Off-the-Eaten Path Food Experience in Japan. "Meet the People and Places behind your Plates! "

Sunday 13 August 2017

Culinary Retreat: the Japanese Art of Fermentation

What is Fermentation?

The ancient wisdom of preserving food has been descended from 2,000 years ago.

Knowledge to utilize koji(Aspergillus oryzae, also known as 麹 'qu' in Chinese) , cultivated molds or fungi from boiled grains had been developed in Asian countries, while yiest (kobo酵母) or maltz (bakuga麦芽) grown from fruits or wheat in the West.

It produces various enzyme, such as amylases, proteases, and it is very versatile, used for multiple purposes and consists of the basis of Japanese cuisine "washoku".

making wheat koji malt for miso

There are three major ingredients of koji; kome 米 koji (rice koji), mugi 麦 koji (wheat koji) and mame 豆 koji (bean koji).

Rice koji is used for brewing sake 酒, 'amaze' 甘酒(fermented rice poriage) and 'miso' 味噌(fermented soy paste, 'jiang 醤' in Chinese), wheat koji is mainly for making 'shoyu' 醤油 soy source and bean koji is for making 'natto' 納豆(soy nuggets).
fermented fish, funazushi

stirring soy sauce

Schedule of the seminar

This seminar starts from making fermented koji mold, making miso by using home-made koji, miring (sake taste seasoning in Japan), amaze (sweet sake), mochi making(sticky rice ball), processing konjac by using ash, indigo fermentation, and so on.

You can learn fundamental subjects of fermentation, how Japanese traditional seasonings had been developed and passed down from generation to generation, what is beneficial bacteria and mold to make Japanese washoku's key ingredients.

What you can learn from this program

  • Key ingredients of Japanese food (Soy source, miso, vinegar, sake)
  • How to make Koji mold
  • Processing soy beans (tofu, natto and miso)

Example Schedule

Day 1     NT    (Fermentation)soaked rice in water
      (Fermentation)amazake (sweet sake making)
Day 2  AM (Fermentation)steam rice
      PM (Food Processing)making lye from ash to make konjac
      (Fermentation)sweet potato koji (fermented food)
Day 3    AM   (Fermentation)stirring koji
      (Food Processing)steam land lace green rice
    PM  (Food Processing)yuzu-miso making,bean jam making
                        (Event)Visit to local villagers - wild boar hunter
      (Fermentation)rice mold koji is ready!