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Koji
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Item #: 8137
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Description & Details

Cold Mountain Dry White Rice Koji 

20 oz California

As featured on Netflix series, SALT FAT ACIDHEAT

 with Samin Nosrat

 

Koji is one of the key ingredients used to make miso. Koji is made from steamed rice inoculated with "koji starter", consisting of spores of the mold ASPERGILLUS ORYZAE, then incubated for about 45 hours until each kernel of rice is covered with a bloom of fragrant white mold. The rice is then dried, preserving the mold on the outside of the rice kernals.

The function of mold is to produce enzymes that will later break down the soy (or whatever base is used) proteins, carbohydrates and oil into their amino acids, sugars and lipids - to make them more readily digestible or then use them in another process -- such as fermenting simple sugars into alcohol, such as when you make sake.

Note that Koji is never consumed raw.  It is common tool used in japanese and high-end restaurants, but whether used in making miso, tofu or soy sauce, koji is always part of a process and is always eventually cooked (miso when used as an ingredient) or fermented further (sake or rice wine vinegar or miso).

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A Little Koji Magic..

If anything can turn straw into gold, it would be Koji. I suspect that those who say Koji is not magic, don’t believe in magic. Even when they see right before their very eyes. For some things in life, explanations are only there to take the fear away from that which cannot be explained.

Koji was crafted 9000 years ago, most likely under another name, in an earthen jar in China and it has been a staple of food alchemy ever since. Just not so much here, at least not until recently.

To many it is the newest food rage, in fact, it is not a food, but a tool that harbors amazing little workers who can transform and change how and what we eat in ways that would never seem possible.

There is a lot of science in Koji. Papers have been written about the subject. Some are “dry”, long winded, and some so crusty they seem fermented themselves.

If you are interested in it, read the book “Koji Alchemy” by Rich Shih and Jeremy Umansky, from your local bookshop. It is new this year and quite a spectacular read. If you want recipes for Koji, this "cookbook" is the place to get them and understand “it”, too.

This domesticated mold was originally derived from a toxic mold and before people start writing, it is not toxic now. This mold has a long history of making amazing food and alcohol.

Koji is a million spores, a thousand knives, cutting up the cells of proteins to make a better eating experience.

Perhaps the best thing about Koji is that it inspires you to explore in the kitchen. Throw out preconceptions, what you thought was true is by the wayside, and spread the love of Koji on your meat, your veggies, your meals, so that life is renewed, optimistic; and a place where change can make things taste good at the same time as being the same.

Think of it as mold that is your friend and not your enemy. Once you get to know it you will find it can make your life better. And once you get used to it all, pretty much it will seem normal, like a friend that you always wished you had. Yes, it is different, but that is ok.

It is that difference that we all enjoy when it comes to enlightening our palates. It truly is a great way to expand our life and make our tongues happy! Transform the mundane to the insane.

Koji Dry-Aged Steak Recipe:

To start, use Koji as an amazing hack to dry-age steak, or really any protein of your choice, by taking the rice (the vehicle to carry the spores) and grinding it up in a blender to make a fine powder. Then rub it on your meat.

You can add spices, salt ... really most everything you normally do that is dry; whatever flavors you’re used to. Place on a rack over a pan in the fridge for 48 hours for best results. Really that's it. After 48 hours, scrape the crust off and rinse. Then, cook as you normally would, just a little shorter.

The use of koji with food is really about the fifth dimension; changing the composition so your taste is rewarded. It's magic! Think of changing and making food better with just a little pixie koji dust!

Keep in mind, doing it correctly keeps you safe when dealing with raw meats. Use an established recipe first.

 



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