Summer drink – Shiso Juice making 2017

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One of the seasonal drink, and this is definitely summer drink in our family. We make this juice every year, normally after making Umeboshi (because we need good red shiso for Umeboshi making) and enjoy this drink all through the summer.

This is called Shisho juice (Shiso = perilla) or Shisho drink. As you know there are red Shisho and green Shiso, but we only use red Shiso for this juice.  This is amazingly refreshing juice and I really like its colour.  It is expected many benefits such as helping to recover from exhaustion, helping digestion, detoxing, helping anti-ageing and more!!

Very easy to make!
What we make here is concentrate. When you drink, pour some water or fizzy water and make perfect taste you like! Here is my family recipe, but basically no rule!

Ingredients
Water            2L
Red Shiso     300g ~  (more is totally OK!)
Vinegar        400cc  (or 3-4 lemons / citric acid 20g)
Sugar            500g

First wash Red Shiso leaves.
We grow our own Shio leaves at the little farm, so this is freshly harvested from there! Yes, Organic Shiso leaves.  If you want to buy Shiso leaves from shops, try Asian grocery stores.  They have Shiso leaven when it is season.
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Then, put them into boiling water pot.
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Stir gently. Soon the water colour become dark purple.
Then take leaves out from the pot.
Check if the leaves become green. If all the red pigment moved into the water, then Shisho leaves looks green. Not red anymore.
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Now, the water colour is like this! Not yet nice colour.
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Add vinegar and sugar. We use rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar. But other vinegar might work, just try it! (Probably balsamic vinegar won’t work though…) After you add vinegar, see the colour of the liquid! Love this moment! It become elegant colour. And I’m sure you are enjoying its smell already.
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That’s it! Done! Super easy.

Pour into jar when it is still hot. Keep it in the fridge, it will last 1 year.  In case of my family, it doesn’t last that long, because we drink so much during summer and finish them all by the time autumn starts.
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For somebody who works outside during summer, this would be great drink. It will give you the energy for next day, and it really heals your tiredness!! You will love it!!

Although sometimes we find Ume juice (plum juice) at the cafes or festival, we don’t find this Shiso juice so often at the cafe or restaurant. for some reason.  (I only found once in a small cafe in Tokyo! I was so happy to see this pink juice in the menu, so of course I ordered one. The cafe menu said “Summer special drink” :-)).
Probably this is the drink we make at home for family’s wellbeing.

Hope you had a nice summer xx
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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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