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Shio Koji

Shio koji is a special marinade that provides three major functions in cookery:

  • Salt consumption is reduced
  • Meat becomes more tender
  • A rich umami (savoury) flavour is produced

Reduce Your Salt Intake

Add shio koji to almost any food as an alternative to salt. If you replace one teaspoon of salt in your recipe with two teaspoons of shio koji your food will taste just as salty, but you will only be using 10% of the salt. 

A high salt diet can raise blood pressure and lead to coronary heart disease and stroke. The NHS recommend that adults should not eat more than 6g of salt a day – this is around a teaspoon. Any steps you take to reduce your salt intake is beneficial for your health. 

Meat becomes more tender

The enzymes present in shio koji have the ability to break down proteins, which makes meat more tender. Marinade any meat (chicken and white fish are especially good) overnight in a thin coating of shio koji and it will be transformed to another level!

Rich Umami Flavour

Shio koji contains protease which has the ability to transform protein into a range of amino acids. This creates a depth of savoury flavour that tastes delicious! It also contains amylase, which performs a similar function on starches; this makes carbohydrate rich food taste sweeter. To improve the flavour of dishes it is best to leave shio koji to ferment for one week before using. 

How to Make Shio Koji

To make shio koji, just mix:
 
Blend to form a smooth paste.
 
Use immediately, or for a deeper flavour, leave in a clean jar at room temperature to ferment for one week. 

 

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Green Lentil Miso

Green lentil miso adds a beautiful, earthy umami flavour to dishes. It is perfect in simple soups and stews, but goes especially well with ones containing coconut milk.

Ingredients

1 packet Umami Chef Koji

300g cooked green lentils (use drained, canned lentils or cook 150g dried green lentils)

35g salt

Method

  1. Ensure that all your equipment is very clean. Running it through a dishwasher is the easiest way to ensure cleanliness, but jars could also be placed in an oven at 90’C for 20 minutes, if a dishwasher is unavailable.
  2. Cool the cooked green lentils to room temperature
  3. In a large bowl, mix the koji, lentils and salt.
  4. Massage them together for a minute or two, so the lentil release some liquid.
  5. Squash the mixture into a jar, trying not to leave any pockets of air.
  6. Wipe any stray miso from the walls of the jar.
  7. Sprinkle a fine layer of salt on the surface, to prevent mold from forming. 
  8. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper or cling film to fit over the surface and then weigh down with a glass weight (a small jar filled with water that fits inside your big jar is perfect!)
  9. Cover with a t-towel, to prevent flies from entering.
  10. Leave to ferment at room temperature for 6 months

 

 

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Warm Broccoli Salad with a Hazelnut and Miso Dressing

Sweet white miso (for example, 10 Day Miso) is perfect in salad dressings – it adds a depth of flavour that brings dishes to life.  I’ve chosen hazelnuts, as they’re in season at the moment, but all nuts work well in this warming autumnal salad.

Warm Broccoli and Hazelnut Salad with a maple, hazelnut and miso dressing

Warm Broccoli and Hazelnut Salad with a maple, hazelnut and miso dressing
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Salad
Keyword: broccoli, hazelnut, Koji, maple syrup, miso, vegan
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/4 red cabbage chopped
  • 250 g broccoli chopped

For the dressing

  • 50 g hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp grated garlic
  • 2 tbsp sweet white miso
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil

Instructions

  • Gently fry the onion until it softens.
  • Add the cabbage and broccoli to the pan and continue frying until cooked.
  • Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender and whizz until smooth.
  • If you prefer the dressing to be thinner, add a little water until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Drizzle the dressing onto the salad.
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What is koji?

Koji is the term for a grain or bean that has been inoculated with Aspergillus Oryzae, a special fungus that has been domesticated for about 9000 years. 

White Rice Koji is made by steaming white rice and then allowing spores of Aspergillus Oryzae to germinate and multiply on it. 

This process is carefully controlled to ensure conditions are perfect for koji growth, with both temperature and humidity monitored continually. The fungus then converts starch within the rice into a range of enzymes, which go on to create the delicious range of savoury/umami flavours within foods like miso and soy sauce.

Before being packaged, the koji is gently dried to preserve it,  and it is then delivered to fermented food enthusiasts around the world!

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Amazake

Amazake

Amazake is a traditional Japanese drink made from koji. It can be drunk ice cold in Summer, or gently heated to provide a delicious warm drink in Winter.

It has recently been labeled as a super food due to it’s high nutritional content – including complex B vitamins and all the amino acids the body needs. It also contains oligosaccharide, a prebiotic important for gut health. 

 

Amazake

A nutritious drink which can be enjoyed ice cold in Summer, or gently warmed in Winter
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time18 hrs
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: koji, drink, japanese, vegan, healthy
Servings: 4
Calories: 320kcal

Equipment

  • Yogurt Maker

Ingredients

  • 1 packet Umami Chef Koji
  • 100 g Cooked Rice
  • 500 ml Water boiled, then cooled

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients together and then pour into a yoghurt maker, set at 60°C
  • Leave for 18 hours
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Amazake will keep in the fridge for about 7 days or can be frozen for a longer life.
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Miso

4 types of Koji

There are thousands of different recipes for miso –  ranging from warm yellow misos that can be made in a few weeks; to rich, dark misos that take several years to mature.

This recipe is the perfect place to start your miso making journey – it is one of the easiest misos to make and will be ready in just 10 days.

Once you’ve mastered this, you can move on to experiment with different flavours (like green lentil miso) and experience the joy of tasting a miso that you’ve waited many months, or even years, to enjoy!

Before making any miso, ensure that all your equipment is very clean. Running it through a dishwasher is the easiest way to ensure cleanliness, but jars could also be placed in an oven at 90’C for 20 minutes, if a dishwasher is unavailable.

10 Day Miso

A miso made from soya beans that ferments in just 10 days
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Fermentation Time10 d
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Koji, soya beans
Servings: 100 10g servings
Calories: 200kcal

Ingredients

  • 500 g Soya or fava beans dried and hulled
  • 1 packet Umami Chef Koji
  • 62 g Salt non-iodised

Instructions

  • Place the beans in a bowl and add 1 litre of water. Cover and leave to soak in the fridge overnight.
    Soya beans soaking in water
  • Drain the beans and transfer them to a large pan. Cover with water and bring to the boil; then reduce the temperature, add a lid, and simmer until the beans are soft. NOTE: This takes about 45 minutes for fava beans, but may take several hours for soya beans. 
  • When the beans are cooked, pour them into a colander and drain. 
  • If you’d like a smooth miso, blend the beans with a hand-held blender or food processor.
    If you prefer a chunky miso, roughly mash the beans with a fork.
  • Once the beans have reached a consistency you’re happy with, leave to cool.
  • Mix in the packet of koji and 60g of salt.
  • Form the miso into small balls. If the balls crack they are too dry, so will need a little bit more water mixed in. 
  • Squash the balls into a clean jar, ensuring all pockets of air are removed. 
  • Once all the miso has been squashed into the jar, sprinkle the surface with the remaining 2g salt. Then cover and transfer to a warm place (25-30'C) for 10 days.
    Soya bean miso
  • After 10 days, gently scrape the salt from the surface and taste the miso. If it is the required strength, transfer to a fridge and enjoy! It will keep in a fridge for several motnhs. If you prefer the miso a bit stronger (or the temperature has been lower than 25’C) then replace the salt topping and leave for another few days.

Notes

Non-iodised salt, is a salt that does not contain additives which may inhibit fermentation