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.

How to Make Koji-Kin Rice From Koji Spores

Use for Amasaké, Saké, Light Misos, or Japanese Pickles

Making your own fresh koji rice is not complicated if you have the correct tools and utensils on hand.  Some equipment listed will make the process easy for someone with culturing experience.  Making koji rice may not be the best culture for someone
new to fermentation or culturing..

What is needed…

  • A large bowl or pot for soaking 6 cups (1420ml) of sushi style rice
  • A sieve or colander for draining the rice
  • Wooden (traditional) or metal spoon to stir the rice
  • A large cooking pot for steaming the rice.  Also, a modified bowl and a bamboo or metal vegetable steamer (See photos)

    Tools for making koji at home
    Items for steaming sushi/polished rice
  • Pans or trays for inoculating the steamed rice
  • Heating mats/incubator with temperature control or a food dehydrator
  • Flour sacks material or cloth for holding the steaming rice.  No cheesecloth.
  • Towels for covering the inoculating rice

Ingredients…

  • 6 cup (1420gr) polished sushi rice (Plain white or brown rice will not produce the same results)
  • ¼ cup (237gr) white rice flour or fresh grind from sushi rice
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) koji spore starter

Fermentation Time:
24 to 48 hrs
Incubation Temperature:
85 F (30 C)

How to Make Koji Rice…
Let’s Us Get Started…

Step1:  The first step is to rinse and soak the sushi rice for 6 hours or more.  Time this to end at the point you wish to start steaming the rice.  Rinse the 6 cups of rice several times in fresh cold water until the water runs clear.  This will take around 3 to 6 washes.
Soaking sushi/polished rice  Rinsing is very important to remove the starch from the rice kernels.  If not removed, the finished steamed rice can stick together and makes complete inoculation difficult.

  After rinsing, cover the rice with 2” or 50mm of water and soak the rice in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours.  We soak ours overnight. 
Note:
  If allowed to soak more than 10 hours will make the rice soft and may affect the inoculation process.

Step 2:  After soaking, drain the rice in a colander to remove excess water.  Removing the extra water between towels will also work.  This step aids in keeping the cooked rice lump free.  Once ‘dry’ place the rice in the pan setup.  The setup includes the large cooking pot, a bamboo or metal steamer, and the modified bowl that will fit into the bottom of the pot.  Add two inches of water to cover the bottom of the pot, but does not touch the steamer.
Steam koji rice setup 01steaming koji rice 02

 

 
Line the steamer with the cloth and add the soaked rice.  Press the rice out to the sides so the steam will go through the rice and not around it.
We find that making a hole in the center of the rice helps in correct steaming.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  When the steam rises through the rice (not just up the sides), time the steaming rice for 50 minutes.  Watch to make sure the water does not boil dry.  Add additional water by pulling rice bundle to one side and pouring the water down the side of the pot.  About halfway through the process you may wish to turn the rice so the bottom will not over steam. 
Note:
Do not poor the water on the rice. 

CAUTION: Steam is very hot, so use utensils to avoid injury and safety.
Steaming sushi ricesteaming sushi rice

 

 

 

Step 3: As the rice is steaming, prepare the koji spore starter for inoculation.  Start by heating a dry skillet and lightly toast the rice flour to sanitize it.  Not not burn the rice flour.  Cover skillet and place in the refrigerator until cooled to room temperature.  Once cooled, add the koji spores and mix well with clean spoon.  Expel the air from the spore starter bag and reseal.  Spores are very small and adding them to rice flour helps in even distribution of the spores.  At this time, clean your work area, too.  Wash and sanitize the trays for inoculation.
Prepping the rice flour mixture Step 4: After steaming for 50 minutes, the steamed rice will look like a hot rubbery lump.  You may check to see if the rice is ready by taking a small sample and tasting it.  Properly cooked rice will have a rubbery feel and taste, the colour is somewhat clear.  Rice should not be hard (under cooked) or soft like boiled rice (overcooked). 

Steamed rice ready for koji spores  NOTE: Over cooking of the rice will not produce the desired finished product, as the spores cannot encapsulate each grain of rice.  Most important is that the rice grains are whole and not broken by over cooking/steaming.  The trick is to have enough moisture within the rice grains for the koji mold to form, yet not overcooked to the point that the rice will start decomposing.

Remove the rice from the steamer and place in the incubation trays.  Use a wooden spoon or rice paddle to brake up any clumps in the rice and create a uniform overall moistness and spread evenly in pan or tray.  Cool to a temperature between 113 F (45 C) to 80 F (30 C).

Polished steamed rice ready for inoculation

Once cooled, the freshly steamed rice is ready for inoculation.  Use the previously prepared spore and flour mixture for this purpose.  Sprinkle half the starter-flour mixture over the cooled rice and mix thoroughly.  Again, spread out the cooled rice, add the second half of the starter-flour mixture, and mix well.  Now cover the trays/pans with the cover or use plastic wrap and place tray(s) in the incubator or on the heating mat.  Sometimes an oven with the light on will produce the required heat.  Incubate at a temperature of about 90 F (35 C). 
Note: It is important to get the koji mold actively working before unwanted bacteria can take hold.  It is also fine to add extra spore starter, which will speed up the culturing time.

Step 5:  Throughout the day, every 2 to 4 hours, check the internal temperature of the rice koji.  Should hold temperature at 81-96F (27-35C).  This temperature range is optimal for the development of enzymes necessary to make sweet cultured foods like amazaké and make sugars available for saké yeast.  Temperatures higher than this will not ruin the koji for miso making, however, prolonged overheating will kill the koji mold and unwanted bacteria may take over.  Once the temperature is checked, make necessary adjustments to the incubator.

After 24 to 48 hours at 85F (30C):  Wash your hands and open the trays.  There should be a faintly yeasty smell with a sweet fragrance of mushrooms.  The grains should start to show white, fluffy signs of mold growing.  If the koji rice is not fully cultured, mix the koji and allow incubating several more hours.

Inoculating koji rice

Note:  As the koji rice ferments, it will produce heat from fermentation so decreasing the incubator temperature will be needed.  To allow better heat distribution, run furrows one inch deep and two inches apart.

Replace the lids and place back into incubator or on heating mats.  Make sure lids are tight to keep in moisture.  If the rice becomes to dry fermentation will decrease or stop altogether.  Adding a damp cloth over the trays can help if more moisture is needed.
The internal temperature should not drop below 77 F(25 C) nor go above 104 F(40 C) for very long.  If the rice is over heating, stir the koji rice mixture, level off and replace furrows.  Cover and place into the incubator and adjust temperature.

Step 6:  Keep checking the temperature about every 4 hours and stir koji rice at this point.  Level off, replace furrows, and cover.  Keep incubating the koji rice mixture, until rice grains are about 70 to 80% encapsulated.  Check this by breaking some of the grains in half.  By now, the rice should have a chalk-like whiteness and a sweet taste.  Once mature, bring trays to room temperature and stir from time to time, until cooled.

Measure out the amount needed for immediate use.  Once cooled, package the koji-kin into airtight containers and place in refrigerator or freezer.  Dry the finished koji rice product for longest-term storage (Dry at a temperature below 85 deg F).

Fresh koji-kin rice will last about a month, dried and keep refrigerated 6 months, and dried and frozen will last up to a year.

See our koji recipe section for ideas on how to use your fresh koji in many traditional Japanese dishes.

Advanced Techniques

 Some have asked on how to make koji spores themselves.  If the finished koji-kin rice is left on it’s own, without drying, it will start to produce spores.  Koji spores are dark green in color, as pictured below.

Koji-kin rice going to sporesTray of Koji-Kin Spores

koji rice spore productionTray of Koji Close Up

  Once the spores are produced, the natural culturing cycle is complete.  The cultured rice is dried at a temperature of under 85 Deg F and then ground to a powder.  The only problem arises from doing this yourself, is that of quality and purity controls.  Because the spores are produced in a home environment vs. a lab the chance of contamination by other molds and/or bacteria is high.  We do not produce any spores at our Culture Bank.  We buy our tane-koji and kin-koji spores direct from Japan! 

Happy Culturing… Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods

Spore selections from our store:
15gr Koji-Kin Spores    ‘EM’ Tane-Kin 454gr Packet
Tane-Koji Spore Packet 20gr

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!

How to make Natto…Natto Kin Spores

 

How to Make Natto…Natto Kin From Spores

Natto kin ready to eat

What is Natto?

Nattō (なっとう or 納豆?) is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis var. natto.  Some eat it as a breakfast food.  Nattō may be an acquired taste because of its powerful smell, strong flavor, and slimy texture.  In Japan, nattō is most popular in the eastern regions, including Kantō, Tōhoku, and Hokkaido.

Before Making NATTO:

  • Be sure the entire processing area is cleaned for production.  Make sure all utensils, pots, cheesecloth (FUKIN), etc. are as sterile as possible.  (Boil utensils for 5 minutes prior to using.)
  • The packet of NATTO spores comes with a special small spoon; be sure to use the small spoon to measure the appropriate quantity for the recipe.
  • The fermentation process requires the NATTO be kept at approximately 100°F (37°C) degrees for 24 hours.  Ovens with a low temperature setting can be used, an oven w/ light on only, or inoculate in large cube-shaped food dehydrators.
  • NATTO is quite odorous while fermenting, and you may want to isolate the fermenting NATTO during this time.

Ingredients and Supplies
needed for Making NATTO:

  • 2 pounds (900g) soybeans (about 4 cups)
  • 10cc water, boiled for 5 to 10 minutes to sterilize
  • One spoonful (0.1 g.) NATTO-kin spores (use the special spoon that came with the packet)
  • Cheesecloth or butter muslin (FUKIN in Japanese)
  • Non-reactive pot (i.e., stainless steel, enameled, ceramics, etc.) or Pressure cooker
  • Large stainless steel, wood, or plastic spoon or spatula
  • 3-4 oven-proof glass containers with lids

Instructions for Making NATTO:

– Wash the soybeans using running water to gets rid of tiny dirt or dead skins off the beans.
Cooking the soy beans for natto– Soak with clean water for 9 to 12 hours (longer soaking time recommended during colder months). Be sure to use approximately 3 parts water and 1 part soybeans to allow for expansion. You will end up with 8 to 12 cups of beans.

soaking the soy beans over night

– Drain the beans from the soaking water. Place beans in a large pot with mesh bowl and pour in water. Steam it for 3-4 hours.
Or fill with water and boil 5-6 hours. 
The recommended way is to use a “Pressure cooker”, that can be cooked faster than in a normal pot. Please refer to the
pressure cooker instruction manual for operation guidelines.

steaming the soy beans for fermentation

– Drain the cooked beans and place in a sterilized pot. Dissolve 1/5 special spoonful of NATTO spores (0.1g) into 10cc of sterilized water.

preparing the natto spores

– Immediately pour the NATTO spore solution over the beans while the beans are still warm but not hot to the touch. Stir the beans and water mixture together carefully using a sterilized spoon/spatula.

mixing in the spore mixture

– Place a thin layer of beans in each of the 3 to 4 containers. If at any point during the process some beans are spilled on the counter, etc., discard the spilled beans as they can contaminate the other beans if added back in to the batch.

mixing the beans and spores

Place the sterilized cheese cloth over the top of the containers and place the tight-fitting lid over the cheese cloth. Preheat the oven, dehydrator, or KOTATSU Japanese Warmer to 100°F (37°C).  Place the covered containers in the oven, dehydrator, or warmer and allow the NATTO to ferment for 24 hours being sure to keep the temperature steady at 100°F (37°C).  Check the temperature throughout the day/night.

fermenting the soy bean mixtureAt the conclusion of the fermentation period, let the NATTO cool for a couple of hours, then remove the lid and the cloth, replace the lid, and store the containers in the
refrigerator at least overnight.

NATTO can also be aged
in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Smaller portions of finished NATTO can be stored in the freezer and thawed for later use.
Happy Culturing!

Looking for Fresh Natto spores?  Right from Japan?  We have connection for fresh spores(3g)…right here !

Happy Culturing !  Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods.

A Summer Time Refresher – Ginger Brew & Beer

ginger beer starter
Old time ginger brew beer…refreshing!

A Summer Time Refresher –
Ginger Brew & Beer

It’s the middle of the summer season and the desire for a cool refreshing beverage to quench the thirst is a plus. Coming in from an afternoon of tending to the organic garden, I pop the top on a 12oz ginger brew and pour into a Champaign glass. I watch for a second as the bubbles turn into a lovely foaming head and the smells of ginger, lemons, and limes transcend the air. The sweet flavors collect on the tongue and fulfill my thirst. Nirinjan – Brew Master, Organic Cultures

Making your own soda beverages is fun, easy, and a much better alternative to commercial sodas loaded with HFCS and dyes! Before the coming of mass produce cola and the ‘soda jerk’, many people made their own beverages with natural effervescence. The process is simple and the final recipe take less than an hour to complete. You can make two different types of ginger beverage – A classic ginger ale (what we call ginger brew) or an alcohol version, which is ginger beer. Both follow a simple recipe, however, the processing is different for each type. The first thing you will need is a ginger beer plant or ginger brew/beer culture starter.

What’s a Ginger Culture Starter and Ginger Beer Plant?

To make ginger brew/beer you will need to obtain a starter or plant. There are three choices to get started:

  • First, a traditional ginger beer plant that comes from the UK and can cost a bit. This culture seems harder to find and maintain. We find that the taste is strong and sharp, not to our liking.
  • Second, buy a ginger brew starter. There are a few sources for this style of starter.  We sell a lot of this starter in our store. You can buy ginger beer starter here: http://store.organic-cultures.com/gibeplorgr.html. This ginger beer starter has been maintained since 2009 and has improved in flavor over time. We have stabilized this culture starter to produce the same results and taste again and again. It is a cross between the UK ginger beer plant and wild yeast strains. We think this starter is mellow while still holding an intense ginger flavor over the UK strain alone!
  • Lastly, you can try to make a ginger brew/beer starter with wild yeast and sugar. Making your own starter using wild yeast strains may produce good results or sometimes not. This depends on the yeast strains you capture and if they can stabilize. Just as in beer brewing, a stabilized yeast starter will produce a fermented beverage with the same results again and again. Some try to do a quick start using bread or Champaign yeast, we do NOT recommend using these as the taste will lose its balance and the traditional ginger ale flavor.
  • Fakes – There are sellers who claim to have a ‘real’ ginger beer plant. These are not true plants most being water kefir grains or bread yeast mixed with ginger.

Which to Do…Ginger Brew/Ale or Ginger Beer?

For a great ginger flavored beverage, there are two ways to go alcoholic (ginger beer) or non-alcoholic (ginger ale/brew). Again, the main recipe is the same only the process changes. For making ginger brew/ale you can just follow the standard recipe on our website: http://www.organic-cultures.com/instructions_sheets/ginger_brew

For ginger beer, make the final recipe for ginger brew/ale but instead of bottling it in beverage bottle it is placed into a fermentation vessel with an airlock (We have gallon size jars with lids and airlock at the store). Once the airlock stops releasing rapid bubbles, the beer is finished and now decanted into beverage style bottles. The volume of sugar used in the recipe determines the amount of alcohol.

Whether one wishes to make beer or brew ale, a ginger culture starter can provide a great refreshing summer time beverage. Not only will it save money over the cost of commercial soda, it is much healthier. Other benefits include the ability to flavor the drink as one wish. Ginger with limes, maybe fresh berries, or even ginger/lemongrass make it how you like!

So this summer, start making a pro-biotic thirst quenching ginger beverage to refresh during the heat. Ginger is known to aid in digestion and helps provide energy. Ginger brew is easy to make and a great replacement for the whole family vs. commercial soda. Buy or get a ginger brew starter today and
start making this wonderful summer time beverage.

Happy Culturing!
Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods.

Support the Cultured Foods & Kombucha Bank

Cultured kimchi
Greeting home brewers, culturist, and foodies,
my name is Nirinjan and we are looking to expand
our production space/bank to maintain more traditional
fermented culture starts. We have collected many traditional cultures from around the world, such as yogurts, kefir, kombucha, and even spores. Our goal is to maintain these cultures and bring access to these cultures for home use and those looking
for better health and wellbeing.

As you know, we already have a website/store and have sent 1000’s of culture starters to customers worldwide, see www.organic-cultures.com  Our small team has worked with cultures starters for over 15 years.  The space currently used for production and lab work is getting to small for the number of cultures and high customer demand, so we are asking for funds to obtain a larger working space and install needed kitchen equipment.

Your funding will help us maintain these live, raw, traditional cultures (some over 200 years old) in our ‘bank’ for all peoples to have access, now and future generations.
Click here to help –  www.gofundme.com/tf7n8qg

Thank You and Happy

 

Benefits of Tempeh and Simple Recipes

Tempeh is a staple food of Indonesia, which is gaining popularity all around the world, for its distinct nutty taste and nougat-like texture. Tempeh starts by cooking soybeans, followed by inoculation using a culturing agent like Rhizopus oligosporus spores.

Tempeh in BBQ Sauce
~ Tempeh in BBQ Sauce ~

To finish the culturing process, incubation occurs overnight turning the soybeans into a solid white cake. Use the fermented tempeh cakes in a number of dishes, as a healthy meat alternative! Tempeh works great marinated in your favorite herbs and condiments.

Tempeh is a highly nutritious food rich in protein, which has been the traditional cuisine of Indonesia for more than 2000 years. Today, tempeh is a popular meat alternative for vegetarian and vegan cuisines. Because it is a low-fat and high-protein food, many vegetarians choose to include tempeh in their diet on a regular basis.

  Tempeh is extremely rich in protein, low fat, and contains fiber and vitamins. Now a common site in Co-ops and health food stores, it is easy to enjoy tempeh at anytime! Store bought tempeh is ready to cook and eat or one can make it much cheaper at home with pre-packaged spore starter and some basic equipment. Below are some health benefits of Tempeh.

Health Benefits of Eating Tempeh

  • Tempeh is a rich source of proteins. The proteins in tempeh have the additional benefit of lowering cholesterol level, unlike the protein from animal sources, which raise the cholesterol level of a person. Thus, tempeh is an excellent alternative to meat.
  • Tempeh contains magnesium, which plays a vital role in cardiovascular system and in more than 300 enzymatic reactions. Magnesium is also necessary for the reactions like the control of protein synthesis and energy production.
  • Tempeh may help in preventing heart diseases. It reduces the cholesterol level and hence, lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Tempeh also raises the HDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol passes through the body and collects the cholesterols in the arteries to be disposed off by the liver. Tempeh can even lower LDL cholesterol levels, apart from raising HDL.
  • Tempeh, like other soy foods, is rich in dietary fiber, which binds fats and cholesterol and prevents their rapid absorption. In addition, the dietary fiber binds the bile salts and helps throw them out of the body. As it disposes the bile, liver is stimulated to convert more cholesterol into bile salts, thereby lowering the cholesterol level in the body considerably.
  • The fiber present in tempeh may assist in lowering the risk of colon cancer, by being able to bind to the cancer-causing toxins. It is also preventative against some other cancers, like breast cancer.
  • Tempeh is also helpful in treating menopausal symptoms. The isoflavones present in tempeh bind to the estrogen receptors and provide relief from the uncomfortable symptoms associated with the decline of natural estrogen. In addition, it may aid in reducing the bone loss that generally follows menopause.
  • Tempeh contains a good amount of the trace minerals, like manganese and copper. These minerals play an important role in numerous physiological functions.
  • Tempeh is an extremely healthy food for people suffering from diabetes.       Its natural properties that assist in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels prove helpful for diabetic patients. Also, tempeh aids in lowering the triglyceride levels in diabetic patients.

Cooking Tips

  • Always cook the tempeh cakes to kill the active mold and/or spores.       Do not eat tempeh RAW.
  • Tempeh will take on the flavors of the marinade or recipe ingredients.       By itself, tempeh has a mild taste.
  • To make tempeh, you will need soy (soya) beans, few tablespoons of vinegar and tempeh spore starters like Rhizopus oryzae or Rhizopus oligosporus.
  • Soak the beans for 8-14 hours in water. De-hull the beans by hand and split the beans into two. Skim off the hulls and discard.
  • Make sure the beans are very dry; otherwise, undesirable bacteria may take hold and produce bad or off flavors.
  • Keep the beans in an incubator, while wrapped in the plastic, at a temperature of 30°C/85°F. You can also keep them at any warm place for a day or two or until you see, the plastic completely filled with white mycelium.
  • The tempeh is ready when the soybeans become one complete solid mass.
  • The fresh tempeh will be warm and has a pleasant mushroom flavor.
  • You can store tempeh in the refrigerator, for around ten days. However, if you keep it in the freezer, it can stay for a few months.

Recipe For the Week

Tempeh Super BBQ Burger

tempeh burger
An Easy Way to Use Tempeh Cakes

Ingredients Needed

  • 1  tempeh cake (about 4 to 5 cups)
  • 1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, grated
  • 1 broccoli stock, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown rice or spelt flour
  • 2 Tbs arrowroot starch
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs dried basil
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 2 Tbs dried parsley
  •  sea salt, to taste
  • 1 egg or egg substitute (1 Tbs ground chia + 1/4 cup warm water)
  • Add other spices, if desired, like chilli, herbs, or spice mix.

Instructions

  1. Cut tempeh up into cubes and toss into a food processor and process until into small pieces, or finely chop.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together ground tempeh, onion, zucchini, broccoli stock, brown rice, arrowroot starch, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, oregano, parsley, baking powder, sea salt and egg or egg substitute.
  3. Mix with a fork until it starts to come together, and is evenly mixed.
  4. Take about 1/3 cup mixture, roll into a ball and then flatten into a patty shape.
  5. Either cook on a 350-400 BBQ or in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Remove once lightely browned and firm to the touch.  Do not over cook the patty.
  6. Serve on a bun with topping of your choice or wrapped in lettuce.

We hope this Blog page has assisted you in making great tempeh at home. We have tempeh or PTS spore starter in small amounts and now in 500gr commercial size packaging. See more details at our web store – Organic-Cultures.com