Tag Archives: recipe

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!

Cashew Rice with Peas – Meatless Mondays #10

This is a simple and easy to make recipe for lunch or dinner.

Start by steaming rice, Basmati rice is traditional rice from India. Basmati is imported from the east and available at all Indian grocery stores and many health food stores. Substitute with white or brown rice if needed, however, basmati rice is extra special in that it is nutritious and has very good flavor.
cashew rice

What is Needed:

2 to 3 cups steamed basmati rice
½ cup roasted cashew pieces
½ cup of peas
2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
pinch of turmeric powder
pinch of hing (a spice used in many Indian dishes)
½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
Fresh tomatoes diced, for garnish
Freshly chopped coriander leaves or dry spice

Once the rice is steamed, the dish is ready to assemble…

Add the ghee to a clean pot, and then add the steamed rice.
Add turmeric, hing, coriander, and salt. Stir ingredients together until well mixed, making sure not to crush/over work the rice.
Add cashews and peas, blend into rice mixture and heat through.

Garnish with the tomatoes and more coriander.
Serve with chapatis or flat bread if desired.

Hint: Replace the ghee with extra virgin olive oil to make a vegan dish.
Serves 4

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!

What is Tempeh?

What is Tempeh?

tempeh spore cakeTempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a cake, similar to a very firm veggie burger. Traditional tempeh is a soybean cake that has a rich smoky flavor and aroma, with a firm nutty texture. The soybeans are fermented and inoculated with the mold spores of rhizopus oligosporus. Use the cooked TPS cakes as a replacement for meat in many recipes. Tempeh works well for making tacos, hamburgers, and our favorite…the grilled Tempeh Reuben with raw sauerkraut! If you live in Indonesia, you can buy tempeh starter easily. In the USA, buying the starter spores can be a bit difficult; however, to make tempeh is not too hard. Many commercially prepared brands add other grains, such as barley, also adding spices and extra flavors. All this you can do yourself at home by adjusting the recipe. Although tempeh is a soy product, it has a unique taste and a mildly smoky flavor, unlike tofu.

Description

Making tempeh  Tempeh is fermented soy food that originated on the island of Java in Indonesia and is fermented with the mold
Rhizopus oligosporus. Fermentation of tempeh can involve a period of several days or longer, and fermentation is
usually carried out at temperatures of 85-90°F/29-32°C. Tempeh is usually purchased in a cake-like form and can be
sliced in a way that is similar to tofu. However, tempeh has a less watery texture than tofu, and in comparison to non-
fermented tofu, a more distinct flavor as well. Steaming, baking, and frying are all popular ways of preparing tempeh
in many countries. Tempeh is also commonly incorporated into stews, soups, and grilled kebabs.
To understand more about tempeh’s health benefits, it can be helpful to think not only about fermentation of
soybeans into tempeh, but about fermentation of foods in general.

How to Use Tempeh

Because it is a low-fat and high-protein food, many vegetarians choose to include tempeh in their diet on a regular basis. Try adding some to a stir fry instead of tofu, or crumble into soups or meatless chili for added bulk and protein. Because of the tempeh cakes firm texture, the tempeh should be sliced into small dices, cubes, or slices as the recipe calls for. Find tempeh in the refrigerated section of most health food stores and in the natural foods aisle of well-stocked grocery stores. However, for the best and cheapest tempeh, one should make a fresh home-made tempeh product.

With a fresh tempeh cake, the finished product is cut and prepared for the entrée desired. Cutting it into ¼” strips and marinating is great for sandwiches, tempeh bacon, or the feel of cut steak. Dicing and marinating works well for stews, soups, and stir-fry dishes and recipes. Just like tofu, tempeh cakes will take on the flavor of the marinade. The trick is two pan fry or grill the prepared tempeh (tempeh should never be eaten raw) then wait until the last to add the tempeh to the entrée or recipe. If added too soon, the flavor of the marinade will become lost to the dish.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas for Tempeh

  • For a twist on the traditional reuben sandwich, place broiled tempeh on a slice of whole grain bread, layer with sauerkraut, top with cheese or non-dairy “cheese” and then broil in oven for a few minutes until the sandwich is hot and toasty. Top with Russian dressing made by combining ketchup and mayonnaise, and enjoy.
  • A vegetarian option to spaghetti and meat sauce is spaghetti and tempeh sauce. Just substitute tempeh for ground beef in your favorite recipe.
  • Add extra flavor, texture and nutrition to chili by adding some tempeh
  • Check out our site for some of the best recipes including…Tempeh Reuben sandwich w/ raw sauerkraut

Making Tempeh From Spores

tempeh in banana leafMaking tempeh is not a hard process for those with some cooking skills or background. The basics are boiling and de-hauling the soybeans, letting this cool down, and inoculate the cooked soybeans with the tempeh spores. The finished result is a firm white cake ready to slice and cook. The detailed instructions are at our main website http://www.organic-cultures.com/tempeh instructions

Tempeh soy cakes are a traditional Indonesian food made by fermenting soybeans with a starter culture. Traditional tempeh is a soybean cake that has a rich smoky flavor and aroma, with a firm nutty texture. Tempeh or TPS is one of Indonesian traditional foods full of protein made by fermenting soybeans with the rhizopus mold spores. It is high in nutritional value, providing nutrients such as Protein, Riboflavin, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, and Manganese. It is also low in Cholesterol and Sodium. If you live in Indonesia, you can buy tempeh starter easily. In the USA, buying the starter spores can be a bit difficult; however, to make tempeh is not too hard. A meatless choice great for vegans or those looking for a healthy probiotic alternative for an animal based diet. Cooks up like ‘bacon or steak’ when sliced thin and fried. It is recommended not to eat tempeh products raw. Soy should only be consumed after fermentation and not raw. The ragi tempeh spores will break down the soy into an easy to consume product. Want to know more about tempeh – PTS? Checkout our main site.

Happy Culturing!  Live, Grow, Share Cultured Foods

Kombucha Tip For the Week 10/16/2013

kombucha tea cultureKombucha Tip For the Week… As requested again… Kombucha Tea Fast Brew Method V02:
Our fast brew method can save a bit of time and the tea/sugar solution is ready to inoculate with the kombucha cultures and start tea.
KT Classic Recipe… is as follows: – 1 gallon water, bring to boil – Add 6 teabags or teaspoons per gallon – Add 1 to 1½ cups of sugar, stir – Allow to cool to room temperature and inoculate with culture – Brew 7 to 14 days
KT Fast Brew Method: – ½ gallon of water, bring to boil – Add 6 teabags or teaspoons per gallon – Add 1 to 1½ cups of sugar, stir to dissolve – Add ½ gallon of cold water, mix – Allow to cool to room temperature and inoculate with culture – Brew 7 to 14 days   The difference is that the fast brew method will require less time to cool the raw tea/sugar solution, thus, getting the round brewing faster. The basic difference is cutting the water in your recipe by half and then adding the other half of the water (cold) at the very end. This cools the solution faster, to get the batch started and help to prevent mold.
Happy Brewing, Nirinjan Singh

Kombucha Tip For the Week… & Culture Question of the Week…

Kombucha Tea Tip for the Week…

Kombucha tea fast brew method… Our fast brew method can save a bit of time and the tea/sugar solution is ready to inoculate with the kombucha cultures and start tea.

KT classic recipe is as follows:
– 1 gallon water, bring to boil

– Add 6 teabags or teaspoons per gallon

– Add 1 to 1½ cups of sugar, stir to dissolve

– Allow to cool to room temperature and inoculate with culture

– Brew 7 to 14 days

Kombucha Tea Culture Fast Brew Method:
– ½ gallon of water, bring to boil

– Add 6 teabags or teaspoons per gallon

– Add 1 to 1½ cups of sugar, stir to dissolve

– Add ½ gallon of cold water, mix

– Allow to cool to room temperature and inoculate with culture

– Brew 7 to 14 days

The difference is that the fast brew method will require less time to cool the raw solution, thus, getting the round brewing faster.  The basic difference is cutting the water in your recipe by half and then adding the other half of the water (cold) at the very end.

Question of the Week…

My Kombucha Culture is Producing a Flat Beverage, What Can I do to Make More Fizz?

This happens to many KT brewers from time to time. First of all, use best quality ingredients you can afford, we suggest organic ingredients. Are you using city water? Then stop!  Try changing the type of tea your using and use no teas high in oil content, like peppermint or Earl Grey.
Some people will tell you to just add more sugar, however, just as in beer and saké making, adding to much sugar can make the yeast even more sluggish.
I believe temperature plays a bigger role in producing fizz in the KT, which is the carbon dioxide (CO2), produced from the yeast breaking down the sugars.  My suggestion is to make sure the temp (of the liquid, not the ambient temp) is at least 80 deg F for the first 3 or 4 days, then drop the temp down to 70-75 Deg F for the rest of the brewing cycle.  If you feel that you need more sugar then add it by ‘addition’ over the first 3 days of brewing.
Another trick is to make sure the raw tea/sugar solution is aerated. Do this by pouring the cooled tea between two vessels several times. One last tip, the SCOBY culture helps to trap in the CO2 so make sure your culture doesn’t have a lot of holes in it and that the new culture forms and seals the top of the liquid.

Hope this helps, Happy Brewin’, Nirinjan Singh