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 Post subject: Koji
PostPosted: Dec 26th, '19, 19:00 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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I did a quick search and the only mention on byap of this absurdly amazing stuff is by Dangerous Dave...

https://backyardaquaponics.com/forum/me ... le&u=28057

This stuff will ruin your life as you grow a new obsession and endlessly bang on about it like someone who has just discovered aquaponics.

Koji is a fungus that is responsible for soy sauce, mirin, sake, miso soup etc etc etc. Basically everything that has what the Japanese describe as the fifth taste. They call it "umami". I think that loosely translates as "savoury" maybe... I dont know.

But this stuff is insane.

As Dangerous Dave mentions, you can cover a steak in it, and leave it at room temperature for a few days and then oddly not die when you eat it.

In the last month since I discovered it, Mrs Bullwinkle and I have become obsessed with the stuff.

We've been marinating protein in it for 3 to 7 days in the fridge and it's awesome. We are yet to take the plunge, and grow it on a steak at room temperature.

Actually I have grown it on a room temperature steak, but tonight will be the first time one of us eats it. We decided that one of us would eat it, and the other would stand by for the next 12 hours with a ambulance on hold just in case. That's part of the reason I mention this now. It's good to have a public record of your intentions when you accidently poison someone. But it's fine. The stuff smells amazing, and any steak that's been left at 30c for a few days should be very obviously rancid by now.

Mrs Bullwinkle won the toss, so she is either going to food heaven... or just normal every-day heaven* sometime within the next few hours.

Anyway, I'll drop you all a message from jail if it doesn't pan out well (if I can).

I've learnt quite a lot about how to culture the stuff, and made all the normal mistakes one makes when you learn yeast or rennet or whatever, so if anyone else has a crack at it, hit me up for whatever I've managed to keep in my brain.

There's a bit about it on youtube (I've watched all of it), but using it on steak seems to be a Western, modern use for the stuff rather than the traditional use on beans and fish. (I think it's also used in fish sauce)

I'll drop a link into the ted talks section as well, but look here to get started on your new obsession...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrLV8XXaHn0

Here is some of mine just starting to grow on rice as a method of making more of the stuff. You grow it in 90% humidity at around 25c to 30C (77F-95F) for a few weeks until it goes to spore if you want to farm the stuff.

Attachment:
koji growing on rice to farm spores.jpg
koji growing on rice to farm spores.jpg [ 94.62 KiB | Viewed 2680 times ]


Sorry for the poor quality photo, but it turns a light green when it goes to spore...

Attachment:
20191216_150615.jpg
20191216_150615.jpg [ 30.44 KiB | Viewed 2680 times ]


Otherwise you can just buy it wet and made (ebay, amazon etc - look for a product called "Shio Koji) Or make it from inoculated rice.

Shio Koji (I think that translates to salt rice [EDIT - nope **]) is the thing you use as a marinade. It's made by steaming (not in a rice cooker or whatever, but actually steaming - I used a sieve in a pot with a lid) rice for 50 minutes or so, so it's about half cooked. Al dente I guess, but on the inedible scale of al dente.

Then you add spores or in my case you add rice that's had koji growing on it, and then dried in my free food dehydrator (acquired because I never give up on a help desk), then powdered in a spice grinder that I use to make espresso coffee grounds.

Anyway... Shio koji looks like this when it mixed with water and 25% salt by weight of rice. It's amazing anything can grow in that concentration of salt, but that's probably why other mould doesn't take hold. If you see anything colourful like orange or brown or whatever, you have grown potential poison.

Here is some of my home grown second generation Shio Koji doing it's thing and getting all tasty.

Attachment:
shio koji.jpg
shio koji.jpg [ 92.66 KiB | Viewed 2680 times ]


<drool emoticon>

Once your Shio Koji has grown a bit and smells like it's working, you can put it in the fridge from between 2 weeks and a year depending on who you ask. Dan from America's Test Kitchen says 6 months, and I trust him more than most humans (he's never led me in the wrong direction to date... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB4GcSiSQg0 )

So basically you get your shio koji that's taken about a week in summer, or two weeks in winter to get to that state you see in that pic, and the can either use it like that, of stick it in a blender for a bit. Then you can just marinate stuff in it in the fridge if your feeling cautious, or try it out on your spouse if you are not. The stuff feeds on the proteins and tenderizes and imparts the most amazing flavour. Savoury, sweet, floral, cheese style funky amazingness. It works fine in the fridge as it is still very much alive (but not quite as active) at lower temperatures.

Just remember, it's no stranger than eating a mushroom.

Try not to die.

It's as worthwhile as learning how to make bread, cheese, or your tipple of choice. The fourth of the great skills to know turns into, and turns out to be, the fifth flavour.

Also if you feel like a rolicking adventure of not having a clue what's going on, there is a Japanese cartoon that features a young man at an agricultural collage who has a super power that allows him to see and talk to microbes. Koji feature heavily. (Like I said... I watched everything I could) It's on youtube, but it's in Japanese (I dont speak Japanese) but it has Spanish subtitles. I also dont speak Spanish, but they were oddly helpful. At least I think we're in Spanish... like I said ... I dont speak it. How would I know :dontknow:

It's here...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2vrDt27G-E






*Profound atheism notwithstanding

** From some google search i did a while back... "Shio Koji translates to “salt mold” and is a type of fungus. Shio koji typically refers to a mixture of short-grain white rice and fermented sea salt"

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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Dec 29th, '19, 10:41 
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Bullwinkle

Have you got a link to the stuff you bought initially?

I use the yeast balls to make Chinese beer but I would like to play about with just the plain mold. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Dec 29th, '19, 12:46 
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Sleepe wrote:
Bullwinkle

Have you got a link to the stuff you bought initially?

I use the yeast balls to make Chinese beer but I would like to play about with just the plain mold. :)


I bought mine from this local (Australian) company. Company and product here...

https://merumiso.com/miso-shop/koji-grains

Once you have some (I notice it's out of stock there now) [EDIT - you can grow more, or just keep buying it]

But you can probably find it for less on ebay.

You can also get just the green spores in a small packet from various places on ebay, but ebay links notoriously disappear. That way you can grow it on chickpeas or whatever. I can't recommend a business, because I've never bought it.

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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Dec 29th, '19, 13:14 
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I left out a bunch of steps to actually growing more koji from your bag of koji rice.

When I said "Then you add spores or in my case you add rice that's had koji growing on it, and then dried in my free food dehydrator (acquired because I never give up on a help desk), then powdered in a spice grinder that I use to make espresso coffee grounds."

I should have mentioned keeping it at high humidity under damp towels at a temperature of 25C to 30C for two weeks before drying it.

So try this...

Steam 450g* shishi rice to half cooked (about 50* minutes)

Add 140g* salt and mix.

Wait for it to cool to 30C and mix 60g* inoculated rice to it then either...

Keep it at 90%* humidity and 25C-35C (I kept mine in my oven with the light on to make it hotter, or a 1.25L bottle of ice to keep it cooler, spread flat over a bamboo tray, with a damp tea towel under it and over it)

Then you can dry that to make more of what you bought.

Or...

put it in a container with a loose fitting lid and some water to just cover the rice. This will turn into mush and grow some bubbles (pictured above in the red container) and can be used to marinate things.

Fork it over once a day until you see lots of white stuff growing on it.



It should always smell delicious.

When the mold is white, it's probably koji. If it turns green, it's going to bloom, and make the spores.

If you see any bright colours like red or anything, it's probably bad.



*I used a random amount that was probably close to these numbers

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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Dec 29th, '19, 13:22 
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Thanks for that :thumbright: ; I found some of the malted rice on ebay by typing in sake, will give it a go. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Dec 29th, '19, 20:58 
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Sleepe wrote:
Thanks for that :thumbright: ; I found some of the malted rice on ebay by typing in sake, will give it a go. :)



I think there are four main strains used for different things,

Even the strain I'm using metabolises different things at different temperatures, giving you more sweetness at lower temperatures, and more savoury notes at higher temperatures.

Good luck.

Let know how you get on and what you do with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Jan 1st, '20, 00:17 
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We put the room temperature three day old steak into the fridge a couple of days ago rather than risking Mrs Bullwinkles life for the holidays, and it now smells a bit like a really nice parmesan cheese, but with floral fruity notes that smell also a bit live savouriness.

Basically it has the scent of nothing you've ever scented before.

Mrs Bullwinkle will eat it tomorrow, and I'll hold the phone with emergency on speed dial.

It looks like this, and I wish I had won the toss...

Attachment:
shio koji room temperature 3 days 23C-30C steak.jpg
shio koji room temperature 3 days 23C-30C steak.jpg [ 90.38 KiB | Viewed 2514 times ]


That's a zoom of about a square centimeter of a chunk of beef that was dipped in the liquid shio koji I've been describing, and left out in a sealed container at room temperature for three days. The chunk is one of 3, 2.5cm cubes of beef.

It smells amazing.

I've been working on a PICAXE (electronic do-dad that you can program to do things) controller to control a small car fridge as a growing environment.

I made a model that can turn on an LED at the right times so that it maintains the light being on at the correct temperature range, but Jcar sold me a transistor that cant deal with the input from the PICAXE chip, and turn it into something that can drive the 12v fridge. I'm now lost, and can no longer follow my electronics recipe ("recipe" - bam- back on topic) and can no longer tell how my device even does what it does so far. I think I need an extra transistor to boost the trigger to the big one. It's all built on a temporary project board, and if I ever get it working I'm either going to buy someone a carton of beer to figure it out for me and solder it up, or just pour epoxy over the entire thing, and hope it all sets permanently in place securely, then glue it to the car fridge.

It's nice to see my world is back to it's familiar chaotic self.

I find it reassuring that I have regained the ability to have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.

So few people understand why I might like it that way :)

But that could just the fungus spores talking.

I'll let you know if we die. If you dont ever hear from us again, just presume everything went well, and duplicate the experiment. :wave1:

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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Jan 1st, '20, 07:18 
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I keep looking at egg incubators on ebay :) .

You can't use the signal from the transistor to drive a 12v relay?


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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Jan 1st, '20, 17:43 
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I'm on tenterhooks waiting for a report on the tasting.

I'm still alive after eating some fish sauce like thing made from chicken wings by my shio koji mad mate. He uses an old fridge with temperature and humidity controlled with some gear I used to use in an Esky to make black garlic.

Perhaps you can bring Koji to aquaponics... I was going to get him to cure one of my perch. But his first try with some tuna was a failure. Even he wouldn't eat it, and he'll eat anything.

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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Jan 1st, '20, 19:40 
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Sleepe wrote:
I keep looking at egg incubators on ebay :) .

You can't use the signal from the transistor to drive a 12v relay?


Probably. I have a stack of shiny relays, but I dont know what to do with them.

And yeah, egg incubators is a thing that people have used, but ... I like the troubled angst* ridden way.


*Is angst a thing now? They must have cured it.

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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Jan 2nd, '20, 20:48 
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We tasted the shio koji covered meat that was left out for 2 days at room temperature and haven't died yet.

It was too much. Way over flavoured for our taste, but definitely not rotten in any way.

Pretty freaky after at least 2 days at room temperature, and at least 6 more days in the fridge.

In the fridge the koji continued to grow, but slowly.

During the last couple of days, it had a very strong parmesan cheese flavour.

I suspect the best use of growing it directly on steak at room temperature would be if you were in a hurry, and just did it for a day or so, but I think we will stick to just marinating food in it in the fridge for between 3 and 7 days.

We did some lamb that turned out to be nice, but it works best on steak.

Lamb turned tender, flaversome, and oddly firm. Difficult to describe.

One cooking show on youtube did prawns (shrimp) for 3 days at 21c I think it was, and reported the same firmness. Definitely tender... more tender than it started, but firm.

Fish didnt make a lot of difference, but I only did that for 3 days I think (maybe only 2 days). But having tried the steak at room temperature, I'm a little more confident of it's antibacterial properties.I think I'll give fish another go for longer, or out of the fridge.

I probably mentioned it already, but Japanese people use shio koji to make a quick pickle out of veggies.

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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '20, 16:20 
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I dont think I mentioned it, but koji likes a slightly acid environment.

I used soda water the second time I made it... as seen in that red container at the top of this thread.

I'm not sure how important it is.

It turns out soda water is as acidic as cola.

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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '20, 21:50 
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BullwinkleII wrote:
I dont think I mentioned it, but koji likes a slightly acid environment.

I used soda water the second time I made it... as seen in that red container at the top of this thread.

I'm not sure how important it is.

It turns out soda water is as acidic as cola.

Good to see a follow up post a day after the steak. Either someone has taken over your account or it worked a treat. Oddly my mouth was salivating even though i have never tried it. Maybe it was the mere mention of steak. :think:


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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '20, 22:09 
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Asitis wrote:
BullwinkleII wrote:
I dont think I mentioned it, but koji likes a slightly acid environment.

I used soda water the second time I made it... as seen in that red container at the top of this thread.

I'm not sure how important it is.

It turns out soda water is as acidic as cola.

Good to see a follow up post a day after the steak. Either someone has taken over your account or it worked a treat. Oddly my mouth was salivating even though i have never tried it. Maybe it was the mere mention of steak. :think:


Definitely try it as a 3-5 day marinade in the fridge.

The room temperature stuff was too rich for us. But then I can image some people going crazy for it. It's an entirely new flavour either way.

Oh thats, another thing about it...

It really boosts the Maillard reation.

I tend to sous vide protein then hit it with a blow torch, so it can take a little time to get things brown. The koji really speeds up browning with a blowtorch, or any other way, even when it's completely washed off and towel dried.

The fish (flathead) browned before it was overcooked. I like browned fish skin, but it's often difficult to do without over-cooking the fish.

Koji fixes everything.

Everything.

I'm going to pour some onto the rear left suspension of my car to return it to it's firm, yet tender, former self. (But I've booked it in at a workshop just to be sure)

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 Post subject: Re: Koji
PostPosted: Jan 6th, '20, 23:23 
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When I started this thread there were only a few references on google to "koji fried chicken".

I did a search earlier for a recipe, and got 6000 or so hits... now it's 7,170.

It's for good reason.

I cooked some today, and it's the crunchiest food on earth (on a par with munching on fresh brandy snaps, toffee apples, and dry kindling).

It's like, "You dipped your chicken in epoxy!" kind of crunchy.

And it stays crunchy even when cold.

Preheat your oven to 180C (365F)

Marinate six chicken legs and six wings in 3/4 of a cup of shio koji (the wet stuff in the red container pictured at the start of the thread) for 3 days (or 30 minutes if you just want crunchy, but no koji flavour).

Then put maybe 40g of dried, inoculated rice (like the stuff you buy (or the stuff you farm, then dry in your free food dehydrator)) into a spice grinder or whatever (mortar and pestle, rolling pin, hammer).

Blitz it so it's rough like Panko bread crumb size. (kosher salt flakes size)

Add that chunky dry koji rice into a bowl with 3/4 cup of corn flour. If you live in Oz, that means Whitewings, not Nurses cornflour. (if you own Nurses cornflour, give it to some birds. It makes lumpy gravy, and it's not even made of corn).

You can probably use Nurses. :)

Then making sure there is a nice layer of the wet shio koji clinging to your chicken, toss it in the dry mix.

Deep fry at around 160C (320F) - 180C (356F) until golden brown (or a little darker), then transfer to the oven to wait until it's cooked through (75C (167F)), or until you've finished doing each batch of chicken (dont overcrowd your oil because the temperature will drop too much)

Your oil wont work so well after the third batch as it gets dirty, or burnt, or waterlogged or something.

I use enough oil in the pan to half cover the chicken, then turn it half way through the process to brown the other side. (just to save oil)

Use a neutral oil like canola, or vegetable oil*. Avoid something with too much flavour like olive oil.

You can get away with not using the oven if you are doing a small batch, but it will sit in the oven for ages while you amass enough for the masses, or until you get around to eating it. It's difficult to over cook dark meat from a chicken, especially when you've deep fried it for a bit.

Eat.

Bring friends.

Crunchiest food ever.

Bam!

Attachment:
Koji fried chicken.jpg
Koji fried chicken.jpg [ 88.6 KiB | Viewed 2124 times ]





*From wikipedia...

Hydrogenated oils

Unsaturated vegetable oils can be transformed through partial or complete "hydrogenation" into oils of higher melting point. The hydrogenation process involves "sparging" the oil at high temperature and pressure with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst, typically a powdered nickel compound. As each carbon-carbon double-bond is chemically reduced to a single bond, two hydrogen atoms each form single bonds with the two carbon atoms. The elimination of double bonds by adding hydrogen atoms is called saturation; as the degree of saturation increases, the oil progresses toward being fully hydrogenated. An oil may be hydrogenated to increase resistance to rancidity (oxidation) or to change its physical characteristics. As the degree of saturation increases, the oil's viscosity and melting point increase.**


**Sounds delicious.

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