2023 Great Taste Awards

Shio koji and miso winning great taste awards

Umami Chef is excited to announce that both the products it entered into the 2023 Great Taste Awards won stars.

The foods are judged by experts (without packaging or marketing) and rated purely on taste.

Sweet White Fava Miso

Great Taste 2 Star Winning Miso

The sweet white fava miso won 2 stars, with judges describing it is as:

 inventive, clever and utterly delicious

On tasting, it blew our minds! Those umami flavours danced around our palates. 

Filtered Shio Koji

The filtered shio koji won 1 star, with judges saying:

 an exciting condiment to have in the kitchen

We enjoyed the natural sweetness and the umami created through fermentation.

 

Shio Koji Cured Leek Nori Flower

Shio Koji Cured Leek Flower

This beautiful Shio Koji Cured Leek Nori Flower was created by Martin from Fdx Agro.

It takes some time to prepare, but is worth the effort in terms of taste and beauty!

Shio Koji Cured Leek Nori Flower

A beautiful and delicious flower created from marinated leeks, wrapped in nori sheets.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Dry1 day
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Fusion, Japanese
Keyword: leek

Ingredients

  • 9 small leeks
  • 200 ml Umami Chef filtered shio koji
  • 500 ml dashi or use a stock made from miso
  • Nori sheets
  • agar or gelatine

Instructions

  • Clean 9 small leeks, remove outer leaves and cut to the same length
  • Cover with filtered shio koji and leave in the fridge to marinate for 6 hours
    Marinade leeks in shio koji
  • Take the leeks out of the shio koji and poach slowly in dashi
  • Remove, drain and put in the fridge for 12 hours to dry
  • Remove from fridge, take off outer leaf and roll tightly with quarter cut of a nori roll, sprinkled with water if required to roll easier.
  • Close Nori with a wetted finger
  • Place on kitchen paper top and bottom ensuring they do not touch one another
  • Place in fridge for 12 hours to dry
  • Assemble rolls into a circle and wrap tightly with 2 layers of halved sheet of nori
  • Wrap with with greaseproof paper tied with butcher string, being careful not to damage the roll
  • Place bundle into a mould with a little free space around (little mug for example)
  • Thicken the dashi/miso with gelatin/agar flakes
  • Pour warm onto ends of leeks in the bundle until outside free space fills up
  • Chill until set
  • Trim the ends and cut into 4 pieces
    Shio Koji Cured Leek Flower
  • Serve with a sprinkle of togarishi and a splash of lemon juice

Chocozake – Vegan Chocolate Cremeux

Cremeux is a luxurious dessert which is similar to a mousse, but creamier and less aerated. It is traditionally made with eggs  and cream. Using amazake, a fermented drink made from rice koji, makes this dessert vegan. 

For this recipe we recommend using Firetree Chocolate, especially their Solomon Islands edition, as it’s flavour profile is perfectly matched with the amazake.

 

Chocozake - Vegan Chocolate Cremeux

A vegan version of this classic French creamy dessert, created by Welsh chef, Grady Atikins
Prep Time30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: amazake, chocolate, cremeux
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 110 g sweet amazake See note below for instructions on how to make this
  • 50 g Firetree Solomon Islands Guadalcanal 69% chocolate
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Instructions

  • Melt the chocolate, oil and salt in the microwave on low till melted. Keep the temperature of the chocolate below 45 degrees so as not to ruin the temper.
  • Blend the amazake until very smooth then pour in to the chocolate mix whilst whisking vigorously.
  • When the mix is shiny and emulsified put it in the fridge till set.
  • The result will be a thick mousse like consistency perfect for shaping.

Notes

How to make sweet amazake
200g white rice koji. 
100g cooked white glutinous rice-allowed to cool.
500ml boiled then cooled water ( or bottled spring water).
Method
Mix all the ingredients together
Ferment at 60 C in a yoghurt maker or 58C in a dehydrator for 10 hours. If using a dehydrator place ingredients in a mason jar left open or a vacuum bag unsealed for air.
Then ferment at room temperature for a further 40 hours, before blending until very smooth. Store sealed in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Wild Garlic Miso

A delicious miso that makes the most of wild garlic when it is in season. This miso will be perfect for making ramen base or miso soup – just pop a heaped teaspoon into 250ml of hot stock and you’ll have an instant warming drink.

Wild Garlic Miso

A delicious miso that makes the most of wild garlic when it is in season. This miso will be perfect for making ramen base or miso soup - just pop a heaped teaspoon into 250ml of hot stock and you'll have an instant warming drink.
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time1 hour
Fermenting Time28 days
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: Fusion
Keyword: Koji, miso, wild garlic

Ingredients

  • 1 Kg Cooked Fava Beans made by cooking 500g dried fava beans
  • 200 g Umami Chef White Rice Koji
  • 84 g Salt
  • 100 g Wild Garlic

Instructions

  • Blend all the ingredients in a food processor
  • Form into balls
  • Squash into a jar, removing all air bubbles
  • Sprinkle surface with salt
  • Leave in a warm place for 3 - 4 weeks
  • Enjoy!

Vegan Carrot Peel Honey

This recipe produces a delicious syrup which makes a great vegan substitute for honey. It’s perfect for glazes, salad dressings, or any recipe where you’d traditionally use honey.

This recipe is perfect for creating a zero waste kitchen – utilising carrot peelings that normally go to waste – but if you prefer/don’t have enough peelings you can use whole carrots instead.

The recipe begins by making a carrot amazake, which is then freeze clarified and reduced to a syrup. It takes a while to make, but most of the steps require simply waiting – the actual time spent making this honey is quite small and is well worth it if you’re looking to create stunning vegan dishes!

Vegan Carrot Peel Honey

Make a vegan delicious honey from carrots scraps
Prep Time1 day 40 minutes
Cook Time8 hours
Freezing time8 hours
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: British
Keyword: amazake, carrots, honey

Equipment

  • Dehydrator/slow cooker Something capable of holding food at 60C
  • 1 Saucepan
  • 1 Food Processor

Ingredients

  • 200 g White Rice Koji
  • 200 g White Rice Cooked
  • 400 g Water
  • 125 g Carrot Peelings or Carrots

Instructions

  • This recipe is perfect for creating a zero waste kitchen - utilising carrot peelings that normally go to waste - but if you prefer/don't have enough peelings you can use whole carrots instead.
  • Puree all the ingredients in a blender
  • Transfer to a jar, cover and leave in a dehydrator set to 60C for 8 hours (or use a rice cooker/slow cooker/sous vide/any other kitchen gadget that can hold food at 60C)
  • Freeze the mixture (which is a carrot amazake) and then leave the block to melt through a muslin. This is a great way to clarify the solution.
  • The carrot amazake melts to leave a clear solution
  • Place the clear liquid in a saucepan and heat on low until the liquid reduces to thick syrup.
  • Enjoy your vegan carrot honey!

Kinzanji Miso

Kinzanji miso is different to most other misos in that it is not used as a seasoning, but is designed to be eaten as a side dish. It is made by fermenting vegetables with koji to create a dish that is sweet and sour – the perfect accompaniment to most Japanese dishes.  It is also frequently used as the Japanese equivalent of sofrito or mirepoix – saving the time needed to fry the vegetables used in the base of dishes.

Very little information about kinzanji miso is available in English, so I’ve researched Japanese texts to discover everything I can about this dish.

Traditionally kinzanji miso is made using a combination of three kojis – rice, soy and barley – all in equal proportions. The other ingredients are harder to tie down – it’s the sort of dish where every family seem to have their own version. The common themes are that they have 6% salt (5.8% according to the Standard Food Composition Table of Japan) and an equal amount of sugar. Most recipes also call for double this percentage in honey, although if you’re not a fan of sweet dishes, or looking to create a vegan version, this can be left out.

Another ingredient that is in almost all versions is ginger, although the amount varies wildly – some contain a tablespoon, whilst one recipe I found had 1.5Kg of ginger in a 7kg recipe! In the recipe below I’ve used a more moderate amount of ginger, but feel free to increase this if you’re a big ginger fan.

The vegetables used also vary – aubergine, daikon radish, courgettes, melons, burdock root, shiso leaves and various seaweeds are the most commonly mentioned, but modern recipes also tend to include carrots, peppers and garlic.

Some recipes also called for the addition of sake, mirin or soy sauce, but mostly in very small amounts. I’ve chosen to leave these out as they didn’t appear in the older recipes I found; but feel free to experiment by adding them to your dishes.

Note: I’m unable to eat soy or wheat so have created a recipe to avoid these ingredients. If you’re looking to make a traditional version, replace the rice koji and beans in the recipe below with a mix of rice koji, soy koji and barley koji.

Kinzanji Miso

Kinzanji miso is different to most other misos in that it is not used as a seasoning, but is designed to be eaten as a side dish. It is made by fermenting vegetables with koji to create a dish that is sweet and sour – the perfect accompaniment to most Japanese dishes.
Prep Time20 minutes
Fermentation Time30 days
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: fermented, Koji, miso
Servings: 24
Cost: £10

Equipment

  • 1 Steamer optional
  • 1 jar

Ingredients

  • 1 packet Umami Chef Rice Koji (200g) For authentic kinzanji miso replace the koji rice and cannellini beans in this recipe with 400g of mixed rice, soy and barley koji)
  • 60 g salt
  • 60 g sugar
  • 100 g honey
  • 150 g aubergine cubed and steamed
  • 100 g courgette cubed
  • 150 g carrot cubed
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced/grated
  • 200 g cannellini beans cooked

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients together, then pack into a jar.
  • Over the next few hours the vegetables will begin to release moisture, press the vegetables down until this liquid covers all the ingredients.
  • You now have a choice. You can either place a weight on top of the mixture, to keep all the ingredients submerged. Or you can stir it once a day, to prevent mold growth on the surface.
  • Cover with a cloth to prevent insects from entering. Then leave the miso at room temperature to ferment. In a hot room/airing cupboard (25'C) this might be as little as 3 weeks. In a colder room (15'C) this might be 8 weeks. It is edible throughout, so just taste and when you like it place in the fridge to stop the fermentation. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Note: I’m unable to eat soy or wheat so have created a recipe to avoid these ingredients. If you’re looking to make a traditional version, replace the rice koji and beans in the recipe with a mix of rice koji, soy koji and barley koji.

Mushroom Crackers – Vegan Alternative to Prawn Crackers

Mushroom Cracker

These vegan alternative to prawn crackers taste delicious! They require a bit of effort to make, but are well worth it for the knowledge they contain no colours or preservatives. 

The addition of shio koji means that these vegan crackers are just as delicious as the prawn version.

Enjoy!

Mushroom Crackers

Vegan alternative to prawn crackers
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time7 minutes
Dehydrate12 hours
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Fusion
Keyword: crackers

Equipment

  • Dehydrator
  • Steamer
  • Deep fryer
  • Food Processor

Ingredients

  • 200 g chestnut mushroom
  • 150 ml shio koji approx 7% salt content
  • 75 g red onion
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 400 g Tapioca Flour
  • 100 ml water

Instructions

  • Blend mushrooms, onion, shio koji and pepper to a puree
  • Add tapioca flour and water and mix
  • Place a layer of cling film onto a baking tray. Pour in a thin later of the mixture, then use a second layer of cling film to create as thin a layer of batter as possible
  • Steam for 7 minutes
  • Gently peel off the cling film
  • Place in a dehydrator and dehydrate until sheet is so brittle it snaps easily (mine took 12 hours at 50'C) Note: The bottom corners of this sheet are too thick, for the perfect cracker it should be transparent at this stage. Thick bits can still be fried, but they aren't as light and crispy.
  • Break the sheet into pieces (this sheet shows desired transparency)
  • Deep fry at 170'C until crackers puff and rise to the surface. Drain on a piece of kitchen towel and enjoy!
    Mushroom Cracker

Wild Garlic Preserved in Simmered Shio Koji

Wild garlic in shio koji

A twist on the Korean, Kkaennip Jorim – which normally uses perilla leaves. This version uses wild garlic, but you could use other similar leaves – like spinach, chard or the original perilla leaves.

I also used strained shio koji instead of soy sauce – creating a gluten free, soy free side dish. Strained shio koji is obtained by filtering out the rice solids from shio koji. This can be done with a strainer or filter, to produce a clear liquid. You could use a light soy sauce instead.

The finished product is a delicious side dish. Perfect simply served with plain boiled rice, or with a range of other Korean dishes.

Wild Garlic Preserved in Simmered Shio Koji

A twist of the Korean side dish Kkaennip Jorim, this side dish uses wild garlic instead of perilla leaves.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
2 days
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: shio koji, wild garlic
Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 150 ml strained shio koji Remove the rice solids from shio koji with a filter/strainer to create a clear liquid. Or use a light soy sauce.
  • 3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 2 cm ginger peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 spring onions chopped
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Korean chilli flakes
  • 200 g wild garlic

Instructions

  • Add all the ingredients, except the wild garlic to a sauce pan and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Leave to cool
  • Transfer to a jar and then add the wild garlic
  • Add a weight, to ensure nothing floats above the surface
    Wild garlic in shio koji
  • Leave for at least two days, then enjoy as a side dish