Category Archives: Culturing Recipes

Recipes for using cultured and fermented foods. Check each week for new ideas on using your cultured foods and stock.

To Error is Human…

Making cultured foods and beverages are not hard if one follows some basic rules, common sense, and of course safety factors. Our ancestors have been doing this all around the world for a 1000 years or more. Wild fermentation can produce some great ferments, however, the results can very from batch to batch depending on the types of wild yeast and bacteria
within the food stock.
fermented chili peppersHaving a traditional starter culture ensures the same results each time. An example is making beer with wild yeast vs. using a brewers yeast. The outcome could be close in taste and flavor to each other or very different, with the wild yeast sometimes making the beer unpalatable. Having a tried and true recipe helps to make sure the results are the same every time, too. Checking acidic levels and having the correct microorganisms, like lactobacillales, ensure cultured food safety.
Especially in wild fermentation.

Now For the Errors…

Being busy here in the lab sometimes it is easy to forget a step in a recipe or process (Why to double check and taste things). A resent example that I have done was when making a batch of ginger beer/brew. I have made this recipe so many times I don’t even refer to it anymore. Well being in a rush one day had all the steps completed…water heated, sugar dissolved, lemon added for a small batch of brew. Waiting for temperature to decrease to room temperature and then on to bottling. Batch was then bottled
and set out for 3 days for the ginger culture to
produce a fizzy beverage.

ginger beer starter
Old time ginger brew beer in clay bottle

After the waiting period is was time to try it out. A nice chilled ginger brew on a long hot day…yeah! The bottle is opened and to my surprise, no fizz. Then tasting it I knew what had went wrong…no ginger starter culture was added before bottling. No flavor and no fizz, just lemon sugar water. At that point nothing to do but uncap them all, dump it, and start over.

The lesson here is to taste and follow a recipe to get the results one wants. Don’t try to get to crazy with flavors and adding to many things at a time. A great example is people adding to much fruit or juice when bottling kombucha tea or water kefir and then wondering why the bottles explode all over. Another example is trying to make a crazy kimchi blend and it turning out ‘wrong’ or not having a good flavor. Hard to tell what went wrong with to many factors vs adding one or two things to the mix and waiting for the outcome. I hope this short post will help everyone to become a better fermenter and produce
great tasting fermented and cultured foods.
There are many tried and true recipes on our sister site here.
Happy Culturing!

Cultured Cheese Stromboli – Meatless Mondays #12

What is Stromboli?

Homemade stromboli

  Stromboli, on the other hand, is more of a sandwich than a turnover, although you might mistake it easily as calzone because of their similarities in appearance. The dish, however, does not contain the sheep’s milk cheese, ricotta. Although it can be considered as an Italian dish, it was made up somewhere in the United States, although the location is not quite known, some say in Philadelphia, some say in Washington state.

The Stromboli is rolled with a stuffing of choice before cooking. You can add many different ingredients to create some great flavor profiles. Try fresh herbs, sun dried tomatoes, or wild leeks &mushrooms! Other cheeses like a mix of ricotta, aged Parmesan, and mozzarella. Stromboli is great for a lunch or as a main for dinner. Below is what you need for two different styles.

What is Needed…

Style I – Cheese and Vegetable Stromboli
• 10 ounces pizza dough
• 1⁄3 cup cultured cheese or fresh mozzarella cheese
• ½ cup sliced artichoke heart
• 3 chopped roasted red peppers
• 1⁄3 cup chopped black olives
• Herbs of choice like fresh basil, thyme, and parsley
• Salt and pepper to taste

Alternatively…

Style II – Cheese, Spinach, and Garlic Stromboli
• 10 ounces pizza dough
• 1⁄3 cup cultured cheese or fresh mozzarella
• 1 or 2 fresh garlic cloves or fermented garlic honey cloves
     Note: If fresh garlic is too strong of flavor fry in a little olive oil before stuffing
• ½ cup chopped fresh spinach, well drained
• Salt and white pepper to taste

Directions…

Have the cultured cheese ready to go a few days in advance. The cheese needs to be a ‘hard’ cheese with little moisture, so that it stays within the crust.
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush with olive oil.

stromboli ready to roll

3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
4. Spread the cheese, leaving a 1-inch border.
5. Add the other veggies.
6. Roll like a jellyroll and crimp the edges.
7. Score the tops almost through and brush the top with egg white wash or olive oil for a golden top, if desired
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted through.

stromboli
Serve hot with a side of marinara sauce, if desired. Being versatile, stuff Stromboli with many different ingredients for a change from old style pizzas. For the holidays, make smaller sized Stromboli for ‘finger food’ at gatherings.

Feedback: This recipe, though simple, is delicious. Being vegan I substituted home made soy cheese for the mozzarella, and I made my own pizza dough. I also added some fresh basil leaves. Yum. This would be great made in miniature versions as finger foods for a holiday get-together.

Trinity Rice with Spiced Chapatis & Cultured Yogurt – Meatless Mondays #09

Trinity Rice with Spiced Chapatis

Here are two easy to make dishes from India, which works with Ayurvedic medicine system.  Chapatis are Indian flat breads that do not require resting or yeast.  In the Ayurvedic system, onions, garlic, and ginger are the ‘trinity of roots’.
The rice and flat breads make a nice simple meal.
Serve with fresh cultured yogurt on the side.

Trinity Rice

India trinity rice

What is needed…
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
1 inch ginger root, peeled and grated
1 cup basmati rice or a short grain white rice
½ to ¾ cup ghee (known in the West as clarified butter, buy or make your own)
1 tomato, peeled
4 to 5 cups assorted vegetables

Directions…

Rinse the rice thoroughly.  Sauté any spices desired and then add the trinity roots of onion and ginger until onions are cooked through.  Then add garlic and cook another minute.
Add tomato, assorted vegetables, and rice along with 4 cups of water.
Cover and let simmer on low heat, checking frequently. Add more water if necessary.
Cook until vegetables are soft and rice is done.

Yields 4 servings. Serve with spiced chapatis, recipe below.

Spiced Chapatis

Chapati flat breads

What is needed…
2 cups whole-wheat flour
Ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom seeds, pods removed
1 tsp fennel seeds

Directions…

Place flour in a bowl.  Mix in spices. Stir in enough water to make a soft dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl.  Add more flour if needed.  Remove dough from bowl and knead on a floured surface until it becomes smooth, soft and springy.  The dough should not be sticky at all.

Heat an iron skillet over a medium-high heat.  Form dough into ping pong size balls.  Flatten balls into squat patties.
Flour patties on both sides and roll out on flour covered board into 6-inch diameter circle and 1/8 inch thickness.

Place in hot skillet.  Cook on the first side until lightly crusted, but not browned.  Flip over and cook second side the same way.  Next, place the chapati directly over a gas flame, flipping it once or twice so that it puffs up, or flip it over in the skillet and lightly press to make it puff up.  Then flip and puff the other side.

chapati puffed

Note: When properly done, there should be only a small amount of browning on either side.  If the chapati browns too rapidly, the heat is to high.
As each chapati is done and still hot, spread ghee (or melted butter) on top of each one and stack.

Yields 8-12 chapatis

Enjoy this great light and easy meatless dish for lunch or dinner…enjoy!

Tsukemono Pickled Garlic – Three Great Recipes for Japanese Garlic

Pickled Garlic – Three Great Recipes for Japanese Garlic Tsukemono

In our quest to provide you with culturing recipes to use with your ferments, we have three great uses for garlic in the Tsukemono Japanese style. All the recipes are easy to make and provides the healing properties of garlic. Try a small batch of each to see which ones you like best! Recipes from the book: Tsukemono – Japanese Pickling Recipes by Ikuko Hisamatsu

Garlic in Miso – Ninniku Miso-zuke

This reminds me of the ‘stamina’ soups we would get at little Japanese shops in Tokyo and Atsugi (厚木市, Atsugi-shi is a city located in central Kanagawa Prefecture)
Known to be the ‘stamina builder’, which is used as an appetizer, condiment, or pickle. Just a little goes a long way. The strong garlic smell will reduce in time of about a month or more. The miso will preserve the garlic for long-term storage.

garlic in miso

What is Needed:
– 9 oz of fresh garlic
– 9 oz of aged miso (We suggest using a dark miso, however, any miso will work)  Make sure to use an unpasteurized miso.
– 3 to 4 tbsp mirin (or a sweetener if you cannot find mirin)

Directions:
1. Start by separating the cloves of garlic, trim off the roots and outer skin. Make sure to remove the thin membrane under the outer skin.
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the garlic. Briefly blanch  the cloves, remove from pot, and drain.
3. Pat the garlic dry, being careful not the break or damage the cloves.
4. Combine the miso paste and mirin.
5. Place a layer of miso in the bottom of the packing jar. Add cloves and cover with more miso. Keep adding layers of miso and garlic. Top off the packing jar with a layer of miso. Make sure no garlic is exposed.  You can also add a layer of salt at this time, which will help keep mold from forming.
6. Seal the packing jar or container and allow to sit in a cool place for a month or more. Store the container in the refrigerator during the summer months or in hotter locations.

garlic miso eggplant
Japanese eggplant with garlic miso paste

Once ready for use, the cloves can be either eaten by themselves or added to other dishes.  Use a light miso for a sweeter batch and a dark or brown miso for stronger taste.  Try making a little of both and see which is liked best.  Makes a great garnish for barbecued meat dishes.  Also, nice to thinly slice and add to stir-fries or to season plane rice. Enjoy

Garlic Honey – Ninniku Hachimitsu-zuke

This is a great cultured ferment for the winter season!  Easy to make and loaded with cold and flu fighting properties.  We recommend using RAW honey for the best taste and beneficial remedies.  The honey is ready in as little as 2 to 3 days. Wait around a month or more to eat the garlic cloves.  The garlic will start to break down if left to sit to long, best to make smaller batches to use within a month or two.
The honey gives a nice sweet garlic flavor for many dishes.  Or if your a garlic fan you can eat the cloves, like candy.
The garlic infused honey, when thinned down with water, makes a great hot or cold drink to enjoy or as a cold remedy!  One can find many benefits to using this recipe for health and well being.

garlic in raw honey
Garlic steeped in raw honey

What is Needed:
– 10 oz (300g) Fresh garlic
– 7 to 9 oz (200-250g) Raw Honey

Directions:
1. Start by separating the cloves of garlic, trim off the roots and outer skin. Make sure to remove the thin membrane under the outer skin.
2. Wash and pat the garlic dry, being careful not the break or damage the cloves.
3. Prepare a small packing jar by boiling in water to sterilize also called a water bath.
4. Pack the garlic cloves into the sterilized container. Pour over the honey. Allow the honey to set for a minute and top off, making sure to cover all the cloves.
5. Cover with lid and allow to sit in a cool dark place.  Fermentation times very, after a couple of days one should see bubbles forming in the honey mixture.  After a week, place in cold storage for better long term preservation. Enjoy!

Garlic in Soy Sauce – Ninniku Shoyu-zuke

This recipe works well to rid the garlic of the strong odor.  This recipe comes from Korea, but incorporates well into many dishes. Fresh garlic is the best.  Use a local source if possible(Support your local farmer).   Select well-proportioned bulbs as they are served in halves.  Takes about two months before ready for use or when the odor diminishes.

garlic in soysauce
Garlic steeped in Shuyo

What is Needed:
– 10 whole garlic bulbs
– 2 cups rice vinegar
– 1 ¼ c shoyu or favorite soy sauce
– 2 tbsp sugar or mirin to taste

Directions:
1. Choose round uniform bulbs that will form pretty plum blossoms when cut horizontally in half.
2. Peel the outer skin leaving only a single layer of skin to hold the garlic bulbs together. Trim away the stem for better packing.
3. Prepare a small packing jar by boiling in water to sterilize also called a water bath.
4. Pack the jar or container with the garlic bulbs. Add the rice vinegar and allow to stand, covered, in a dark space for two weeks.
5. After the two-week period, pour off 2/3rds of the vinegar (keep for other uses such as salad dressing).

garlic in shuyo
Both the rice vinegar soaking and shoyu steeping

6. Mix the soy sauce and sugar until sugar dissolves. Warming the soy sauce will help combine the sugar.
7. Pour the mixture into the garlic/vinegar mixture and cover with lid.  Date and label jar to know when the ferment is ready.
8. Just before serving, cut horizontally in half. Enjoy!

Enjoy these new uses for garlic throughout the winter time for stronger
immunity and health.
Happy Culturing…Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods!

Making Japanese Shinshu Miso and Shiro Miso

  All Japanese Misos have the same basic recipe format; main difference is the quantities of the ingredients and incubation times. A dark or heavy miso will have less koji rice and more salt verses a sweet or mellow miso.  Once the koji-kin/koji rice is completed, you can use it to make this Shiro miso.  The fermentation time is quicker for this miso, 3 to 4 weeks, over a heavier miso, which can take 6 months to 3 years.  The following instructions make two very classic types, one fast and one aged for 6 months:

Japanese Miso Production
Traditional Japanese Miso Production.  Stones are used to hold down the koji/soybean mixture in wooden vats..

Making Shiro Miso

shiro miso

So let us get started! What you will need…

1-cup dry soybeans
3 ½ -cups light rice koji
2 ½ -tbsp sea salt
1-cup soybean cooking water
1 -tbsp un-pasteurized seed miso (optional or buy locally)
Note: The seed miso aids in the faster culturing of the fresh koji rice

Any type of un-pasteurized miso paste will work. It contributes active beneficial cultures, which in turn assist in the maturing/aging process. If you make a good batch of miso, make sure to save some of the paste for the inculcation of new batches.

Yield: 4 ½ cups
Fermentation Time: 3 to 4 weeks
Aging Temperature: 77F (25C)

Shiro Miso Directions:

Cooking the Soybeans…
Start by soaking the soybeans overnight or for 8 to 12 hours in 4 cups of water.
After soaking, drain the soybeans and bring to boil in fresh water. Boil until the soybeans can easily crush between your fingers. Add additional water as needed. Time for cooking is around 4 to 5 hours, or 30 minutes in a pressure cooker at 15 pounds.

Mixing the Miso and Ingredients…

Drain the soybeans, reserving enough cooking liquid. Transfer the soybeans to a mixing bowl and mash thoroughly. Add the reserved cooking liquid and salt over the beans, mix. Allow the soybeans to cool below 140F (60C), before adding the koji rice and seed miso. If the soybeans are too hot, the heat could kill the
koji-rice mold culture. Mix again.

Packing the Miso Crock or Jar…

Now that the ingredients are mixed, it is time to pack the miso mixture into your jars. This recipe will pack a 1½-quart jar. Sterilizing the crock or jar is recommended to help prevent contamination. Sterilize a dry crock or jar by heating it upside down, in the oven at 300 F for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before moving. You can use a beer sterilizer, too.
Pack the mixture into straight-sided jar or fermenting crock. Expel any air bubbles trapped in the mixture (a chopstick works well for this). Flatten the surface and sprinkle enough salt to cover the miso mixture making sure to cover the edges. Cover this with clean plastic wrap, placing it directly on the salted mixture and up the sides. Place a weighted lid or bag over the plastic wrap. Make sure the weights are pushing down on the mixture. Lastly, cover the top with a breathable cloth or paper to keep out dust and contamination. You can vary the recipe a bit if desired,
until it is to your liking.

Letting the Miso Culture…

This part of the process involves allowing the packed koji rice miso to ago. For Shiro miso, the period is 3 to 4 weeks. Once minimum ago is reached, take a sample to taste. However, try to save some to allow further aging to compare taste. Smooth the surface once again adding a bit of salt to cover.
Make sure to label each batch with information such as type, date packed, recipe used, date completed, etc. Keeping good records will allow the next batch to taste the same as previous batches or you can try new variations to your liking.

types of Japanese miso
Different Types of Japanese Miso

Shinshu Miso – Light Yellow Miso

Here is another classic miso recipe using koji rice and soybeans. You may experiment using other types of grains like wheat, barley or other substitutes for the soybeans. Unlike the quick fermentation of Shiro miso (3 to 4 weeks), Shinshu miso takes 6 months to a year time frame. Miso has a great earthy flavor and umami taste sensation!

So let us get started! What you will need…

2-cup dry soybeans
2 ½ -cups light rice koji
½ -cup sea salt
1-cup soybean cooking water
1 -tbsp un-pasteurized seed miso (optional or buy locally)
Note: The seed miso aids in the faster culturing of the fresh koji rice

Any type of un-pasteurized miso paste will work. It contributes active beneficial cultures, which in turn assist in the maturing/aging process. If you make a good batch of miso, make sure to save some of the paste for the inculcation of new batches.

Yield: 6 ½ cups
Fermentation Time: 6 to 12 months
Aging Temperature: 77F (25C)

Shinshu Miso Directions:

Cooking the Soybeans…
Start by soaking the soybeans overnight or for 8 to 12 hours in 4 cups of water.
After soaking, drain the soybeans and bring to boil in fresh water. Boil until the soybeans can easily crush between your fingers. Add additional water as needed. Time for cooking is around 4 to 5 hours, or 30 minutes in a pressure cooker at 15 pounds.

Mixing the Miso and Ingredients…
Drain the soybeans, reserving enough cooking liquid. Transfer the soybeans to a mixing bowl and mash thoroughly. Add the reserved cooking liquid and salt over the beans, mix. Allow the soybeans to cool below 140F (60C), before adding the koji rice and seed miso. If the soybeans are too hot, the heat could kill the
koji-rice mold culture. Mix again.

Packing the Miso Crock or Jar…
Now that the ingredients are mixed, it is time to pack the miso mixture into your jars. This recipe will pack a 1½-quart jar. Sterilizing the crock or jar is recommended to help prevent contamination. Sterilize a dry crock or jar by heating it upside down, in the oven at 300 F for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before moving. You can use a beer sterilizer, too.
Pack the mixture into straight-sided jar or fermenting crock. Expel any air bubbles trapped in the mixture (a chopstick works well for this). Flatten the surface and sprinkle enough salt to cover the miso mixture making sure to cover the edges. Cover this with clean plastic wrap, placing it directly on the salted mixture and up the sides. Place a weighted lid or bag over the plastic wrap. Make sure the weights are pushing down on the mixture. Lastly, cover the top with a breathable cloth or paper to keep out dust and contamination. You can vary the recipe a bit if desired,
until it is to your liking.

Letting the Miso Culture…
This part of the process involves allowing the packed koji rice miso to ago. For Shinshu miso, the period is 6 to 12 months. Once minimum incubation time occurs, take a sample to taste. However, try to save some to allow further aging to compare taste. Smooth the surface once again adding a bit of salt to cover.
Make sure to label each batch with information such as type, date packed, recipe used, date completed, etc. Keeping good records will allow the next batch to taste the same as previous
batches or you can try new variations.

White miso soup
White miso soup with scallions

Now that you miso is finished aging, your ready to use it in many recipes.  We have several miso recipes at our main site and are always adding new recipes.
Making miso is a great way to add living cultures into your lifestyle…Happy Culturing!

If you need pre-made koji-rice or koji spores please visit our store for fresh spores and other miso making items.

Raw Fermented Traditional Gazpacho

Raw Fermented Traditional Gazpacho

Fermented Gazpacho
Fermented Gazpacho Garnished with Rosemary

For us here in the land of culture, we always look for ways to enhance dishes by adding a healthy dash of pro-biotics and natural umami flavors (a savory taste)
One taste of this chilled gazpacho instantly transports you to a land of whitewashed walls, red-tiled roofs, and the golden sun…of Spain. Try this twist on a traditional recipe that is great for a cool thirst-quenching summer drink!

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients Needed:

• 10 oz of old or dried white or wheat bread
• 2 lbs of fresh tomatoes, chopped, save some for a garnish
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 2 white onions diced
• 2 red or green peppers, chopped
• 1 cucumber (optional)
• 7 tablespoons of oil
• 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
• 1 1/2 tablespoon of very cold water
• Salt to taste
• Cumin (optional)
• Small amount of raw miso paste for a stronger taste (optional)

To make this traditional recipe fermented, premix the tomatoes, onions, and a few tablespoons of liquid from a culture of either a ginger brew/bug or a water kefir starter. Ferment for a day or two until fermentation starts. For extra pro-biotics, soak the bread over night in some water to make a Kvass type ferment (Find recipes online). When you are ready to make the gazpacho, squeeze the moisture out of the bread.
1. In a mortar, grind the cumin, garlic, miso paste, and the soaked bread.  Tip: If using the miso paste the amount of salt is reduced.
2. In another bowl, mix the chopped onions, the chopped tomato, olive oil, vinegar, salt and the contents of the mortar.
3. Place in a blender or mash it with the mortar and add very cold water to mix well.
Tip: Some like it thicker like a soup or add more cold water for a more drinkable fermented beverage.
4. Add more salt (if needed) and strain it. Keep it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Serve with the tomato, the cucumber, the pepper and toasted bread cut to dices.
We hope that you will enjoy this great summer time beverage…raw, pro-biotic, and refreshing! Happy Culturing!

Japanese Koji-Kin Rice Recipes

Now that you have made a fresh batch or purchased your koji rice, the next step is what to do with it. Many people use koji-kin to make saké, amasaké, or miso. However, what other ways are there to turn koji rice into something extraordinary? Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Basic Amazaké Ferment

Used in Japan as a sweetener, beverage, or a simple alcolholic drink.  Amazake is one of the best known cultured and fermented items from Japan.   There are several recipes for amazake that have been used for hundreds of years. By a popular recipe, kōji is added to cooled whole grain rice causing enzymes to break down the carbohydrates into simpler unrefined sugars.  As the mixture incubates, sweetness develops naturally.
By another popular recipe, sake kasu is simply mixed with water, but usually sugar is added.
In this recipe, amazake becomes low-alcohol beverage if given time.

Amazake can be used as a dessert, snack, natural sweetening agent, baby food, added insalad dressing or smoothies. The traditional drink (prepared by combining amazake and water, heated to a simmer, and often topped with a pinch of finely grated ginger) was popular with street vendors, and it is still served at inns, teahouses, and at festivals.  Many Shinto shrines in Japan provide or sell it during the New Year!

amazake drink
Ready to Drink Amazake

What is needed…

3- cups cooked brown rice

1- cup light koji rice

Yield: 4 cups of fermented rice to use as a sweetener or 3 quarts Amazaké drink

Incubation Temperature: 120-140 F (50-60C)

Start by cooking the brown rice and allowing it to cool to at least 140 F (60C).  Once cooled, stir in the koji rice and mix well.  Place mixture into a glass or stainless steel container that will allow an inch of “headroom” to allow for expansion during the fermentation process.  Cover container and incubate, stirring every couple of hours to prevent heat build up.  The finished product can take as little as 6 hours with quality, fresh (not dried) koji-kin at optimum temperatures, after 6 hours start tasting the ferment to see if the cycle is complete.

When finished the ferment should thicken like porridge with a mild sweet taste.  The sweetness will increase up to a point after which it will change and start to become sour.  Once the taste is to your liking, place into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 to 5 min., stirring frequently.  Boiling will stop the fermentation process keeping the amazaké sweet.  For a smother amazaké consistency purée the mixture in a blender until smooth.  Refrigerate any ferment not used right away.  If not, the amazaké will become very sour.

Amazaké Sweetener: Use ¼-cup ferment for each tbsp of sweetener called for in your favorite recipes and reducing the cooking liquid by 3 Tbsp.  Baked goods will be rich and moist with a more subtle sweetness.

Amazaké Drink: For HOT amazaké, heat one part ferment and two parts very hot water.  Add a dash of shoyu and a grating of fresh ginger root.  Serve blended mix in heated mugs.  For a cold drink, blend 1 part amazaké ferment and 2 part fruit, fruit juices, soymilk water and/or flavoring of your choice.

Doburoku: For simple “grog”, leave the amazaké ferment in the incubator for several days, stirring and tasting occasionally, until it develops a heady, alcoholic aroma.  Blend as above, traditionally served in Japan as a thick and creamy drink or dilute to taste.


Mellow Pickled Cabbage

In Japan, pickled vegetables come with many meals, as a condiment or side dish.  In Japan it is called ‘Kyabetsu no asazuke’.  Unlike normal pickles this recipe is a fermented pickled delight.  Like German style sauerkraut, pickled veggies are uncomplicated to make into a fermented snack or condiment!
Japanese pickled cabbage
What is needed…

1 – pound organic cabbage of your choice or a mix of green and reds. Use American style or napa/Chinese styles
2 – Tbsp non-iodized salt (Kosher or sea salt)
¼-cup koji rice
¼-cup warm water
½ tsp honey or other sweetener
A japanese tsukemono pickle press

Start by removing the center core and shred the cabbage coarsely.  Mix well with the salt and pack into a glass bowl.  Put a small enough plate to fit inside the bowl and weight it down with water filled glass jar or non-metal container. Refrigerate for 3 days.

After 3 days, draw off the liquid from the cabbage but do not rinse. 
TIP:
Save the liquid brine for other uses. Dissolve the honey/sweetener in the warm water and add the koji rice.  Set aside until the koji has dissolved the liquid and softened.

Next, mix the soaked koji and cabbage, mixing well.  Pack contents into a straight-sided container,  Add a plate and weight to keep everything under the liquid. Submerging the cabbage keeps the mixture from contamination with unwanted bacteria. Allow 4 to 5 days for the flavor to develop then refrigerate.  Use within a week or two.

For those who do not wish to mess with jar and weights, a Japanese pickle fermenter is a great investment. EBay and specialty shops have the Japanese tsukemono pickle press. See photos for recommended styles.
japanese pickle press
pickle press japan pickle press fermenter

 


Koji Rice Pickled Vegetables Condiment

  Here is another great recipe for using your new tsukemono press (if you have one).
It is a mix of seaweed and root vegetables with a lot of umami flavor.

What is needed…

½ oz dry kombu, wakamé, or sea palm. Should yield about ½ cup after soaking
1 to 1 ½ cups daikon, baby burdock root, or carrot. We enjoy a combination of all three.
Try using any type of herbal roots, too.
¼ cup naturally fermented soy sauce, shoyu, or tamari
¼ cup mild vinegar, plain or flavored
¼ cup mirin or saké. Mirin imparts a sweet component to the mix and saké a dry alternative, extremely recommended!

Start by soaking the Kombu and/or other sea vegetable for 10 to 20 min. in just enough water to cover, soak until softened.  Reserve ¼ cup of the soaking water and cut the sea vegetables into slivers or short ribbons.  Next, scrub the root vegetables to remove any soil and cut them into thin slivers.  Place the root vegetables, sea vegetables, and reserved soaking liquid into a saucepan and bring to a low boil.  Add soy sauce and vinegar and return to a low boil. Cover and remove from heat.

When the mixture has cooled to 110F (45C) (warm, but not too hot to touch) transfer to a glass bowl or jar and stir in the koji-kin, mirin, and saké. Let the mixture mature for 4 hours at a cool to moderate room temperature, stirring occasionally from time to time.

The pickled vegetables are ready to consume now or refrigerate the unused portion, which will continue to mellow and enhance the flavors even more over time. Enjoy a bowl with your favorite grains!

To purchase koji spores or fresh made koji-kin please visit our webstore: 
Buy Japanese Koji Spores

As Always…Happy Culturing

 

Buttermilk Curry & Kefir Smoothies

 

  One of our goals is helping the world maintain a healthy lifestyle full of great traditional cultured foods. Without cultured foods throughout the centuries, humankind would be in a much different state of health and well-being. Without the assistance of beneficial bacteria and yeast, proper food digestion degrades and human pathogens will attack weaker systems.

  Just imagine a world without cheese, cultured beverages such as beer and wine, or preserved food stocks. In some cultures, such as Japan, fermented foods are a large part of everyday life. They have foods and condiments ranging from sake, natto, amasaké, and miso just to name a few. Japan has one of the largest tradition food cultures there is today.

Here are some more recipes to keep you going:

milk kefir smoothie
Kefir goes well with many types of fruits.


~ Classic Kefir Smoothie ~

One of the most widely known ways of consuming dairy kefir and very simple to make!

  • Start with a cup of cultured kefir milk or other yoghurt culture starter.
  • Add to blender along with a peeled banana.
  • Add other fruits of you choice. Try mixed berries or other sweet fruits, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, or even avocados and spinach!
  • Finish the smoothie, to taste, with a bit of raw honey for sweetness and some fresh lemon juice for acid.

This drink recipe is great for the morning rush allowing one to get nutrition and pro-biotics in one shoot. Enjoy!

 

~ Buttermilk Curry ~

Buttermilk Curry Served
Buttermilk curry is great with rice or flat breads

  This is a great little recipe for using buttermilk or any other yoghurt/yogurt style dairy culture. This creamy curry provides a nice spicy condiment that will add a kick to your meal. Traditionally in India, one would have buttermilk curry with rice or chapati (Indian flat bread). Great for balancing all Ayurvedic Doshas. Substitute ingredients or visit an Indian food shop.

  • 2 tbsp of ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds or normal mustard seed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 pinch hing
  • 4 curry leaves, fresh or dried
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ½ to 1 small green chili
  • 1 ½ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 small handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp salt, sea salt recommended
  • 4 cups buttermilk

buttermilk curry recipe
Heat the ghee in saucepan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and hing.
Stir until the seeds pop!

Add the garlic and chili, allowing them to brown slightly. Then add the ginger, cilantro, and salt.

Pour in the cultured buttermilk along with ¼ cup water.

Stir in the turmeric and heat until just hot, but not boiling.

Great served with steamed rice or chapati/flat bread.

 We hope you enjoy the recipes and remember to visit the website for new culture items, more recipes, and specials going on.

Happy Culturing!


 

Culturing Recipes For the Week…1.25.2015

Today we shall look at some recipes for pro-biotic drinks from traditional Indian food culture. Yoghurt or buttermilk plays an important roll in Indian cooking. Bringing richness to a dish and helping to cool down a chillies heat in an entrée.
Yoghurt type drinks, called Lassi, and herbal teas add not only pro-biotics but also the medicinal properties of the herbs added.

Here are three Lassi drinks to get you started:

Cultured yoghurt lassi
Simple to make Indian lassi is great!

Spicy Lassi

2 c water
½ c of plain yoghurt of your choice
2 tablespoons of sugar (or to taste)
½ tsp fresh, grated, ginger or ¼ tsp dry ginger
½ tsp ground cardamom

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes. Adjust sugar to taste and dosha. Doshas are part of Ayurvedic medicine system with the goal of keeping the body in correct balance. This lassi is good for all body constitutions and has a heating effect on the body.

sweet lassi
Sweet Indian Yogurt Lassi

Sweet Lassi

2 c water
½ cup cultured yoghurt of your choice
2 tbsp of sugar
1 drop rose water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes

Good for all body types but especially balancing for pitta dosha types.

 

A spicy lassi ready to drink
Hot and Spicy Drink !


Jalapeño Milk

This is a great drink for heading off colds and flu’s. It provides inner heat and energy to the body when needed. This is one of my favorite medicinal drinks for taste and easiness in preparation. The jalapeño milk is not as hot as the name sounds. The milk and sugar will mellow out the chillies heat.
People are surprised by the amount of energy it gives!

Start with 2-5 fresh jalapeño chillies

8 oz cultured yoghurt or milk

Raw honey or unprocessed sweeter, to taste

Chop the jalapeños and blend with the milk. Blend for least 5 minutes. The long blend time, ensures the chilies are incorporated and helps to froth the milk. Add sweetener and blend for a few seconds. Adjust the sweetener to taste. Strain and enjoy!

We hope you like these drinks as a change from the common yoghurt smothies here in the USA.   Yoghurt style cultures are avalible in our store: store.organic-cultures.com

 

Culturing Recipes For the Week…

curd chillies
Yoghurt curd chillies use in many dishes for a tart and spicy taste

Curd Chillies From India

For an easy cultured condiment that may be added to many dishes, try curd chili. The name makes it sound hot; however, the addition of fermented curd cools down the chilies heat. Any type of traditional yogurt style starter will make the curd needed for the recipe.

The finished product is a pickle of sort, as the curd softens the chili and ferments it at the same time. It goes very nice with curd rice (see recipe below).

Recipe Ingredients:

– 1 kg fresh red chillies
– 3 tbsp sea/rock salt
– 1 cup very thick, drained yoghurt, Fil, or Viili
– 1 cup tamarind juice (soak golf ball-sized lump of tamarind in 1 cup water for 15
minutes and squeeze out juice or use tamarind paste)

Pre-heat oven to 100 Deg C or 220 Deg F

Mix salt, yoghurt culture, and tamarind in large bowl.  Add chilies until coated with mixture.  If mixture will not stay on chilies, try coating chilies with flour or thicken mixture with a thickening agent.

Place coated chilies on a baking tray and heat until chilies are dried.  Turn chilies to cook even and coat all the area.

Store the dried cultured chilies in a air tight jar. Use as is or fry in some oil.

HINTS and TIPS:

  • Use as is or fry in a little oil
  • When making the curd, drain the whey off by hanging in cheesecloth.
    The thicker curd will sick better to the chilies.
  • Add to lentil dishes, curries, or other dishes for a tart, sour, and hot taste!

 

Curd Rice Recipe

Curded Rice is a nice way to use leftover rice or add some punch to an entrée

– 3 tbsp vegetable/coconut/sunflower cooking oil
– 2 cups cooked rice (day old rice may work better)
– 2 1/2 cups water – Salt to taste
– 1 cup cultured yoghurt (your choice on type)
– 1 tsp mustard seeds (toasted)
– 3 dry red chillies
– 5 to 6 curry leaves
– Coriander leaves to garnish

In a large pot, mix cooked rice with the yoghurt and salt.
In hot pan heat oil and fry off mustard seeds, curry leaves, and chillies. Cook until chillies blacken in colour.
Mix this into the rice and serve topped with fresh coriander/cilantro leaf.
This makes a great addition as a side dish to the meal.

We hope everyone enjoys these recipes and Happy Culturing!