Jalapeño Kasuzuke

Jalapeno Kasuzuke

A master class by Kevin Farley of The Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley, California on using sake kasu, or the microbe rich remains after a sake is pressed, to make pickles.

Although there is a tradition of using something like this to ferment or preserve vegetables, fish, meat or even to make condiments throughout Asia, over at least the last 500 years the Japanese have developed an extensive array of pickles (tseukemono) and food preparation techniques that are acclaimed throughout the world.

In a sense, the Japanese have codified the ways in which they make pickles, each type it’s own class. Of course, a specific locality might have a way they make their pickles. What is available after the harvest, or sometimes what can be foraged, often dictates what gets pickled.

But the technique pretty much remains constant. As with all fermentations getting to the appropriate water content of what is being pickled or , usually by using salt or some drying technique, is the paramount concern.

As Kevin explains in this video, if water from a vegetable crashes out into the pickling medium it can change the entire fermentation process. One of the more brilliant techniques used by The Cultured Pickle Shop is to create a type of mirin, a traditional Japanese cooking seasoning, from the kasuzuke brine.

How that is then aged or immediately utilized is discussed, as well as the characteristics of aged kasu itself. This very little known technique of aging sake kasu to be used in a year or two to make pickles based on the taste of the kasu is also explained.

This video was originally created to celebrate the release of Sandor Katz’ Fermentation Journeys, one of Sandor’s many amazing books. In fact, you can pick up a copy when you visit The Cultured Pickle Shop.

Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources. Coming May 2022

Indian Himalayas: Cheese

Maeshraej Cheese or Kalari is a cheese from the Indian Himalayans. In this video by Anita Tikoo, a longtime friend and contributor to Cultures.Group, she explains the wonders of this cheese. Sometimes they are sun dried and a very tasty fungus grows on them. Most people have no idea of the amazing cheeses made throughout India for thousands of years.

Anita is a practicing Landscape Architect who enjoys cooking with seasonal ingredients. In her terrace garden she grows some of the foods that fuel the ferments in her kitchen. She conducts online Food Workshops where like-minded people join her in the kitchen on weekends to cook with locally sourced seasonal ingredients, and has recently started pop-ups with some great Indian Chefs, Bakers and Brewers.

Anita has been baking sourdough breads at home for years using her lively wild yeast starter and local flours. Anita blogs about food matters at A Mad Tea Party Her Instagram handle is a_madteaparty

According to Kashmiri Life: “Kalari cheese is one of the favorite snacks of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Kalari is a dense cheese and is also called the mozzarella of Kashmir. Like mozzarella, it melts on heating and hardens on cooling. The flavor and taste of Kashmiri cheese are just fingers licking well.

Folklore says Kalari is an authentic traditional cheese of the Dogra dynasty of Jammu and Kashmir. Kalari is indigenous to Ramnagar, a town in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir. As shepherds the Gujjar and Bakarwals are highly dependable on Milk, it is popular among the Gujjar and Bakarwal community of Jammu and Kashmir. This cheese is also called “milk chapatti” or “maish krej” in Kashmiri.

Traditionally Kalari cheese is made from Cow’s or Buffalo’s milk but nowadays people also made Kalaris from Goat’s milk, which is whitish in color. Preparation of Kalaris takes hard labor and the nomadic women of Jammu and Kashmir have proved to be the best in this Task.

Preparation of kalari cheese of Jammu and Kashmir is women power: 

Yes, the women play the most important role in Kalari preparation. It is more like a skill that has been passed on among every Gujjar and Bakarwal women folk in Jammu and Kashmir from generation to generation.

December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III, author of Fruit from the Sands . Co-hosted by Zizinia de Les Flors’ Caspar Hall. The last Zoom event is free, as they all have been over the last 11 years.

Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources.

Anita Tikoo’s Kalari Cheese Sandwich

Rice as Medicine and Food

“Like the millets, Asian rice first evolved in eastern China but eventually became prized in cuisines far to the West. Rice is indispensable in Arabic and Turkic cuisines today, and it was a significant part of the diet, at least as far as back as the medieval period. Persian, Arabic, and Islamic cuisines cook rice in oil or steam it and serve it with a wide variety of vegetables, spices, and meats. Rice also featured in the diet in other ways: It was an important component of medieval Arabic desserts, rice flour was used to make breads, rice was fermented into beer and vinegar, and it was used medicinally. However, among most Central Asian cuisines today it’s starring role is in pilaf.” from Fruits from the Sands by Robert Spengler III.

“Long grain basmati and short grain rice . Anyone who has eaten rice with curry at an Indian restaurant and the sticky rice in sushi rolls knows that rice grains vary in  shape. Although there are many varieties of domesticated rice, they fall mainly into two well defined clades, or branches: O. sativa ssp. indica and O. sativa ssp. japonica- or Indian and Chinese rice. Indica Rice is generally long-grained: the claimed is exemplified by the well known basmati rice. Japonica is usually short-grained and is sometimes referred to as pearl rice. Many locally grown Asian varieties are intermediate in size between indica and japonica. Many japonica grains become sticky, or glutinous, with cooking, although there are glutinous and nonglutinous forms of both japonica and indica. Some varieties of both clades have traits that make them suitable for growing in wet paddies, other forms are adapted to grow on drained land.” from Fruits from the Sands by Robert Spengler III.

December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III, author of Fruit from the Sands . Co-hosted by Zizinia de Les Flors’ Caspar Hall. The last Zoom event is free, as they all have been over the last 11 years.

Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources.

%d bloggers like this: