Umami chef is delighted that 3 of their newly launched products have all won accolades at the Farm and Deli Shop product awards. Our sweet white miso made from British fava beans picked up a silver award, as did our filtered shio koji. Our unfiltered shio koji also picked up a bronze award
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.
- 1 Steamer optional
- 1 jar
- 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
- 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!
This quick, sweet miso makes a soup that tastes just like a British Green Pea soup. Once the miso has matured the soup is ready in the time it takes to boil a kettle.
Blue Pea Miso
- Place the peas in a bowl, cover with water, then leave to soak in a fridge overnight
- Rinse the peas, transfer to a saucepan and then boil gently, until soft (approx 45 minutes)
- Drain, then leave to peas to cool. Once cool, add the koji and salt.
- Blend until well combined. If using for a soup a smooth paste is best, but feel free to leave chunky if you're using the miso in other ways.
- Press the miso into a clean jar, ensuring all air pockets are removed. Then lightly sprinkle surface with salt. Cover (eg. with a muslin secured with an elastic band), then place in a warm place (eg. in an airing cupboard) for 10 days.
- After 10 days, scrape off the salt and transfer to a fridge. To make the soup, just stir a tablespoon of miso into a mug of stock.
Red lentil miso is probably the quickest miso you can make – you don’t need to soak the beans overnight and the lentils cook in under 20 minutes. Then it’s just a case of mixing the cooled lentils with koji and salt and pressing into a jar.
This miso will probably be at its best after about 4 months, but will be ready faster if the temperature is especially warm (higher than 30°C) or longer if the temperature is less than 20°C.
This red lentil miso is a delicious sweet miso that works especially well in soups and salad dressings.
Red Lentil Miso
- 150 g Red Lentils
- 1 packet Umami Chef Koji
- 35 g Salt
- Weigh out the lentils and then cook until soft
- Drain them well, trying to remove as much water as possible.
- Once the lentils are cool, mix in the koji and salt.
- Ensure the koji and salt and evenly distributed through the mixture
- Form the mixture into balls, squeezing out as much air as you can. If the balls crack and fall apart the mixture is too dry and a small amount of cooled, boiled water should be added. If the balls ooze water, place in a muslin cloth and try to squeeze out as much as possible.
- Press the balls into a clean jar, removing as much air as possible. Then sprinkle the surface with a layer of salt. Add a weight to the top of the miso, to squeeze out as much air and liquid as possible, Then leave at room temperature for 4 months