Instameal: Ottugi miso ramyun

Name: Ottugi Miso ramyun
Cost: $0.80
Contents: Wad of noodles, 1 soup base sachet, 1 dried vegetables packet
Spiciness: 0/10
Taste: Noodles 7/10, Broth: 7/10
Would I buy it again? Yes

Advertised image/ (Minus the shiitake shroom)/Looks like end product

Easy-to-open/ Soup and vegetable sachets/ Make life easier

Red: danger colour/ Exudes sense of spiciness/ Not spicy at all

If I had to guess what flavour it was, I would have said mushroom or vegetarian. I find that many miso flavoured instant noodles are very salty, saltier than the other soup bases in the same range. But this wasn’t the case with Ottugi. It was very tasty, and I hope to find more miso-flavoured noodles like this.

Instameal: Nissin Miso ramen

Name: Nissin miso ramen
Contents: wad of noodles, 2 sachets: 1 soup base, 1 seasoning powder
Cost: $0.65
Spiciness: 0/10
Taste: noodles 7/10, broth 6/10
Would I buy it again? Yes.

Miso flavoured meal/ Many flavours of miso/ Start a miso range?

There’s a theme for these nissin ramens I’ve chosen, and that is ‘they are all Japanese flavours’. Shoyu, miso, teriyaki garlic and tonkotsu (haven’t posted that one yet, but I will soon). These caught my eye, but there are plenty of other flavours to try.

Usual Nissin set/ Ramen wad and two sachets/ No dried veggie mix

I am slightly perplexed at how there is a soup base AND seasoning powder. Usually they are the same thing, but the soup base powder is paler and presumably starts off the soup brothy flavour. Then the seasoning powder, which is quite sticky and orangey-brown, adds the miso flavour.

Full-bodied flavour/ Subtle earthy toned miso/ Not describing wine

Whichever kind of miso it seeks to emulate, it is tasty. It doesn’t taste like sweet white miso that is commonly used in the Melbourne miso ramen circles, my favour lies within darker spicier miso. White/yellow miso is very mild, and sweet. I suspect it’s used often in the Melbourne scene because it’s not overpowering and it’s agreeable with many other flavours. As a general rule, the darker the miso is, the spicier and stronger-tasting it will be. That’s not to say it’s difficult to complement it to other foods, as Eggplant Dengaku (eggplant grilled with miso) is excellent with any miso.

The Nissin Miso ramen is slightly sweet, but the predominant flavour is… smoky? Beefy? I enjoyed it. (The broth can be overly salty to some people, but miso ramen tends to be overly salty for me.) If you ever get bored of Maggi or Fantastic beef instant noodles, but still eat them because they’re famliar to you, I recommend this instant noodle. It reminds me of the fake beef flavouring, but has more dimension to it. It’ll probably be cheaper too, if you get it at your local asian grocer. I think you can find them in supermarkets now, for roughly the same price as a Maggi or Fantastic cup noodle.


For more about miso, read on:

Miso (fermented bean paste) is a traditional Japanese seasoning product made from fermenting soybeans with salt and the fungus Aspergillus oryzae. Miso can also be made with rice and barley, though there are misos which are made from a mixture of the three ingredients. Similar to other fermented products, miso has a high nutritional value. It’s high in protein, vitamins and minerals. There’s lots of protein in soybeans, but most of it is inaccessible. The fungus Aspergillus oryzae breaks the protein up and makes it more accessable to the human body. It’s also high in salt, so don’t eat it by the spoonful as a healthfood supplement. However, you can use it for its salt content as a flavouring for other foods.
Miso is a flexible ingredient, and depending on what you’re cooking, a different miso can be used. The flavour, texture and appearance of the miso vary by regions and season, but in addition to that, the fermentation period, method of fermentation, fermentation vessel and variety of Aspergillus oryzae can also change the flavour of miso. You can think of it much like a wine. Like wine, it also comes in two main varieties– white and red. White miso is comprised mostly of rice and barley, with very little soy bean. It’s been fermenting for a short time, so it’s sweet, mild and only a little bit of umami flavour. Red miso is comprised of mostly soybeans, which gives miso its darker colour through one of my favourite chemical reactions– the Maillard reaction. Red miso is fermented for longer, and has a saltier, and more umami flavour. So, depending on your tastes you can use different misos.

Popular miso dishes include:

  • Dengaku, which are grilled items glazed with sweetened miso. I am very fond of eggplant dengaku.
  • Miso-glazed grilled mochi (savoury and delicious!)
  • Miso fast-pickles (Love me some fast-pickles)
  • Miso braised vegetables or mushrooms (Add a dollop to your vegetable stew)
  • Miso soup (The quintessential Japanese food.)
  • Miso ramen

(Aside from being high in protein, vitamins and minerals, regular miso consumption is reportedly able to ‘decrease the size of azoxymethane induced colon carcinoma in F344 rats’. What does this mean in regular English? This study used a special sort of rat as a model for human colon cancer. They were split into groups and were fed different diets, some of them had different kinds of miso. The group that were fed the miso that had been fermenting for 180 days did best, and had the most reduction in their cancer size. So far, the misos with the shorter fermentation times have the most benefit for your body. If you think back about white and red misos, you’ll remember that white misos are the short fermentation misos.)

tl;dr? White miso is better than red at decreasing colon cancer size.

But getting back to Nissin Miso ramen, it is a miso flavoured instant noodle. There are no health benefits. Go buy some real miso.