to blend together.  Serve cold, with Rice crackers or crackers of choice.  
  4. Dip will work well as a spread in a wrap, or stuffed into a chicken breast, on salmon or tilapia, or as a dressing for an Asian-style chicken salad.  
  5. Makes 2 cups.  Refrigerate, tightly covered.  Will keep for up to one week.

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