Happy new year! Mirin is ready!

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I can’t believe how quickly January goes. It is already 23rd of January! Happy new year to every one! Hope you had a great festive season. And also hope the rest of (almost) 11 months will be nice & happy days x

One of the thing I did this year is started to use homemade Mirin after more than 1 year of slow conversing into sugar from brown rice by koji – actually by the enzyme which was made from Koji.

It went really well!!
Smells beautiful, amazing amber colour. Very sweet. I am very happy about this outcome!
For squeezing, I used a hand-sawed cotton bag, but of course you can use any bags. Here is some other bags I use – recycled flour bag & cheese cloth FYI.

Inside of jar is like this.
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and just pouring this liquid, and separated from lees.
I normally use this wooden mould, which is for tofu making originally. You can use any sort of strainer.
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Mirining(!!) for just 2 bottles for this moment. I like this way. Bottling little by little and leave the rest for keep fermenting. And the lees (the one in the red bowl) !!! This is also amazing as well as Mirin.  Don’t throw it away, it can be used for many ways!  I mixed it with Miso and made marinade sauce this time.
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I’ve just realised I didn’t write anything when I made this Mirin in 2016. I will write about it shortly!!!
Sweet Mirin. Sweet 2018.  Hope you had a nice start of 2018.

Soy sauce making workshop

Soy sauce making workshop
I am very happy to run this Soy sauce making workshop this winter!!

May 28, 2017 (Sun) 10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30
June 3, 2017   (Sat)  10:00-12:30 / 14:00-16:30

I believe making (fermenting) these important condiment at home is a wonderful thing and very happy to share these technique with you!
In this workshop, we will use all Australian organic ingredients and start brewing your OWN soy sauce in Japanese traditional way.

It will be a exciting project for you! You will get high quality soy sauce which you can never purchase from supermarket!!

Just a allergic information. We use SPELT grain in this workshop.
For those who have trouble having spelt, please wait for Tamari workshop, which might been run in the future x

Please book through Contact page and let me know your requested date and time.
Looking forward to seeing you soon xx

Wooden barrel for Miso

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This is my lovely wooden barrel.
Beautifully made by artisan.
The joint is amazingly made.

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This miso (Brown rice miso) is just made (mixed), so the colour is light.
Over a year in this wooden barrel, it ferments nice and gently.

Surface is sealed with this bees wax wrap.

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After that, all we do is wait for the Miso to mature in this wooden barrel.

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I just love this handsome look.

Home made shio Koji

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Shio-koji is one of the key seasoning in my cooking, so I regularly make it so that it never run out.
My version of Shio-Koji is fermented more than 1 month before using. Long and slow ferment. This length brings deep and complex taste.
(Well, I don’t use fridge, so…actually my Shio-Koji’s fermentation will keep going until I finish it)

So easy to make it by yourself!
What you need is….

Rice koji           300g
Natural salt    100g
Water               300ml

This is the Rice koji I made recently.
Nice and fluffy!

I normally use Australian one, but this time, I used NZ natural sea salt.
You can play with your favourite salt as long as use natural good quality one!

And mix them well !!!!  That’s it.
Actually, it already smells good! When you use good fresh Koji, that’s happens.
Love this moment.

Update on Mirin (Vol.2)

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Thank you for waiting this so long.
I received many requests on this progress and result.

If you would like to read previous post, here are the ones for you.
-Making Mirin in Melbourne
-Update on Mirin

After more than 6 months….
Opened the bottles and checked its aroma.

Mirin with Sake.
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Oops.
This is not right!!
This aroma is not right. Not too bad, but not quite right.
When you deal with fermented food, I think it is very important to believe your nose.
Use your five senses, especially sense of smell.
So it was unfortunate, but I gave up to taste this.

What about one with Shotsu??

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This one actually smells sweet.
This aroma is good one!! 🙂 Smells just like Mirin.

Good! Now strains it!
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At first, with rough strainer.
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By the way, the things you got out of this strainer, you can use it for cooking,
especially….as fermentation pickling paste. I use it with fish.
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Then with fine cloth.
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Here is the freshly squeesed?? mirin!!
Still muddy (ricy?) thought, it will settled later.
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Like this.
Times make this more mellow.
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I took supernatant liquid and moved to the little bottle.
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It’s the Mirin, made in Melbourne!!
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I don’t know the real reason why my Mirin with Sake didn’t go well,
but my guess at the moment is alcohol contain % in Sake was too low.
Shotsu has more alcohol than Sake.
Next, I will try again with higher alcohol % contain Shotsu, 35% alc one.

Make your own “Sushi Mix”

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If you prepare and store this “Sushi mix” in your fridge, you can make Chirashi-sushi(ちらし寿司) anytime you feel like it.
You can keep it for a month, very useful, isn’t it?

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By the way, Chirashi-Sushi has mainly 2 different styles.
A) Sushi items on the Sushi rice
B) Sushi items mixed with Sushi rice

Depend on the place you are, you get different type of Chirashi-sushi when you are in sushi restaurant.

It seems like (A) can be seen sushi restaurant in Kanto Area (Around Tokyo)
If you order Chirasi-sushi in Kansai area (Around Osaka, Kyoto), you will get (B).

However, when you make Chirashi-sushi at home, more people make (B) style.
My family is from Kanto area, but we always made (B) type.
This is my mum’s version.
She always mix with grilled salmon. We call it Salmon Chirashi. (One of my favorite!!)
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I’ll show you how to make “Sushi Mix”. It is heaps better than the one you buy from the shop, the packaged instant one. Trust me.

Here is the recommended ingredients.
(Missing something? No worries. Still works)

Carrot, finely cut
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Dried gourd shavings or Kanpyo (かんぴょう)
Soaked in the water, and cut into the 2-3cm.

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Thin fried tofu or Abura-age

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Dried mushroom, Shiitake
Soaked in the water, and then slice them.
Keep the water, it can be a good Dashi. We will use it later.

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Preparation has done!
Now. Start cooking.

Cook Shiitake mushroom and Kanpyo in the Dashi(500ml) +Soy sauce (4tbs) + Mirin (3tbs).
For Dashi, use the shiitake soaked water. (if it is not 500ml, add water then make it 500ml)
Bring it boil and cook it for about 5 min.
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Then add salt (1tsp) and Abura-age.
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Place a small lid directly on the food (Otoshi-buta)
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and put a normal lid as well, turn down the heat and cook it for a while.(applox 20min)
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Add carrot and Agave syrup. (You can use sugar instead, but in this case, add sugar from the beginning)
Cook it to splash the humidity, then turn off the heat.

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Put everything in the container and cool it down.
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Once it cooled down, pour vinegar.
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That’s it!
Put it into the jar and store in the fridge.
Whenever you feel like sushi, mix it with cooked rice (brown rice will work, too), and serve.
Even for one person (one bowl), it’s ok! Just add this mixture, maybe 2tbs for 1 bowl.
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Like my mum, you can put salmon as well, if you like.
Also, thin cooked egg (and thinly sliced) and pickled ginger can be decorated on top.
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Oh I put Edamame, for green colour.
Doesn’t have to be Edamame, you can use, snow pea, pea, green leaves, anything you like.

There is no rule. Enjoy your style.
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Hopefully, send me a photo of your Chirashi sushi!

Miso making workshop ( Jan 10, 2014 )

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Antoine is a baker and loves making things.
He even makes his own rice Koji at home.

By reading books, he made his own miso in the past,
but this time, he joined my miso making workshop to see how to make miso actually, not from the printed books.

These preparations were done before the workshop.
This is the soybeans we used this time.
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Bigger soybean is better, but it is difficult find it here in Melbourne.
(If you know any information about getting begger soybeans, please let me know!)

Wash the soy beans well and soak them for over night + more.
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Cook them until it become really really soft.
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I cooked these soybeans for 2 days.
If you use pressure pan, it is so much quicker, but I still love to cook with normal pot.
I believe this is more gentle way and soybeans prefer this. (just my feeling and belief)

From here, workshop started!!

Scale salt and Rice Koji.
Salt – Australian lake salt.
Koshihikari Rice Koji (Raw)
*We didn’t use this soybeans. This is just a reference photo of salt and Rice koji!!
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Brake the rice koji into small pieces.
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This Rice Koji is from Nigata, Japan.
Report of visiting this Rice Koji factory, check here.
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We enjoyed the beautiful fragrance of Rice Koji. Deep….sweet….
What a nice moment.

Once you mix salt and the Rice Koji well,
then, mash soybeans with Suribachi.
(I visited special Suribachi place in Japan, this report will be posted shortly)
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Have you mash all of soybeans?
Then mix mashed soybeans and salt-koji mixture.

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Because Antoine is a baker, he was so good at mixing them, dexterous in handling.
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When all of them are mixed well in the bowl, make small balls and put them into the jar.
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Try not to put air in between.
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Making label. I like to see people making their own label. It’s so special and unique.
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This is Antoine’s baby miso! We just wait to be matured.
Now passing the baton to wonderful bacteria.
Thank you Antoine for joining my class.
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Date-Maki, it’s another new year’s dish

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Date-Maki (伊達巻き), rolled omelette mixed with fish paste.
The fish paste called “Hanpen”.

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If you want to buy Hanpen from shop, it is frozen, but it looks like above.
In melbourne, you can find it at Japanese grocery stores and some Asian grocery stores.
(You can also make Hanpen by yourself. It is made with cod fish, taro, white egg, sugar and Mirin)
I would like to introduce how to make Hanpen later in this blog.

Well, back to Date-Maki.
These are the ingredients.
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Hanpen (60g x 2)
Egg 3 or 4
Sugar 3 table spoons
Mirin 2 table spoons
Soysauce Just a little bit

In the mixer, put Hanpen and eggs.
Then add sugar.
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Then add Mirin as well.
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At last, just a few drops of soy sauce.
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Mix them well.
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Until it become smooth.
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Here are the tools you need. Square shaped pan is recommended, but not essential.
You can try with round shaped pan. I tried few times with round shaped pan.
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Bamboo mat. Sushi mat is ok, too. I use Sushi mat.
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If your pan need oil, spread the oil thinly.
Heat the pan. Once oil is heated, then put the pan on the wet cold towel.
We only want oil is heated, but not the pan.

Pour the mixture
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All of them.
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Make sure the heat is very small.
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Put the lid if you have.
I don’t have lid for this pan, so made an aluminium foil lid.
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At first, inside is like this.
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But gradually it rises.
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When it rises like this, ready to turn it over.
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Turn it over and cook it for just few seconds.
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Place it on the bamboo mat.
Brown side down. Not burnt side up.
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Now, start rolling it.
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Use rubber band to hold the rolled Date-maki.
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Place as it is until it cools down and holds the rolled shape.

Once it shaped, take the bamboo mat out.
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Outside is nicely brown, because you put brown side down when you put it on the mat.
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Slice and enjoy!!
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Date-maki in the New year’s dish (おせち料理)
If you would like to read my previous blog post about new year’s dish,
please click here.

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Ozo-ni !! One of my favorite new year’s dish

CIMG5283It’s a soup containing rice cakes and vegetables.
As I mentioned in previous blog post, it is a New Year’s dish.
Depend on the area, depend on the family, this ozno-ni can be very different taste.

This is my family’s Ozo-ni recipe.
It’s combine of taste from my dad’s family(in Gunma) and my mum’s family (in Fukushima).
Clear soup with some veggies come from dad’s family.
They have lots of citron tree at their house,
so citron skin for beautiful fragrance is essential for them.
Chicken topping comes from my mum’s family. This is called Nikogori (煮こごり) in her area.
Chicken bit is optional topping, so if you are vegetarian, just enjoy without it.
It’s still yummy.

Prepare chicken topping previous day.
One piece of chicken thigh.
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Cut it in small pieces.
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Put them in the pan.
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Seasoning is soy sauce and Mirin.
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Just cook them with soy and mirin. That’s all.
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Make sure it gets cooked through.
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Once it cooked through, put them in a container with sauce.
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Then leave it in the cold place.
In mum’s hometown, Fukushima, it is very cold in winter.
She said they just left this chicken in the room which doesn’t have any heater.

But I’m in Melbourne, new year is in summer (even this year is bit cold),
so I put it in fridge.
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Next day, it become like this.
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Can you see the liquid (sauce) part become gelatinous?
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According to my mum, this is the yummy part.

Well, I normally don’t eat meat, however, Ozo-ni with this chicken is exception.
This is such a my family taste to me, so I decided to have this for new year’s celebration.

Now, from here, how to make Ozo-ni!!
So far it was just preparation for topping :-p

Well, rice cakes! It’s Omochi (お餅)
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If you don’t make your own rice cake, you can get these packaged one from Asian glossary shop.

How to cook them?

This is again depend on each home, but my family grill/toast them.
Some family boil them.

You can also use flying pan to cook rice cakes.
I used a toasting net here.
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While rice cakes become like this, prepare the soup.
Soup stock (Dashi) is whatever you like.
If you are vegetarian, just use Konbu & Shitake Dashi.
If you like bonito flavor, use bonito flakes, too.

In your dashi soup, add some veggie.
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If you have green leaf veggie, please add it, too.
It looks nicer.

Seasoning the soup with salt and Mirin.
Also just a little bit of soy sauce for nice smell.
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This soup is called “sumashi-jiru”(すまし汁)
It is a clear type soup, seasoning with salt.

Put grilled rice cakes into the soup.
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Ready to serve now.
If you like, previously prepared chicken as topping.
If you have, add some finely sliced citron skin (yuzu ゆず)
(I cannot find it in Melbourne though)
Also, Japanese herb, Mitsuba (三つ葉)if you can find.
This smells suddenly brings proper Japanese food flavor. It is so good.
(This is another thing you cannot find in Melbourne, so I used parsley instead, just for looks)

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Please enjoy while it’s nice and warm.
Mmmm, I love this.
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Tamago kake Gohan – today’s my breakfast (Asa gohan)

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Today’s breakfast, main dish is…simply this!!
It’s Tamago kake Gohan, meaning, rice with poured raw egg.
We often have this for breakfast.
I guess, because it is very quick and yummy.
Good for morning.(Time is limited in the morning!!!)

Teda-.
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Side dishes were
Kiriboshi Daikon
Radish Pickles
as I introdued before.
And of course, Miso soup with full of Wakame seaweed.

Back to the main dish.
Egg! Important.
It have to be a very fresh one.
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Then break the egg.
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Add some Soy sauce.
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Now need bit work with rice.
Make a little dent so that egg can stay.
(Actually, this is just for looks)
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Then place the braked egg onto the rice.
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See? Looks nice.

Then, start eating!!
Mix the egg with rice.
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If you like, add some more soy sauce.
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Done!
Eat eat eat.
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If you can not use chopsticks well, don’t hesitate to use spoon.
This Tamago kake gohan is very slimy.
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To make this dish yummy,
it is important to use good soy sauce, too.
I used this.
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This soy sauce needed 2 years to be completed.
Following traditional method, carefully made. Amazingly, full of umami.
I visited this soy sauce store house while I am in Japan,
the report of my visit will come shortly.
If you are interested to purchase, it is available. Please contact me.

Simmered daikon & salmon. What a great combination

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Daikon is one of the great veggies to cook so many different ways.
It goes well with other veggie, also fish and meat.
This is one of the recipe from “with fish” version.

Here is Daikon.
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Cut into small pieces, shape you like.
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Put them into the pan.
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Add some water.
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Add salmon!
I normally use marinaded salmon with Shio-Koji,
but you can use simple salmon, of course.
Salmon fillet is pricy, but you can buy the other part than fillet.
Sometimes near the bone, near the head and near the fin.
It is cheaper and yummier.

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Slowly cook.
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Add seasoning. Soy sauce and Mirin. Cook for 10-15 min.
(until Daikon become soft)
(Try adding Shoyu-koji if you have. It gives more umami)
If the salmon is unsalted salmon, add salt, too.
(You can use Shio-koji in stead of salt)
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Leave it until cool down.
While it is cooling down, the taste goes into daikon.
Daikon will contain all umami and yummy taste from the soup.

This looks still young.
Believe me, it become more yummy next day!!
So…it’s good to make a lot at once.
Hope you enjoy Daikon dishes.
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Update on Mirin

2 months passed since I prepared Mirin in July 2013.
(Making Mirin in Melbourne)

Here is some update photos.

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It has a bit of colour in liquid now!!
See ? Light brown.
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Why the colour has been changed?

It is a fermentation process.
Enzyme in Koji converts rice starchiness into sugar (glucose).
That’s why Mirin is natural sweet seasoning!!

Need to wait another 4-5 months.
Age matures a good Mirin.
Will report again.

Making Mirin in Melbourne

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Tried to make mirin at home~~~.

Mirin’s sweetness come from Koji fermentation !!
Therefore, it takes at least 6 months to 1 year to make Mirin,
but preparation is not that difficult.

Ingredients.
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Shochu ( Japanese Shochu was expensive In Australia, so I bought Korean shochu instead)
Rice Koji
Sweet rice

Shochu seems the right ingredient, but why not Sake?
It was my question.
I don’t know how it will be, but I just decided to make Mirin with Japanese Sake as well.
2 different version.
Just try!!

Left : Korean Shochu
Right : Japanese Sake
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First, soak the sweet rice for 10 min and drain water.
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Cook the sweet rice in the pot.
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Pour Shochu (or Sake) to the cooked rice.
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Make sure the rice temperature is below 40℃
(Koji bacteria cannot live in high temperature)
If it is more than 40℃, wait until it cools down.
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Then mix with Rice Koji.
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Mix well.
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This is the end of preparation.
Pass the baton to the Koji bacteria now !! Thank you !!
What we can do is….just waiting for 6 months to 1 year.
Just like Miso !
Natural fermentation takes time~~.
That’s why it’s good!

Put the mixture in the clean bottle.
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And label it.
Shochu version (Left) and Sake version (Right).
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Of course, these bottles joined my fermentation area. Welcome !
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By the way, in Japan, you need to add salt to Mirin so that you can only use it in cooking, not for drinking purpose. “Liquor Tax Law” will apply making liquor at home.
Everyone, please check your country’s law.

Making Miso in Melbourne (Vol.5)

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This is my fermentation area in my house and I added today’s miso here.

Today, I prepared miso again.
Today’s rice koji is this from Japan. Dried.
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Soybeans were steamed, same as last time. Making Miso in Melbourne (Vol.4).
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But I forgot to prepare salt !!! Oh No.
This was the only salt I’ve got at home…..
Suffering if I should I use or not?
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mmmm
It must be too big for making miso.
mmmm
but I want to make miso today….

OK, Let’s try!!
I poured warm water then made salted water, but this salt wasn’t be melted completely.
Oh well. I just need to try making miso with this condition.

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So first, mash steamed soybeans.
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I used bowl, but wasn’t easy to mash soybeans,
so ended up using Japanese cone‐shaped mortar.
Very easy to mash soybeans.

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When you finished mash all of soybeans, then mix with salted rice koji.

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Then mix well until like this.
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Now you make balls to get rid of air from mixture.
Also next step become easier if you make balls.
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Use plastic bag to store miso again.
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Put the balls in the bag, try to get rid of all the air from the bag.
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Seal it. Write date so that you don’t forget when you made it.
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Waiting to be fermented for another 6 months at least !!

Home made miso after fermentation ~ 4.5 months later ~

Still too young, but starting to use this miso.
(Because… just run out of my home made miso stock!)

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This is 4 months miso, and slightly light colour, so I decided to call it ” White Miso”.
Can you see the colour difference?
The one in spoon is the older one (1 year old). Darker, isn’t it?

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Taste is …still little bit young, but already yummy.

This is the miso from Making Miso in Melbourne Vol.2 ,
which I prepared in February 2013. Remember?

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But now it looks like this!!
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I fell like this miso’s graduation day.
Deeply moving !!

Since this is living and active Miso, it keeps growing if you leave on room temperature.
See what happened.

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Can you see the liquid around the container?
It naturally overflowed out of a container.

The reason is obviously, I put to too much miso in container,
but another reason is… this miso is living miso and it keeps fermenting.

I left it in room temperature because I still wanted my miso to ferment and grow,
but normally, you can keep your miso in fridge to stop the fermentation.

My miso is living miso~~♪♪

Grilled Salmon ~ Awesome Koji benefit !! ~

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Typical Japanese breakfast set !! Rice, Miso soup and grilled salmon.

This salmon is amazing! It is not just a grilled salmon.
It have to be marinated with Koji !!! (Ama-Koji or Shio-Koji)
The flavor will changed dramatically.

I cannot go back to normal salmon any more.

Why?
Koji is amazingly full of enzymes. It is often said “Koji is a mine of enzymes”.
One of the main enzyme in Koji is called “PROTEASE“.
This enzyme works for protein in food, such as salmon.
It makes food soft (one process of digestion).
The protein which was broke into small pieces converts to amino acid, which is Umami.

To shorten, Koji makes protein softer and yummier.

But! The Koji has to be raw, not the one with heat sterilisation,
because heat sterilisation will kill protease function of breaking down protein into small pieces.
Most of the Ama-Koji and Shio-Koji from shop in package are sold after heat treatment.
Therefore, you need to make your own one at home so that you can get all benefit from Koji.
(Here is how to make your Ama-Koji and Shio-Koji)

So if you have salmon at home, maybe try to marinate your salmon with row active Koji once.
Preparation is nothing compare to how yummy the salmon will be.

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At first, put the salt on the salmon and leave for a while.
Get rid of water/liquid from salmon. Wipe well.

Then place your salmon on the kitchen paper. Covered your salmon with it.
Put your Ama-Koji or Shio-Koji onto it.
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Then wrap it.
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Leave for over night at least in the fridge. Even 1 or 2 days.
You can even keep in freezer if you prepared a lot.

Just grill the marinated salmon !!
You will find the difference already when you are grilling. Smell beautiful.
But be careful, it will be burnt easily.
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Making Miso in Melbourne (Vol.4)

What are these?

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Yes!
These are Miso balls.
This is one of the Miso making step. ( I have to tell you, it’s fun !)

This weekend, I made Miso again.
(Since our Miso consumption is quite high pace, I probably need to make few more times !)

This time, I wanted to try new method,
which is to steam soybeans, not to boil.

This is steamed soybeans. Looks darker than boiled one.
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I wanted to know how the taste would be difference from boiled soybeans Miso.
Therefore, I used all same ingredients as “Making Miso In Melbourne (Vol.3).

By the way, you can see some rainbow colour in my photos today.
It is from my cristal ball by the window. (Today was nice sunny day♪)
It is not mold or anything, so don’t worry.

Rice Koji
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Since this is dried Rice Koji, pour some water.
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Add salt.
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Mix well. Set aside.
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Now mash the soybeans while soybeans are still warm.
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Make it paste, just like this.
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All soybeans become paste. Yeah !!
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Add previously mixed Rice Koji and salt into soybean paste.
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Then mix well !! More, more !!
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After it was mixed well, make Miso balls with the paste.
Try to get rid of air from miso paste.
This step is similar to the pottery, I think.
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Here is another first trial for me.
I am going to use “plastic bag” to store the miso, not using container.
Spread some salt in the bag.
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Then fill with the miso balls.
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Try not to have air inside.
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Spread some salt on the surface before closing the bag.
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Seal it then complete of Miso making!
Write the date before forgetting.
I am already excited to see how it is going to be in 6 months !!
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Oh, the bit of green thing on the miso is salt! This natural salt is somehow little bit greenish.

Grilled rice ball ~Soy sauce flavor~

For your healthy snack, why don’t you try one of Japanese soul food.
It’s Yaki-Onigiri, means grilled rice balls.

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You can make this when you have leftover rice from last night.
Good, isn’t it?
(Both white rice and brown rice works well)

First, make rice balls.
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Prepare soy sauce.
Why we want soy sauce?
Yes !! We want Umami for rice ball ♪♪
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Then put your rice ball on the soy sauce plate.
This is so lazy way…by the way. Proper way must be…using cooking brush.
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Turn it over.
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Make sure all of the surface has soy sauce.
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Ready to grill. Put them into the grill.
Touch them gently otherwise it breaks easily.
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Grill both sides until it becomes golden colour!!
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Enjoy while it is still hot.
Smalls beautiful from the grilled soy sauce.

Making Shoyu (Soy sauce)

How to make Shoyu (Soy sauce) at home?

This is Koji to make Shoyu.

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Look like….mud.

Shoyu (Soy sauce) is made from “soybeans”, “wheat”, “koji bacteria” and salted water.
Both steamed/cooked soybeans and roasted wheat are mixed with Koji bacteria in the special Koji room called Koji muro (麹室).
This is the one shown as above photo.

For home made Shoyu, you can start from this process by purchasing this prepared Koji for Shoyu.
Once you get this Koji, the making process not that hard.
What you need is LOVE to look after your shoyu, and TIME for slow process.

With this prepared Koji + Salt + Water + fermentation period = Your Soy sauce!! Yeah!

Prepare….Koji, salt, water and a big jar.
In the big jar (My one is bit too small …. difficult to put  hand. Bigger one is recommended)
First, decide how long you want to ferment your Soy Sauce.
(From 6 months to 12 months)
Depend of the fermentation length, you can calculate how much salt you need to your  Soy Sauce.
(From approx 18% to 22 %)

Prepare salted water.

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Then pour the salted water to the jar.

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Mix them well by your hand in the jar.
(That’s why you need a big jar)

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At first, Soy Sauce Koji doesn’t want to be mixed with salted water,
but after while you are mixing it, they become friend with salted water 🙂

This is how it looks at this moment.

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Wipe the jar, keep it clean.

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Place the jar in the dark + cool place.

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Mix Shoyu every day for the first week.
After the first week, mix like this once a week for 6 months to 12 months.

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This is the surface of the second day.
Can you see little bubble is coming to the surface?
It’s alive Shoyu, fermenting now ~~.
Taste ? Sharp saltiness.

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It is a slow fermentation process.
That’s why it is good ♪
That’s why it has a great flavor ♪
That’s why it has many nutritious benefits ♪

This is the photo of 4 months age.
Surface looks different from the first day, doesn’t it?
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Taste already good, but I want to wait few more months to grow.
Looking forward to have my own Shoyu soon !!!

Turnip Pickles ~Shio Koji magic~

For pickles lovers. It’s a Shio Koji magic pickles.
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Ingredients

Fresh turnip
Lemon
Honey
Shio Koji
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Cut the turnip
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Then mix all ingredients.
(I used plastic bag to mix and store the pickles…it’s good for picking)

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Shio Koji

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Lemon for flavor

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Mix well !!!!

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Done !
Taste become much nicer and deeper if you wait overnight.

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If you can get “Yuzu” which is Japanese citrus, it’s even better!!!
Enjoy easy healthy pickles ♪♪

Making Miso in Melbourne (Vol.3)

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I use Miso a lot in my cooking, so I’m in danger that actually running out of my Miso!!
Urgently need to prepare Miso for next summer and winter.

Unfortunately, I don’t have big pot!
(I used to use my roomy’s. Since I moved to new house, I need whole lots of cooking staff!!)
This is essential to use big pot for making miso, but unfortunately I don’t have one.
Therefore, I used 500g of Soybeans only today. Little portion.

This is today’s Miso recipe.
Normally I put more Koji than Soybeans, but today I used same portion of Soy & Koji.

This is for 2kg of Miso paste
-Organic Soy beans 500g (Grown in Australia – bought at Terra Madre)
-Koji (Dried) 500g (Imported Koji from Japan, bought at Fuji Mart)
-Natural Sea salt 215g (From New Zealand – bought at Terra Madre)

I bought Koji in Australia first time!

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Not sure about taste, but this was the only one I can get from shop.
It is always interesting to use new Koji. Each koji tastes different.

CIMG9443As usual, soak soybean over night (recommended to soak more than 18 hours), and get rid of some not good soybeans.

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Then start cooking soybeans.

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Mmmm, I really need to buy big pot now.
Boiled over easily. (Maybe I did 10 times!!)

Keep cooking keep cooking until soybeans become really soft.

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While cooking soybeans, prepare Koji & salt.
At first, pour some warm water into Koji (120cc) then mixed.
This is to make dried Koji to refresh.

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Then add salt and mix them well.

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Isn’t this salt green?
Why green?
Mmmm. It said, “Natural sea salt from New Zealand, dried naturally under the sun”.
Looks so green. Well, let’s see how this salt works on my Miso!

OK- when soybeans become very soft, fun time starts.
Put the soybeans into the bag,

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and…make them into the paste!! Any style is OK~.

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or by hand like this!
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Once it become paste, put them into the bog bowl (I need bigger bowl!),
then mixed with Koji&Salt which you prepared before.

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Mix really well. Use your hands!!

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I added some soybeans boiled water if you like softer paste.

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Then~, making miso paste balls.

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Put all the miso paste balls into your container.
Make sure no air inside, and make the top flat.

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Spread some salt on top then cover.

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Put “salt weight” on top of that,

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Then it’s done! Miso for next summer.

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But this is just 2 kg of Miso paste.
Need to prepare more!! so more reports will come 😛

Shio Koji Preparation

Shio-Koji again!
But this time, Salt ratio is 30%!
Since I don’t have fridge right now, I think 30% is better.
(Less % is better if you can store it in the fridge)

Of course, the process is same as usual.
Koji!
(In Melbourne, Rice Koji can be available from Fuji Mart in South Yarra)

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Add salt !

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Mix well !

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And pour water !

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Then mix well again !

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Until it become like this !

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Put a lid and wait 1 week for fermante. During this week, mix once a day.
(Depend on the weather/seasons, fermante takes shorter or longer)

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Molds in Miso !! ~ 3 months later ~

Man! This is the shock! (Ga~~~~~n !!!!!!)
Found molds on my 3 month old miso!!
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I know exact reason why I’ve got these molds.
When I made this miso (last Feb), I didn’t seal well for one container.
Why? Just because I didn’t have enough salt!!!
I was planning to buy more salt later, but forgot it and left it as not enough salt weight.
To confirm that, another container’s miso was fine.
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See?

I regret 3 months ago that I didn’t work properly for my miso.
Well, well well. Now I need to treat my miso with molds.

When you have molds like these, don’t be panic.
There is a solution!! Don’t give up.
No need to say good-bye to your miso. You can still make them alive.

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If molds can be seen only on the surface, just take all of them!!

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Make sure you take all molds, then it will be fine.
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Oh~~~~.
These are the molds which were on my miso’s surface!!
(Actually, this is first time for me to have molds…so I’m bit shocked to be honest)
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3 different kinds of molds. Mmmmm.

But I know it’s going to be all right.
Check the smell.
If it is still beautiful miso smell, nothing to worry.
My miso has nice miso smell. Yes, it’s ok.

Now, treatment 1 : Put some salt on surface and edge.
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Treatment 2 : Wipe container with clean paper.
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Treatment 3 : Seal well. Make sure shut all the air out. Put weight (salt) on Miso.
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The reason why I use salt as weight is….
Salt is easy to change its shape.
It fits any shape of container.
Salt is cool and able to reuse !!!

Put salt into plastic bag. This weight salt can be any salt.
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and covers all miso surface with salt in bag.
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Make sure whether all the surface is covered by salt bag. Tightly packed.CIMG9057
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Fu~~, it’s done now.
It should be fine this time.
Wait for a few months more!! Sleep well, my sweet miso.
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Making Miso in Melbourne (Vol.2)

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This is the report of making Miso in Summer. Is it reckless?
In Japan, we normally make miso during Winter (or early Spring),
so it might be a not good idea. but who cares.
I have reasons to try.
First, I know that I will have Miso shortage if I wait next winter to make my own Miso.
Secondly, I wanted to try it, purely. I want to know it it works in Summer Melbourne.

I used same Salt & Koji for this time as before,
but of course, any salt, koji would be fine. (Better to get good quality one though)

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Cook soaked soybeans until it become REALLY soft.
Make sure soybeans is REALLY soft.
From my experiences, I realised this is very important for miso making.

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While cooking soybeans, prepare salt and Koji.
Here, this is my first try.
(There are so many ways to make miso)
Make salted water first (use water from cooking soybeans pot) and mix with Koji.

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Looks wet. Yes, it is wet.

When soybeans become really soft, then mash them.
For mash soybeans, there are several ways.
For example,
You can put them in the plastic bag them mash them by hand over the plastic bag.
You can simply mash them like mashed potato.
You can use Suribachi(すり鉢)
You can use food processor.

I used Suribach this time!

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However, my sribachi is very small (><).
It is full of soybeans~. Therefore, I had to divide soybeans into several times.
Then, move mashed soybeans into another bowl.

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If you mash really well, your miso become smooth miso.
If you mash roughly, then your miso become chunky.
It is your preference, really.

When you mashed all soybeans (good work!), then mix it with koji in salted water.

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Now, mix well! Fun time~~!!!

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When you think “it’s enough!!”, then make small balls like this.
Miso balls!

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Now, put them into container.
It’s better to use big container, but I wanted to try to use small container,
which I think appropriate size for Melbourne miso lovers.
I used yoghurt containers like these.

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Clean containers well. By hot water or by alcohol.
Then, put your miso balls into the container! Another fun time!!

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Fun, isn’t it?
At last, make the surface flat.

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Seal well. Shut all air!!

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Use a bag of salt as weight.

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Then wait~~~~!! for another 6 to 12 months!!
Result will be reported later.

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Shoyu-koji preparation ~Soy Sauce Koji~

Another miracle seasoning is Shoyu-Koji (Soy Sauce Koji) !!
What you need is to wait for a month.
During this time, Koji bacteria works for you.

Here is ingredients to start. Only these !!

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Dried Koji (200g) and Say sauce (400 cc)
(When you use raw Koji, then Say sauce will be 300cc)
Please use naturally brewed soy sauce ♪
Prepare a disinfected bottle in boiling water

Put Koji in bottle.
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Then pour say sauce.
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Then mix well.
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Until this looks like this
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1st day, Koji in soy sauce looks like this. Looks young :-p
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But after few months later, it will look just like this ↓↓
Taste become really good after few months later, but you can start using it approx after 1 month .

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Taste it, try it for cooking !!
Umami from soy and additonal Koji, it is really full of umami.
How to use this Shoyu Koji will be introduced following blog.

On the bottle, I normally put label with date I prepared.
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On the back, it is useful if you leave the quantities as memo.
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Shio-Koji ~Salt Koji~

A miracle Japanese seasoning ….Shio Koji.
Have you heard of it? Have you used it already?
It is imported from Japan to Australia, you can find it in Asian grocery store.
(I found it at some store in Melbourne)
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You can get it from shops, but it is sooooooo good if you make it by your own.
You can get all the benefit of Koji bacteria from the one you made at home,
because you don’t have to heat treatment it, which means, all Koji bacteria and enzymes are active,
and work for your food and for your body!!!
Details will be introduced later :-p, but It brings you lots of benefits!!!

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It is so easy to make it, so why don’t you try?
What you need is…. Rice koji, Salt and water !!!
Salt can be 10% to 30% of Koji quantity.

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Prepare Koji and Salt as below.
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Then pour water.
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Then mix well.
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Leave it for 1 week (summer) to 2 weeks (winter).
During this period, you don’t need to put it into the fridge,
because it’s fermentation period~~~~!!!!

Mix it once a day. Add water if the paste seems too hard.
Taste a little every day. You will notice the taste changes.
At first, you feel strong salty taste, but gradually it become mild.
Also you can taste Umami, too.
When you taste Umami and mild saltiness, it is ready to use.
At this stage, it looks like this.
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Can you see the changes from the day you pour the water?
It fermente well!

Now, It’s better to keep it in fridge.
Your cooking range will expand by this Shio koji!!
Yummy recipes to use Shio koji will be introduced in this blog ♫
Enjoy cooking with koji !

Ama Koji ~ Sweet Koji ~

Ama koji (sweet koji) is fermented rice koji, cooked with thin rice porridge.
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This Ama koji can be used as seasoning, mild healthy sweetness.
Also, it can be used for marinade sause, pickles dressing, and sweets itself.
Unlimited ways of using in your cooking.

For example….
Marinade fish. This is one of my favorite way.
Bacteria in this Ama koji will make your fish softer and change protein into Umami !!!
Cheap salmon become like special grilled fish in fancy dining.
Enzyme which is gift from ferment process makes the fish richer in nutritious !!
Also, fish stinky small goes off !!
So many good things around it.

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When you grill it, it can be burnt the fish easily, so please take care not to burn it.
Once you have this Ama koji marinaded grilled salmon, you cannot go back to normal salmon !!

If you have vegetable in your fridge, chop them up and marinade them over night.
It turns to wonderful pickles just like this↓

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You can try various type of vegetables.
Again, koji enzyme works a lot.

Here, frozen Ama koji with fruits, it turns to natural sweet after your meal !!
All natural sweetness from fermented koji.
This is miracle.

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Also, Ama koji porride is good for your breakfast.
Try with seasonal fruits!!
This one is chopped up apple, walnuts and Ama koji.
Healthy yummy breakie!!
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Here is how to make Ama Koji at home.
You can buy Ama Koji from super market (maybe from asian shops), I recommend you to make by your own.
Details will be explained later, but you get all benefit if you make it by your own.
Not many koji benefits from packaged Ama koji compared to home made one.

First, you need Rice Koji.
(You can get it from Japanese super market. If you are in Melbourne, you can ge it from Fuji mart in South yarra )
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Also, you need thin rice porridge.
Like this thickness.
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All you need is, thin rice porridge and rice koji and rice cooker.
Now, put rice koji into thin rice porridge and mix well.
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*Make sure rice porridge is cool down, less than 50 to 60 degree.
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Use “warm” function to keep the temperature around 50 – 60 degree.
Depend on the rice cooker you have, but it is better not to put lid perfectly.
Need some space to avoid having high temperature.
(I put cloth for not coming dust into the ama koji)
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then wait 6-10 hours.
(If possible, it is better to mix few times)

Surprise.

Rice porridge changed to sweet Ama koji!!
Very sweet, but very gentle sweetness.
Rice changed to glucose now. Easy to digest. Gentle to body.
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Please store in the fridge. It keeps fermenting and taste change, too.
I normally consume within 1 week.
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Making Miso in Melbourne

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Miso making by simple ingredients. Only Soybeans, Salt and Koji.
Left = Sea salt ( Bought from health food store at Smith Street)
Right : Rice Koji (Brought from Japan) *Rice Koji is now available from Fuji Mart in South Yarra, Melbourne.

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Cook soaked soybeans until it become soft.
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Mmmm, looks still hard. Need to cook bit more.
This time, we didn’t have enough time to cook soybeans.
When you start making miso, make sure you have enough time !! If you cook soybeans really soft, then everything goes easy after that.
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Now, smashing cooked soybeans.
We tried to use many different smash tools.
(If soybeans is soft in this stage, you can just press them by hands with no problem)
Friends were cooking other thing, so pumpkin and potatos on the table is not for Miso ♪
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We used food processor, too ! (it was quick)
Now, mix smashed soybeans and Rice Koji+Salt.
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Mix well. Mix well.
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Soybeans seems bit too wet. But don’t worry. Koji will work for you well for another 6 to 12 months
then hope they make yummy Miso at the end !
So, just mix Soybeans and Koji well at this stage.
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Tada~~♪♪
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Now you need to put them into container to keep 6 to 12 months.
Put them tightly, so that no air in the container.
If there are air pockets, then it might cause for having molds.
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Make the surface to flat.
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Put the plastic wrap on the surface, then place lid.
Store it in cool place for about 6 months at least.
Normally, I store 12 months. (Some people store 3 years!!)

Miso growing report will be following !!!

Making Miso From Scratch

First you will need some Koji. You can buy these from a Koji shop, ins Japanese supermarkets on over the Internet. It comes in a plastic packet and it looks like rice.

Thats because it is rice, mostly. Rice Koji is the bacteria surrounding the rice. The bag on the left is Koji and the bag on the right is salt.
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Next you want to combine the salt and Koji in a big bowl. Mix it well with your hands.
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Now you need to prepare the soy beans. We recommend using dried soy beans that have been soaked in water overnight. You then need to cook them for a few hours on a low heat until they are soft enough to squash easily with your fingers.
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The soy beans need to be mashed into a paste. There are lots of ways to do this. You can use a mortar and pestle, a food processor, whatever is easiest. This time we used  a plastic bag and mashed them with our hands and a wooden rolling pin.
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It took a little while.
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But we got there. Once the beans are a pretty consistent paste, add them to the koji and salt prepared earlier.
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And mix them together too.
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You might need to add a bit of water from the boiled soybeans to soften the mix up. The softness should be the same as what you want the final miso paste to be. The texture will be the same. Once you have the texture right you need to roll the paste into balls about the size of a baseball.
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Now the fun part. Put a plastic bag into a bucket or pot and throw the balls in one by one. You do this to get rid of all the air bubbles.
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Now give the paste a flat surface and sprinkle a bit of salt on the top.
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Seal the plastic bag airtight making sure you get all the air out. A really good way of doing this is to push as much with your hands then use a straw to suck out the very last bit of air.
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Finally, after you’ve tied the plastic bag, weigh it down with another bag of salt. This will also keep the temperature cool.
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Store the pot for 6 months. Some where out of the sun and out of the way.

Stay tunned and we’ll show you how it turns out!