Truffle Fritters

Truffle flecked chicken fritter.
A light colored seitan (wheat meat or plant protein) – don’t stew it in soy sauce – also works incredibly well in this recipe.

  • 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.

In the meantime we started wilting spinach – use whatever greens, including alfalfa and corn sprouts, that you have – with a tablespoon of very finely minced preserved lemon to serve with the fritters. You don’t need oil for this salad if serving with the fritters.

  • 3/4 cup or 118 grams sake
  • 1 egg or 56 grams

Chicken bathing in sake and truffle shio-koji

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.

Fine Mesh Oil Skimmer/Strainer. Also works very well to strain gallons of tea made with loose leaves, or even a soy sauce or shoyu after a first bulk straining.

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.

Super Powers – Rice Koji with R.oryzae and A.oryzae

An in depth discussion of how to grow koji on fragrant long grain rice using a combination of A.oryzae and R. oryzae cultures or spores from these filamentous fungi.

In the coming weeks we will be publishing quite a few recipes that use this super enzyme charged rice! Using this you can both preserve and extend and improve the life and quality of what you eat.

Perfectly Steamed Rice Yearning for Spores

Kojify All the Things with All The Spores!

A discussion of all the things you can make koji on. With All The Spores.

Make koji using A oryzae, or combined Rhizopus oryzae and A.oryzae for koji or tempeh. Also, intro to make koji on green coffee, chocolate, toasted rice, rice flakes, soy grits, corn bran and more.

Three Misos

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.

Quick Box Koji

Powdered Rice Koji. It’s a thing. A Smart Thing.

  • 5 pound bag of parboiled rice
  • 1 tsp Aspergillus oryzae

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.

Kombu Creations and Class

  • Learn about the five basic tastes, the relation between tastes and the representative chemicals that bring out the flavor in foods, which daily diets include umami components, and how to enhance the umami flavor.
  • Experience comparison tasting tests of several kinds of Dashi, soup stock which is essential for Japanese cuisine, and learn about washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) to explore why Dashi is the key of Japanese cuisine.
  • This forum will give you hands on experience making dashi from kombu from Japan, where it is typically grown on ropes in the cold seas.
  • Sunday, March 1, 2020 2:00pm-3:30pm at RESOBOX in the East Village at 91 E 3rd St, New York, NY 10003 (Map) Event Fee: $15


Kombu belongs to the brown kelp family. It contains fucoidan, a substance that researchers have been studying as a treatment for kidney diseases and disorders for decades.

It also has been studied for rheumatoid arthritis, colon cancer prevention, and is a great thing to add to beans to help break down sugars such as raffinose that can be very hard for humans to digest.

Kombu is a nutritional powerhouse that should be included in everyone’s diet, if only for the glutamates, and of course their digestive properties. But you really have to know how to use it correctly.

Kombu is well-known as an essential raw material for making a soup stock called Dashi for Japanese cuisine. It is significantly rich in umami components, such as glutamate. The umami taste can be enhanced by 7 times with the other umami components from meat or fishes.

This is called “umami synergy” and is used in a lot of cuisine around the world. In Japan, dashi with its enhanced umami is used for many dishes, including miso soup, nabe (Japanese style hot pot), simmered dishes, pickles and salads.

This presentation is led by Shunsuke Kondo. Shunsuke-san is an experienced chemist who graduated with a master’s degree in chemistry. He’s working with RESOBOX and culturesgroup for this collaborative event.

Okui Kaiseido Co., Ltd. will provide the konbu. This company is one of the oldest – founded in 1871 – and most famous Kombu makers in Japan.

Taste Comparing Tests:

Try tasting the enhanced flavor of umami in this event and enjoy several Dashi made from different kinds of Kombu!

・Dashi from only Kombu
・Dashi from only dried bonito
・Dashi from Kombu and dried bonito (called “Awase Dashi”)
・Awase Dashi with salt
・Awase Dashi with miso
・Dashi from several kinds of Kombu
・Seasoned Dashi, “HONDASHI” (containing MSG)

Attendees will have the option of trying a cup (about 50-100mL) of Seasoned Dashi (Hondashi which contains MSG) but only as a tasting comparison.

The other dashis will not have any MSG in them and will be made of natural ingredients (please see the full list above).

Of course, there is no need for participants to try that specific dashi and they will be informed if they would like to opt-out of trying it.

Microbes Eat Corn

Corn Tempeh made by Ferment.Works

Aspergillus oryzae (koji) chomping down on corn to make koji that will serve almost a hundred purposes, about as many as the types of corn (races) known to exist.

Corn Shoyu – Recipe

  • 10 cups/2200 grams steamed yellow grits corn koji (A. sojae)
  • 2 cups/300 grams kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups/425 grams ground corn masa koji
  • 2 cups /500 grams water
  • 3 cups/550 grams corn masa, toasted
  • 2 cups/275 grams dark brown roasted corn
  • 1 cup 120F water

    Keep at 92F to 100F for two weeks, stirring every day. Cover but not tightly. Then add:
  • 2 cups 120F water
  • 65 grams coarse sea salt
  • 3/4 cup 170 grams non-nixtamalized whole corn koji, ground

    After 6 weeks at 92F to 95F (3 to 6 months if at 72F) strain. Use the lees or dregs, if any, for a pickling bed, a moromi type miso, or the base of another shoyu or amino sauce or paste. This should yield a solid gallon.

You could replace all the corn koji with barley koji. or brown rice koji, but still keep the toasted masa and the browned corn.

Soy sauce, but really corn sauce because of microbial enzymes and corn without beans. Next post we’ll include another corn shoyu made with beans and another corn koji, while we slowly hit you with just a little science behind the bacteria, yeasts, fungus and koji types behind shoyu.
September 9th Events at Resobox
  • Monday, September 9 , 2019
  • 2:10 PM –  3:50 PM, $20 register here
  • Resobox, Long Island City, New York, New York (MAP)

Asian ferments like miso, tempeh, shoyu, pickles, amasake and shio koji, and even sake and vinegar, can be made with corn. Chef Ken Fornataro of culturesgroup and Kirsten Shockey of will demonstrate how wild and cultured microbes like koji (miso, sake, shio koji), lactobacteria (pickles) and Rhizopus (tempeh, oncom) make tasty, unique and nutritious foods. Class participants will be learning about and tasting:

  • Caviar Lentil soup with Corn Tempeh croutons
  • Hokkaido Ramen corn chowder (in red curry broth)
  • Corn and radish and roasted shrimp kimchi
  • Hominy and onion salad and pepper salad, corn shoyu dressing
  • Sweet corn, lavender lemon cornbread
  • Tomato salad with parsley, corn vinegar, and extra virgin corn oil dressing
  • Corn shio-koji roasted glazed corn nuts
  • Corn Amasake Chai (Iced Tea) 
  • Doboroku (country style sake made with corn and rice)

Everyone will receive a bag of corn miso. Depending on seasonal availability we may have to have substitutions for the above dishes, and we may also have some things you can buy to take out:

  • Eggplant and ginger namemiso, spicy eggplant corn hagosuchizuke (corn koji)
  • Corn, Raisin, Cinnamon, Molasses and spice corn cookies
  • Assorted one, two and three year old misos will be for sale during the event, as will as take out bento boxes for those unable to attend class

If you would like to purchase one of the Shockey’s books at the event let us know at or order online at

Corn, Squash, Black Bean and Rice Tempeh

Fermentation Workshop

  • Monday, SEPTEMBER 9 , 2019
  • 4:00 PM –  6:00 PM
  • Resobox (Map)
  • $20 Event Fee


Ken Fornataro

Ken has been cooking, fermenting and preserving vegetables, seeds, grains, fish and legumes with A. oryzae, yeasts and bacteria since childhood. He was taught traditional Japanese, Chinese and Russian foods, fermentation and preservation techniques to make koji, miso, shoyu, vinegar, sake, jiangs and pickles by Aveline and Michio Kushi, William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi, and Jewish and Christian Eastern European immigrants. He is working on a book related to food, fermentation, microbiology and semiotics as Executive Chef for

Kirsten and Shockey

Kirsten and Christopher are the co-authors of bestselling Fermented VegetablesFiery Fermentsand the new Miso, Tempeh, Natto and other Tasty Ferments books that came from their desires to both help people eat in new ways, both for the health of themselves and the planet. They got their start in fermenting foods twenty years ago on a 40-acre hillside smallholding which grew into their local organic food company. They travel worldwide helping people to learn to make, enjoy and better connect with their food. Their current work is building their relationship with R. oligosporus and R. oryzae and how these fungal ferments interact with grains and legumes to transform our foods for both nourishment and flavor. You can find them at Ferment.Works

Contact culturesgroup:

Like the Aztecs considered ashes in their corn pots as a blessing, so did the Chinese recognize and make use of the microbial gifts that natured blessed them with. Microbial enzymes make corn’s nutrients available while disarming anti-nutritional factors.

All cultures depend on the ability to metabolize potential food sources. None of this would be possible without the enzymes created by the yeast, fungus and bacteria present in and on corn. 

Just as we have learned how to use Potassium or Calcium Hydroxide with corn, Chef Ken Fornataro will describe how corn treated with microbial enzymes from Aspergillus, Rhizopus, and Lactobacteria can make tasty pickles, vinegar, beer, miso, beans, sauces, meat and fish. September 8th at The New School.

  • Sunday, September 8, 2019
  • 9:00 AM to  3:00 PM
  • New School, Tishman Auditorium, New York City (Map)

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