How shikomi makes the difference in making miso soup
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How shikomi makes all the difference in making instant miso soup

Ai Fujimoto mashes the soybeans at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Soybeans cook at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles, as part of the process of making miso.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Cooked soybeans are ready to be mashed and made into a paste for miso at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles, 

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Ai Fujimoto gets ready to mash soybeans for miso at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Ai Fujimoto shows a mixture of barley, koji, and salt that will be mixed with the mashed soybeans to make miso at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Ai Fujimoto mixes the mashed soybeans with the mixture of barley, koji, and salt to make miso at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Ai Fujimoto while making miso at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Ai Fujimoto forms balls of the mixture of mashed soybeans, barley, koji, and salt at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Balls of mashed soybeans, barley, koji, and salt at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Omiso instant miso soup balls at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Ai Fujimoto shows a container that has been fermenting since March 14 at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Ai Fujimoto shows a container of miso that has been fermenting since March 14 at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Packaged miso, with ingredients, at Crafted Kitchen, a commercial kitchen in Los Angeles.

 (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
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