Cultured Orange Cake


Remove the peel from the oranges with a vegetable peeler and blend with the rest of the orange when making the cake. This will ensure better distribution of orange (or whatever citrus) flavor you choose.

We made this cake first with chopped up whole oranges with peel removed for better distribution made like betterazuke pickles. Those are the type of pickles usually layered with a whole lot of salt, sugar and koji. They are often aged for a long time. Let us know if you want to do that.

Otherwise, a hack just requires some pre-made rice koji. An even easier all purpose hack is bto use kasu (the dregs from making doboroku or sake) with salt.

The easiest thing of all would be to just use your favorite sake or liquid shio koji.

Whatever you decide to do, this is a really tasty, versatile and easy to make pound cake like treat with just a blender.



Ingredients
  • 450 grams or 16 ounces cultured butter
  • 2 TB shio-koji (salt koji or liquid shio koji)
  • 294 grams or 2 cups organic coconut palm sugar
  • 3 extra large or 200 grams of eggs
  • 420 grams or 1 to 2 navel oranges, pureed.
  • 1 TB lemon, orange, or vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 486 grams or 3 cups flour


Liquid shio-koji can now be purchased online or from many Asian grocery stores. Our friends at The Japanese Pantry and at MTC Kitchen also sell it (and lots of other really cool ingredients). Check out your local Sunrise Mart near Brooklyn Kura if you are in the area.

There is really no difference between liquid shio-koji and the pastier version except for perhaps salt content and a little water. You can blend your butter with liquid shio koji and let it ferment for days or weeks in the refrigerator. You can do the same with the oranges, as we did for four weeks.

Let them ferment for as long as you like. Or not. It’s all good. You can also blend rice koji with water until a paste forms. Add more water and some salt and you have shio-koji. Keep it at 135F for 6 hours and you have the same exact shio-koji that people take weeks to make. The enzymatic activity is the same.

The salt reduces the amylase enzymes that digest sugar and increases the protease enzymes that like proteins. But it will still be a fleetingly sweet and savory marinade and all purpose condiment.

Again, you can always just take out your blender and make a thick paste of the wet ingredients and blend into the flour mix. Simplest, best cake ever.


Icing

The icing for this was originally made by creating an amasake type paste using tapioca starch and Aspergillus oryzae (koji) grown out on orange peels. Perhaps this is a new technique to you.


Orange and shio-koji and tapioca sugar icing

As I described this was recreated from the notes from researchers working with spent coffee grinds, cassava peels, fruit waste, peanuts, wheat bran, soybeans, ad other things that were of enormous interest then and now.

By then I mean in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We will be publishing a whole lot more on these things with recipes using a wide range of Aspergillus types as well as other filamentous fungus (like the ones used to make tempeh) we’ve been making since the 1970s.

Here is a really easy and very tasty way to make this very quickly just like your grandma did back then. We just finished filming a series of videos about making and using shio koji or salted rice koji, but you could also follow the old school way we describe here that most people still think is the way to make shio koji or just buy some from one of the many online or retail outlets that sell it. Either the liquid shiio-koji or the paste works as well.


Ingredients
  • 2 TB fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 cups or 56 grams confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp teaspoon liquid shio-koji
  • More confectioner’s sugar as desired if you want it thicker)

Whisk everything together really well. Either serve on the side of the cake when the cake is completely cooled down on a towel, or drizzle over the cake.

Blend together the pureed orange and egg base with the flour and soda. Bake at 350F for 45 to 50 minutes. Let the cake sit outside the oven for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pans. Let cool completely before icing. The icing is not required – you could just dust it with confectioner’s sugar – but it’s sweetness coupled with the orange zest and juice brings out layers of flavor in the cake.


Either drizzle the icing on the cooled cake, or serve on the side. You can add more citrus juice to the icing and let it soak in as well, but this cake is not at all sweet despite two cups of organic coconut palm sugar.

Turnip Ohistashi



The purple top turnips were used instead of celery root for two reasons. We like the taste and ease of preparation of this vegetable, and it is available fresh even during winter months. Slice the turnips into long matchsticks and massage with the coarse sea salt. You will end up losing about 20% of their original weight. You do not have to peel these if you don’t want to. Make sure they are well scrubbed though.



Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Rémoulade Sauce
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 TB shio-koji
  • 1 to 2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper (up to 1/2 tsp)
  • Green shiso leaves (or fresh dill or fresh tarragon or scallions)
  • 1 pound or 450 grams purple top turnips, julienned and salted down for at least four hours with 1 to 2 TB of coarse sea salt.


Once the turnips have been fast pickled in the salt soak them in cold water to remove the salt. You could chan ge the water several times. Squeeze the turnips very well to remove any excess water. They should only taste very lightly salted when biting into the center.



Mix all the ingredients together and serve immediately. A crisp apple, cut like the turnips, can be added right before serving as well. You could also grind up the celery seeds if you like. If you want to avoid the mayonnaise or Rémoulade sauce entirely, use another TB of shio koji and 2 tsp vinegar.

Rémoulade Sauce

Mayonnaise and Hollandaise -nEgg emulsions are one of the Mother Sauces in Classic French cooking, and are used in many other cuisines as well. Egg emulsion sauces are almost always made by combining an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice with eggs, then adding fat.

There is usualy enough water in these ingredients that help the sauce to stay together as they are made. If you ever have problems holding an egg emulsion sauce together try adding a very small amount of water, and putting it in a colder place.



Sauces that depend on an egg emulsion include Hollandaise Sauce, and Mayonnaise, and sometimes Vinaigrette (for salads). In some cases, the fat is heated along with the eggs while making the sauce, although that is not always required.

Of course, the acids can vary. We’ve used sour grapes, tart cherries, acid whey, and infusions of koji made with Aspergillus luchuensis to create citric acid that can replace the need for lemon, vinegar or anything else. Liquid shio-koji can also be used, bringing even more umami to the sauce.

The fat used in an egg emulsion sauce could be butter, olive oil, chicken fat, or even lard. In classic French cuisine, clarified butter is almost always used.

We’ll provide you lots of recipes for all these different variations things as we go along but remember in life, and especially in food that balance is the technique, layers of taste the rewards of knowing how to orchestrate the right tongue, mouth, and throat feel.

Smell is often the key to unlocking all the pleasure receptors you want to unlock with whatever it is you are eating or drinking. A lot of that depends on what you can unlock from fats. It also depends on what acid you use. And of course on the liquid, whether water, mushroom broth, fish sauce or microbe infused stock.


Egg Emulsion – Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is really just a cold version of Hollandaise. For this first sauce we kept it simple. Mother sauces, including the progeny of mayonnaise called Rémoulade, should always be capable of becoming the parent of another sauces.

If you add additional onion and fresh dill and sour cream – we do that often – it’s no longer a simple sauce. It would be pretty hard to create another sauce from such as sauce.

That’s not a good thing for a home cook, or a chef unless that is the end goal. With this sauce, you could easily make a dozen variations if you don’t need all the sauce at once.



Rémoulade Sauce
  • 1 3/4 cup or 365 grams mayonnaise
  • 2 TB mustard powder (regular or hot, your call)
  • 2 TB or 25 grams chopped capers
  • 1 TB or 16 grams sugar (organic, unrefined, not brown)
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 finely chopped scallions – around 1/4 cup
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon or 1 TB fresh tarragon

We are going to assume you either know how to make mayonnaise according to your taste, and if you don’t, how to buy whole egg or low fat or olive based or vegan mayonnaises from a store or online.

Mix the first five ingredients. Then, blend in the herbs and scallions. It should look like a mayonnaise with capers and herbs, not a green sauce. Let flavors meld for an hour or more.

This recipe makes 2 cups or 420 grams of sauce. It keeps really well in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. If you are going to use this right away, you could add the lemon juice from the lemons you grated for the peel. Add a 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 more TB capers if you want it to last longer.

This is great with turnip, kohlrabi or carrot ohitashi.


Basic Pickle Technique


Daikon Radish. Fresh, with bright green leaves. You could use carrots, kohlrabi, or another radish instead. Or mustard greens. Or kale. Follow the instructions in this recipe.

People have been fermenting and preserving food for at least 4,000 years. What tends to be forgotten is that preservation and fermentation methods almost always grew from a need to survive during periods of time – usually a change of seasons – when there was no fresh food available for months. 

This pickle is incredibly hard to keep down – as far as smell goes, anyway. An air lock that allows release of gas (carbon dioxide) is very useful at the start, as is wrapping it in several bags when refrigerating, but it will most likely smell anyway.

There are sulfur containing compounds in many of the ingredients and they tend to smell when they are broken down during the fermentation process.

If this is your first fermentation journey put a bowl under your pickles, or something that can catch potential spill over.

When ferments are still alive and unpasteurized, you get all the prebiotic and probiotic benefits including lots of vitamins and minerals. They are usually easier to digest, and tastier.

A temperature of 72F is usually a good temperature to keep your ferments under. Lower than that, and they will take longer.

This does not contain any koji or a starter culture other than the sourdough starter. It really depends on bacteria to make it sour and protect it. We’ll have hundreds of recipes that use koji and other cultures as we go along.

Try this and see if it serves as a good go to recipe for anything fresh you see at the market, or grow. Be aware of how the water or juice content changes.

This will become very important if you ever decide to start adding fermented shrimp, raw fish, or other high protein ingredients with another recipe, and making longer ferments.

Those ingredients may not have enough salt in them, so you would need to increase the salt in your recipe one way or another, and watch how it affects the water content and movement in your ferment.

Then again, salt can affect the enzymes in your ferment and that can spell disaster over time. For now, keep things clean and follow the recipe for this type of pickle.

Weighing your ingredients using grams as the basic measurement will avoid a world of regret and sorry. This is a fact.


Fast, Simple, Tasty Kimchi using sourdough starter throwaway

Sautéed Fermented Garlic. For this recipe you cold also steam it, but you should cook it.

  • 950 grams radish (3 medium sized) with stems, or another vegetable
  • 32 grams fresh ginger (organic, candied ginger also works very well)
  • 2 TB dried red pepper (or another mild pepper or 2 tsp good turmeric)
  • 62 grams or 4TB coarse sea salt. Use 1/2 the weight/2TB if using fine salt that doesn’t have anti-caking agents or added chemicals.
  • 62 grams peeled and de-stemmed garlic (fresh or pickled)
  • 104 grams or 1/2 cup wheat sourdough starter (rice paste or another starch if not available)
  • 1 TB sugar or dried fruits or diced apple or pear (optional)
  • 2 TB Fish sauce or fruit juice or kombu flakes or tamari (optional)

We first salted down our daikon radish (see salt amount above). After an hour, strain the liquid off, but save it. If this were cabbage, you would now rinse it very well and squeeze it out or let drip off. You would do the same with any greens, and things like zucchini or cucumbers as well.

Because we only put a quarter cup of salt (62 grams) on this amount of radishes, and we are going to ferment this with fish sauce – you don’t have to put fish sauce in here, and could replace it with seaweed or soy sauce – you don’t need to rinse anything off. An easier, yet still very tasty pickle.


Sautéed daikon greens, garlic and ginger

We sautéed the radish greens, garlic and ginger in 3 to 4 TB of rice bran oil. Use what oil you prefer, but a bland one. You could also use water.

Cool this mixture down before adding to the sourdough starter that has been mixed with the salty radish water you had left over from the hour long soak that released at least a cup of liquid.


Leftover sourdough starter that has been slow fermenting at 40F for 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Makes great pastas, and bread. Mix with other ingredients for the fastest gnocchi or dumplings you’ve ever made. Or use leftover baked potatoes or another starch.

The starch feeds the yeast and bacteria while your pickle becomes tasty and sourer over time. You could add a few pitted dates or sugar for the same reason if you like.

As the sugars are eaten bacteria known as lacto-bacteria (LAB) are produced. This lowers the PH, protecting your ferment from other microbes that are not invited.


Ingredients ready to be assembled.

We used 2 TB of Red Boat 40% because we had that much left in a bottle. You can use any fish sauce you want, or none at all. We also decided to add 2 tablespoon of red pepper.

Typically we’ll use fresh Holland red peppers, but the dried flakes that are sometimes caled Dutch chiles, might be easier to source. These are much milder than the cayenne peppers from which they were bred. By the Dutch, obviously. They are called gochugaru in Korean.

Some people are intolerant to pepper so be careful how much you use, and how you handle any pepper. Some people can’t even smell them without having an adverse (allergic) reaction.



Gloves are always a good idea, and a good habit to get into. Don’t ever touch your eyes, or other parts of your body if you think you may have gotten any juice on them.

Wash your gloves as you go along, and watch out for seeds. The seeds of hot peppers tend to be really hot.


No air lock because this was already finished, and was refrigerated.

This ferment should be done in five or six days. You can eat it when you like the taste. Keep it under the juices (also called the brine). Kimchi is one of those ferments we like to press down to remove air pockets that could rapidly spoil it. That’s also why it has to be under the brine.

Don’t stick unwashed or used utensils in a ferment to taste it, ever. You can ferment this or up to a month but eat it as soon as possible after that, even if refrigerated. This is not the kind of pickle that ages very well.

This is one of our favorite and easiest things to make because you have a really good pickle you could eat right away, or let ferment, pressed down under and under air lock for up to a month. It doesn’t even need refrigeration.