We have thousands of videos we want to share and hundreds of thousands of videos, but to what end? Information changes so quickly that trying to keep up with it prevents people from learning from each other, let alone even listening.
So, we’re going through them all and only posting the ones we think are useful now and in the next year at the very least.
If you have a specific question after you watch one of our videos or read one of our posts, please ask. We will distill your questions into compact, easy to understand posts and videos as best we can.
This video is about the role of water in chemical and other enzymatic reactions. In other words, knowing how to manipulate the water content of food on a macro or very microscopic level is the key to preserving food, fermenting food, cooking food or just preparing it to ingest it.
Hopefully, the videos will help you to see how we apply our knowledge of both science and cooking to create great tasting foods and beverages. The only thing you won’t learn about here is how to buy something we make or write.
1 1/2 pounds or 680 grams boneless chickens thighs or breasts cut into pieces
1/2 cup or 112 grams truffle shio-koji (or mince a truffle or dried mushroom into shio-koji)
Marinate the chicken in the truffle shio-koji for two hours. Add the ingredients below to the chicke and marinate again for 2 hours.
3/4 cup or 118 grams sake
1 egg or 56 grams
Rub the sake and egg into the chicken, blending it together with the truffle shio-koji. Marinate for another hour. Wipe off the chicken as best as you can into the bowl with marinade. Try to save ever last drop of the marinade.
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup or 184 grams all purpose flour or corn flour
1 tsp coarse sea salt
Oil for frying (about 4 cups)
Mix the baking powder, salt, and flour together. Add to the reserved marinade. It will be pretty thick at this point. Dip the chicken pieces in this and let them sit for as long as you like in the fridge. Or fry immediately. Try and get batter on each piece of chicken as you slide it into the heated oil.
Add the chicken a piece at a time while turning up the heat for just a few seconds until you get half of the chicken in the oil. You need to make this in two batches (or cut the recipe in half). After the first batch skim the oil well, removing any browned bits.
Make sure the pieces are not sticking to the pan. Shake the pan very gently or give them a little push with your tongs or chop sticks
These will cook and brown very fast so turn them over after two minutes at medium high heat. Then let them fry for another 2 minutes at best. Remove from the oil and let drain if you don’t serve them right away on a bowl of rice or another grain or mashed celery root (celeriac).
I typically have a second pan waiting to heat the oil up for a second batch, after I strain the oil through a very fine mesh strainer.
If you don’t serve this right away, or eat it all chill it overnight in the fridge and eat it cold with a truffle oil mayonnaise, or a simple mild vinegar based vinaigrette.
This is also a great way to make a fast chicken parmiggiano. Place whatever type of cheeses you like over the chicken – truffled cheese, mozzarella, parmesan or even Gruyere or Emmental heat in a 400F oven for 15 minutes.
Also, if you don’t have truffles or mushrooms, shred some perilla or shiso leaves into the shio koji before adding the sake and egg. You could also use milk kefir, buttermilk, chicken stock or cold miso soup instead of the sake. You could also use a light colored seitan or other plant protein – just don’t stew it in soy sauce – instead of the chicken.
We made a big batch of basic miso – over a gallon – using converted brown rice and canned organic chick peas. It’s very tasty, easy and inexpensive. As is, it makes a great basic miso. It’s also gluten free and contains no soy products.
However, we added some really special ingredients to it to make 3 different kinds of miso. It’s something we like to do when we make miso. If you have the base, why not create variety? So we made a black garlic miso, a koji cured bacon miso, and a truffle shio-koji miso.
Roasted dried mushrooms of any type work really well if you can’t get truffles. You can add just about anything to it, including dried or partially dried vegetables, or even dried fish.
This is a 4 part series. If you have any questions or think something was left out let us know.
2700 grams rice koji (koji recipe)
5 cups or 850 grams canned chick peas, cooked and drained
2 1/2 cups or 385 grams of coarse sea salt
1 cup or 150 grams of black garlic
1/4 pound or 106 grams cooked bacon (koji cured preferred, but smoked is okay)
1/4 cup truffle shio koji (or dried mushroom powder)
After you have bought or made your rice koji, grind it up if dried or mash with the salt while still fresh and slightly warm. Let sit for an hour or more, then add in the cooked and very well drained garbanzo beans. The beans should have been pressure steamed for 10 minutes, or just heartily boiled for about 15 minutes.
If you mash up the beans before hand they will easily mix with the rice. As you mix, the water inside the beans will make it so that no additional liquid is necessary. After mixing, let sit covered for up to 48 hours at room temperature before remixing and packing it into a container. You could also just pack your miso into a container straight away.
We had a leftover, heavy cardboard box that was the perfect size for making rice koji in. We took a 5 pound bag of parboiled rice and rice it off very well. We then put it in a preheated 350F oven in a stainless steel container. The rice was well wrapped with foil to prevent dryness or steam escape.
As soon as we put the rice in the oven we turned it off and let the rice sit undisturbed for 12 hours. It easily fluffed up and was cooked but not at all mushy. We then added a teaspoon of Aspergillus oryzae (tane koji spores) and grew the koji out on the rice. We then made 3 different types of miso from the koji.
Some people actually start off to make miso with an eye towards using some or all of that miso at a later date, typically to blend with another miso. A blended miso is called an awasemiso.
We considered awasemisos as a way to build layers of flavor. Let’s say you took a sweet red miso and blended it with a mellow white miso. Is there a way you could have just made that blended miso from the start?
You could get pretty close, but why would you lessen the number of miso types you had to chose from? You couldn’t unblend it if you wanted to use mellow white miso.
That’s why we try to always create distinct items that can be blended with something else, or have something added to some of it to create a new item. Although this onion awasemiso is a blended miso, it can still be considered a distinct item.
You can use it just about any way that you would use chicken soup if you added some to hot water. You could use it just like you would a chicken bouillon cube.
Take a tablespoon of this miso and add iot to an oil and vinegar dressing, or a cup of mayonnaise. Then dress greens, or steamed vegetables or a pasta salad with it. Mix it wit buttter and use it as a bread sprea. Or like a compond butter.
1 cup or 154 grams kosher salt
2 cups or 180 grams dried onions
3 cups or 552 grams ground rice koji
18 – 20 cups or 4000 grams miso
This recipe combines multiple techniques such as slow baking (or sun dehydrating) a miso for several days, or even freezing it when you want to stop it’s fermentation. We used baked corn and aged corn misos. You don’t need additional. Just keep mixing the miso.
If you start off with a wheat and soybean free base, like we did here, everything you create from there on out can be wheat and soybean free. If that’s not a concern, use soybeans. It’s very hard to beat the protein content of soybeans, although some people prefer garbanzo beans.
After a while, most misos and soy sauces begin to taste the same. That’s why we always have shio-koji on hand as well. Because that, too, can be blended with a miso to make a really spectacular awasemiso. Or used instead of miso if you don’t want that miso taste.
Taste. That’s another reason why we like awasemisos so much. Let’s say you have a 3 month old miso that you had planned to cure for 9 months. At 3 months most misos taste pretty good. A little young and not quite ready maybe, but still tasty.
Specialty misos made with roasted corn, for example, really taste like fresh corn. At 9 months the fresh corn taste might turn into s more mature deep taste that isn’t so corn forward. So why not bake or sun dry some of that, and add some older corn miso, thereby memorializing that young corn taste?
That’s what we do here. But we also do something that makes it more of a namemiso. We add more ground up rice koji, and in this case lots of dried onions.
In 30 days, this will be a explosively tasty miso that will make anything you put it in be several times tastier than it was before. And it will be ready to do that for whatever you have on hand.
Have some fresh gardens vegetables. Wash, trim them and remove some of the water from them if you like by salting them down. Add some miso, and possibly some vinegar or oil. We do that with fresh tomatoes all the time.
When you aren’t really sure what you’ll have access to, having this suoer tasty miso on hand makes whatever you can get taste great, and be super nutritious as well.
The taste of Sour is associated with Spring (and one of the five elements, Wood). Sour foods are said to be good for the liver and gall bladder. Vinegar, sauerkraut and other lactofermented foods, citrus fruits, and sourdough bread are classified as sour foods.
Chef Ken Fornataro will discuss food and beverages based on the principles of five elements traditional Chinese medicine, and the five tastes. A specific organ or organ system of the human body is nourished by each of these tastes. Each taste has either warming or cooling energy, as well as a season.
Combining one or more of these tastes, like adding lemon or ginger to a piece of fried fish, creates compelling taste sensations while balancing the body’s energies.
Ken’s Instagram virtual event on April 19th from 6 to 6:45 will include ways to create these flavors using cultures, alone or in combination:
Aspergillus (chhu or koji) and other filamentous fungus types grown on substrates including rice, millet, wheat, chocolate, mushrooms, seaweed, meats, fish, brans and bogassa
Rhizopus grown on rice, corn, fruits, fish, nuts, shellfish, squash, beans and other vegetables to make interesting fermented, preserved and inoculated foods and beverages such as #miso, baking flours, amino sauces and pastes, wines and other unique beverages.
Enzymes, Bacteria, Acids, and Yeasts, including malts, isolated out to create cultures to make functional and filling foods and beverages. For example, specific enzymes that come from koji can make doboroku, a country style sake, as well as barley malt or rice syrup.
Using these cultures, Ken will demonstrate how we create the five flavors by making five dishes that combine one or more of these cultures to make different types of kojis, misos, sauces, pastry and pickles.
Chocolate koji, corn, chipotle, and pickled onion mole
Peanut Koji and Sweet Shrimp Kecap Manis
Double fermented baked awasemiso
Tempeh and red pepper shoyu
White Soy Sauce with koji cured mushrooms
Ken will demonstrate tasty, functional, medicinal, balancing, and strengthening food and beverages based on the principles of five elements traditional Chinese medicine, and the five tastes that have underlined all the worlds greatest cuisines for over ten thousand years. In combination, the above categories can create amazing, layered taste sensations.
Ken’s Instagram virtual event on April 19th from 6 to 6:45 presentation will briefly discuss:
Aspergillus (chhü or koji) and other filamentous fungus types grown on things (substrates) including rice, millet, wheat, chocolate, mushrooms, seaweed, meats, fish, brans, and bogassa to make fermented, preserved and inoculated foods, beverages, baked goods, pickles, sweets, and condiments.
Rhizopus grown on rice, corn, fruits, fish, nuts, shellfish, squash, beans, and other vegetables to make interesting fermented, preserved and inoculated foods and beverages such as tempeh, baking flours, misos, amino sauces and pastes, wines and other unique beverages.
Enzymes, Acids, Bacteria, and Yeasts, including malts, isolated out to create cultures to make functional and filling foods and beverages that are tasty as well as easier to make. For example, we’ll use specific amylase enzymes that come from rice koji to make doboroku, a country style sake. You could also just use the rice, but this is an example of the conveniences created by science.
As promised, we will further discuss the physiology of taste, and the receptors that influence how and how much we taste and smell, but also health. Combination therapy is the key. Properly balanced or combined as demonstrated in the food and drinks we describe, new flavors are unlocked, and new tasted are unbound.
In the last 100 years spectacular advances in food microbiology have demonstrated how traditional techniques were well reasoned out. They worked in the context of the place they were made in. They provide a roadmap to adjust to ever changing resources and food supply and accessibility issues, climate change and cultural changes.
We hope to be able to show you how to make many different types of koji, jiangs, soy sauce, shrimp miso, green tomatillo ketchup, koji and rhizopus cured coffee, manis kecap, tempeh flours, pickles, fruit and herb shrubs, malted sweets, and fermented chocolate breads. If we don’t have time, you’ll see recipes and hopefully videos for these very soon.
Always with an eye on affordability, accessibility and functionality.