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Culture-Foods of Asia

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An introduction to the intro of culture-foods of Asia in my Life

During June-July of 1982, one would have found me traveling throughout Java, Indonesia with a indistinguishable desire to experience traditional tempeh and other culture food-products of Indonesia prepared amongst the nativity of the traditional environment. During my travels, many cherished experiences were realized through iitiative exposure to the culture-products produced by the local Javanese culture-food Masters. In fact, it is through this very spirit of adventure, observation and pro-exploration the essence in which I try to reflect here. The culture-products explained here, include traditional culture-foods of Indonesia, Japan, China and Korea. These are forwarded to the interested reader with basic information in regard to the culture-product, including the preparation of the product. References to how some of these culture foods are prepared for consumption and health-promoting value are also discussed where possible.

I need to share that although in recent time there has been discussion and debate regarding research into soy and the potential of soy to hinder human health. However, the information here should teach the reader an understanding of the importance of fermenting soybeans to render the legume safe and acceptable for human consumption. After all, soy has been used for many thousands of years in China, and one would conclude that the legume has stood up to the test of time.

However, we can not afford to overlook the fact that many a wise Monk of the past with a deep knowledge and understanding of the human organism, mostly achieved through extensive fasting and good observation of the human organism and the effects of different foods and herbs and the environment on the human organism as a whole, those Monks came to realize and understand the importance of the fermentation of soy. It is those very Monks who were responsible for producing a vast variety of fermented soybean products, making the legume safe for consumption, to the point of increasing health in fact. In contrast, in the western world, soy is mostly not enjoyed in the fermented state, but instead, over consumed as a food additive in a majority of commercially ill-produced foods. Also, the majority of fermented soy products such as soy sauce and miso, are sold in a pasteurised state, which I feel is unfortunate and may hold some bearing in regards to health. These include toxic soy bean isolates and soy milk preparations from these, which may bear truth in regards to this recent research suggesting health hindering results due to the consumption of soy products. One can only stress the importance of us having to look to the past, in order to gain some better understanding of how soybeans were processed and used so that one may enjoy good nutrition wisely. We also need to observe everything in moderation, even moderation. So let us move forward from here, while we try our best to leave mass induced paranoia aside, while observing with an opened enough mind.


Tempeh

soy bean and peanut tempeClick picture for larger view.

Fresh soy bean and peanut tempeh cultured for 24 hours at 30°C [80% to 85% humidity]. I used to produce such tempeh commercially here in Adelaide, under the company name Lightwave Whole Foods [1979 to 1986].

Tempeh [tem-pay] in the west, and Tempe [tèm-phè] Indonesia.

Tempeh is a staple food in Indonesia, where it is traditionally prepared with soy beans or a certain variety of peanut fermented with molds mostly of the Rhizopus oligosporus specie. The cultured soybeans or nuts are bound together by a thick, white mycelium of new mold-growth, to form a cake. Although in some western countries, a variety of legumes and cereal grains are sometimes used to prepare tempeh, soy bean is mostly used for the production of tempeh.

Fresh tempeh has an earthy aroma, resembling a cross between mushroom and fresh yeast. Deep-fat-fried tempeh [tempeh goreng] fried in coconut oil, is widely consumed in Indonesia. Tempeh goreng has a delicious, slightly nutty flavour with a subtle mushroom-like overtone. The texture of tempeh goreng has a desirable mouth feel, with a satisfying flavour. In Indonesia, tempeh-based dishes are prepared in a variety of ways to create many wonderful nutritious meals. Tempeh is also used in a variety of dry food products. One particular product Tempeh Krupuk [kroo-pook], is similar to the common prawn chip. Tempeh krupuk is firmer and crispier and made from cassava, with small pieces of tempeh chips evenly distributed throughout each light, crispy wafer.

Traditionally, tempeh is prepared by initially boiling whole, dry soybeans in fresh water. The heat source is removed and the beans are left to stand for approximately 16 hours. During this time, a natural fermentation process acidifies the beans in water. The soy beans are taken to a local shallow river and placed in large woven bamboo baskets. The baskets are submerged in shallow water and the soy beans are stomped under the feet, similar to squashing grapes in traditional wine making of former days. This procedure de-hulls the soybeans, while the water current simultaneously washes away the floating hulls. The de-hulled soybeans remaining in the basket are boiled for about 60 minutes in water to partially cook the beans. The beans are strained, cooled and excess moisture is removed by spreading the cooked hot beans over a large table, or over a clean floor.

Tempe Biang Ragi [tempeh mother-culture], mainly consisting of Rhizopus oligosporus species of mold, is mixed well with the par-cooked cooled soy beans [inoculation]. Fresh banana leaves pierced with a long needle to from a grid of small holes throughout the leaves, are first laid down on the table rendered from bamboo strips. An even layer of inoculated soybeans are spread over the pierced banana leaves to about 10cm [4"] in depth. More pierced banana leaves are laid down on top to seal the bed of inoculated soybeans. Weights are placed on top of the leaves, ensuring that the leaves are in direct contact with the inoculated beans, to eliminate air pockets as much as possible.

After a 24 hour fermentation at room temperature [30° to 32°C or 86° to 90°F], the soybeans are covered with a rich, white mycelium, due to vigorous mold growth. The mold binds the soybeans together, forming a large cake of fermented soybeans as a bed of fresh tempeh. The large cake of tempeh is cut into smaller workable pieces, ready for consumption. The cakes are usually sold at a local food market [pasar].

Heat is naturally generated during the maturation process, making tempeh a unique culture food-product. When a fresh piece of market purchased tempeh is held in the hand, it feels warm with evidence of life.

Tempeh left at room temperature for longer periods, is classified as overripe tempeh. It acquires overtones of ammonia, with sporulation of the mature mold taking shape as black layers and spots on the surface. Overripe tempeh is often used to prepare certain dishes, such as small cubes of overripe tempeh stewed with Choko and fresh greens in coconut milk [santan], accompanied with a large portion of cooked rice and possibly peanut sauce. Such a dish provides high quality protein.

Through modern intervention, today, perforated plastic bags are used to ferment tempeh, replacing the former traditional banana-leaf technique. Although, smaller tempeh producers may still use the lauru contact-leaf method to inoculate partially cooked soy beans or groundnuts, modern starter-cultures are often employed instead.

Tempeh GorengPhoto. Tempeh Goreng or fried tempeh [kefir, sea salt and garlic marinated tempeh, pan fried in coconut oil] with coconut oil fried sweet banana peppers.

In Indonesia, it is common for just one piece of tempeh shown in picture is enjoyed along with a large serving of rice, a portion of a variety of fresh vegetable or cooked greens and a little meat or fish on the side, often served with peanut sauce. This combination provides high quality protein. Tempeh is not overeaten in Indonesia or enjoyed as a main course in any one meal. In the west however, vegetarians may make tempeh the main item in a meal, which is not a health-wise choice. A meal consisting of too much commercial tempeh defeats the purpose of good health for it does not provide proper balanced nutrition.

Traditional tempeh is rich in natural antioxidants. One antioxidant bio-synthesized by organisms and referred to as factor 2 is said to be 600 times more potent than vitamin E. The fermentation of tempeh also produces isoflavones-- daidzein, genistein, orobol and factor 2. Recent study suggests these have inhibition of angiogenesis activity. These isoflavones are known to be implicated in the regulation of new blood vessel formation, which can prevent tumour formation. Some of these isoflavones are more effective than others. The present findings suggest that the newly discovered isoflavones of tempeh, might be added to the list of low molecular mass therapeutic agents for the inhibition of angiogenesis.[1]

Some three natural occurring antibiotics produced by the mold have also been discovered in traditional tempeh. Some of the B group vitamins are found in greater quantity in tempeh in comparison to unfermented soybeans. Raw, uncooked tempeh also contains enzymes and free amino acids. Vitamin B12 found in Indonesian tempeh, is thought to be bio-synthesized by a non-pathogenic strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae and quite possibly other strains also produce vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is synthesized through the effort of symbiosis, a dynamic relationship between molds and bacteria during fermentation. Research suggests that vitamin B12 of tempeh is the bio-active form [2] while other research states that it is the analogue or precursor [non bio-active form]. The bio-synthesis of the form of vitamin B12 may depend on the culture and culture-conditions e.g., traditional Vs commercial methods. However, past and current methods to determine active or inactive vitamin B12 are not reliable, and previous Bacteriological Assay procedures were measuring both active and inactive vitamin B12 as a total amount giving a false positive. [See Further Reading below].

Solely relying on commercial tempeh for vitamin B12 may not be wise in the western world, for commercial tempeh produced in the west quite likely does no contain vitamin B12 or only the analogue form, which apparently robs the body of active B12 if an inadequate intake of bio-active B12 lacks in the diet. This is mostly because modern methods use starters of pure strains of mold, without added vitamin B12 producing bacteria, and the culture environment is kept as sterile as possible. This limits or prevents the introduction of wild bacteria from being cultured, which may otherwise produce vitamin B12. On the other hand, home made tempeh that is cultured under less sterile conditions, which is mostly quite safe to do, may in fact contain active vitamin B12 due to the high possibility of introducing wild bacteria into the preparation and culture-process. As an example, when I produced tempeh on a commercial basis, my brand was and to this day is preferable by past customers, over a brand of tempeh that was and still is produced else where in Australia. Costumers have always held that my tempeh had better flavour, over other tempeh brands. This is because the process I developed, allowed strains of bacteria in the process, which gives the tempeh more flavour, and quite possibly a good portion of bio-active vitamin B12.

Rhisopus oligosporusA sample of my tempeh starter-culture of pure Rhizopus oligosporus mold cultured in a test tube on soy grits and rice substrate. Rhizopus oligosporus produces black spores when the mold matures and sporulates. Like most molds, it needs aerobic conditions [freely available oxygen] in order to sporulate.

Traditional method for preparing tempeh starter involved fresh leaves of the hibiscus [lauru] species. An amount of cooked soybeans are wrapped between raw lauru leaves and left for a few days at room temperature. This enhances specific mold species to grow on the soybeans which produce spores. The leaves and molded soybeans are used to inoculate the dry, cool par-cooked soybeans, as the tempeh master vigorously rubs the inside part of the lauru over the entire soybeans. This natural method for inoculation, is known as the contact leaf method.

References

1. Kiriakidis S, Ho¨gemeier O, Starcke S, Dombrowski F, Claus HJ, Pepper M, Chandra JH, Wernert N. [2005] Novel tempeh (fermented soyabean) isoflavones inhibit in vivo angiogenesis in the chicken chorioallantoic membrane assay. British Journal of Nutrition ;93:317–323.
2. Sylvia K, Bisping B. [1993] Formation of vitamins by pure cultures of tempeh mould and bacteria during the tempe solid substrate fermentation. Journal of Applied Bacteriology.;[75]:427-434.

Further Reading

Shurtleff W, Akiko A. [1980] Tempeh Production, Vol. 2. Soy Foods Center, Lafayette, Calif. USA.
Nutritional value of Tepeh
Vitamin B12: Are You Getting It? [www.veganhealth.org]
Measuring B12: Why the Confusion? [www.veganhealth.org]
Vitamin B12 Analogues [www.veganhealth.org]
Battersby AR. 1994 How nature builds the pigments of life: the conquest of vitamin B12. Science. ;264[5165]:1551-1557
Allan KS, Sidney JC. [1978] Soybeans: Chemistry and Technology Vol. 1 Proteins ISBN 0-87055-111-6 [v.1]

Did you know that the longest ever laboratory experiment, which took 25 years to complete, was the synthesis of vitamin B12? What year did this experiment begin? Where was it performed? Who was involved? How long does it take for a single celled organism such as Klebsiella pneumoniae to synthesize vitamin B12?

Ontjom or Onchom

OnchomOntjom more recently referred to as onchom, is a culture food-product closely related to tempeh. Onchom is more commonly produced in West Java, Indonesia. Unlike tempeh, onchom is mainly prepared from ground nut [Arahis hypogea] or peanut, but other products including soy bean fiber [okara Japanese], a byproduct of manufacturing soy milk or coconut press-cake, a byproduct from processing coconut oil from fresh coconut meat is also used.

A mold species Neurospora sitophila which produces orange-red spores, is used in the short fermentation of onchom. In contrast to tempeh, sporulation of the orange-red mold is encouraged in onchom production.

A carpet of brilliant orange-red mold should cover the surface of traditional onchom, when it is ready for consumption. Onchom deep fat fried in coconut oil, has a delicate mushroom-like flavour, with overtones of a sweet-nutty flavour and aroma.

When I first set my eyes on onchom in an Indonesian pasar [market], I thought I was on Planet Mars. The wonderful rich orange-red colour amazed me so much... that I just had to try some... and I'm surely delighted that I did!

Neurospora sitophilaNeurospora sitophila cultured in a test tube at 30°C at 80 to 85% humidity for 72 hours. The original spores to culture this particular starter-culture, were scrapings taken from a sample of traditional onchom, purchased at a food market in Jakarta, Indonesia. Note the sporulation of orange-red coloured spores at the cotton wool-end of the test tube. This is where oxygen is freely available during incubation, which is essential for sporulation to occur.


Koji

fresh young kojiFresh rice koji fermented for 72 hours at 35°C [95°F] at 95% humidity.

Koji [koh-jee] is an abbreviation of kabi-tacki meaning Bloom of Mold. Koji is an important culture food-product of Japan and like much of Japanese culture, koji was introduced from China about 200 A.D. Other varieties of culture food-products rely on koji for preparation. These include the production of Miso, Soy sauce, Amazakè and Sake. Koji is mainly used as a starter-process for producing the latter culture food-products, through the action of enzymes, generously provided in abundance in koji. Variations of koji prepared with mixed strains of specific molds, yeasts or Lactic acid bacteria [LAB] are specially prepared and incorporated in Japan. For optimisation, a tailored koji with specific enzyme activity is used in accordance with the product prepared. Enzymes mainly convert starch into simple fermentable sugars, so that during secondary fermentation [if required], sugars become available for yeasts e.g., for preparing specific varieties of miso or sake. In addition, for miso production, proteins are broken down into peptides [amino acids] by the action of proteolytic enzymes hydrolyze the protein [see below for a list of enzymes of koji].


Aspergillus oryzae
A pure culture of
Aspergillus oryzae specie of mold produces olive-green coloured spores. The spores are harvested for Koji-Kin [or koji-tanae-- seed of Koji] as an inoculant, or for seeding of the mold on a substrate.

 

Koji is prepared from steamed short grain white rice, barley or soybeans. Cooked ingredients are cooled to 35°C [95°F] and inoculated with koji tanae. Koji tanae is an inoculant prepared with mold spores of Aspergillus oryzae or A. sojae species. Koji tanae may be prepared to contain yeast and Lactic acid bacteria. The warm substrate is incubated for 3 to 4 days at about 42°C [107°F] at 90% to 95% humidity. The inoculated rice or other preferred media or substrate is stirred regularly during incubation.. This encourages the proliferation of mold growth distributed evenly throughout the entire rice substrate, while inhibiting the formation of rice clumps and prevent over heating. A white mycelium of new mold growth should fully cover each rice grain. Koji is harvested prior sporulation of the mold, to ensure peak enzyme activity and good aroma.

Koji Enzymes

The fermentation of rice with Aspergillus oryzae for Koji produces many different catalysts or enzymes that are present in koji. It's these enzymes that breakdown starch, protein and fats including the removal of certain elements such as esters of the food ingredient that the koji is added to, and stored at an optimal warm temperature so that the enzymes can best do their work.

Enzymes found in Koji

Alpha-amylase A starch to simple sugar converter, such as dextrins, maltose, maltotriose. Alpha-amylase is also found in human saliva. Interestingly it is also used in the treatment of inflammatory conditions and edema of soft tissues associated with traumatic injury.

Proteolytic enzymes Breakdown or hydrolyses protein into amino acids or peptides.

Protease's Any enzyme that breaks down protein [proteolytic enzyme]. 3 types are known in koji, one is active at acid pH, one at alkaline pH and one at neutral pH.

Other more elaborate enzymes found in koji--

Peptidases Any enzyme that conducts proteolysis, that is, begins protein catabolism by hydrolysis of the peptide bonds that link amino acids together in the chain made up of more than a single amino acid [polypeptide].

Sulfatases Remove sulphate from a variety of substrates by breaking down various sulphate esters.

Nucleases Capable of cleaving the phosphodiester bonds between the nucleotide subunits of nucleic acids. Is also used in genetic engineering as a tool to cut and paste DNA, as a means of splicing DNA and at the required site each time.

Phosphatases An enzyme that removes a phosphate group from its substrate by breaking down phosphoric acid monoesters into a phosphate ion and a molecule with a free hydroxyl group.

(Trans)glycosidases A class of alpha and beta proteins. See this for more info

Amidase An enzyme that breaks down monocarboxylic amides, thus freeing ammonia. Also called acylamidase or Acylase.

Ribonucleo-depolymerasee

Mononucleotide phosphatase

Adenyl-deaminases

Purine nucleosidases.

It is these enzymes that breakdown starch, protein and fats including olygosaccharides and other compounds found in the food ingredient that koji is added to and which is stored at an optimum warm temperature so that the enzymes can do their job. These are what makes koji what it is and why it is used to create a variety of different culture food-products including alcoholic liquors [as per the following four products].

Further Reading

Shurtleff W, Akiko A. [1976] The Book of Miso. Autumn Press, Kanagawa-ken, Japan
Allan KS, Sidney JC. [1978] Soybeans: Chemistry and Technology Vol.1 Proteins
ISBN 0-87055-111-6 [v.1]


Amazakè

Amazakè [ah-mah ZA-kae] is sweet sake in Japanese. Amazakè is a sweet, cultured glutinous rice product, containing virtually no alcohol. Amazakè is also similar to a product produced in the first of a few stages for Sake production. Amazakè is a sweet delicacy widely enjoyed throughout Japan. Sweetness is produced naturally through fermentation of cooked glutinous rice with koji. The fermentation process converts the starch of rice into simple sugars. Amazakè has a hint of an aroma which reminds me of digestive juices, complimented by an overtone of sweet, pleasant nutty flavour.

To prepare Amazakè, koji is mixed with cooked, cooled glutinous rice, and incubated between 10 to 24 hours at 38° to 40°C. The fermentation is complete when the mixture has a sweet fragrance, and each rice grain loses its sticky property. The grains should be very soft when squeezed between the fingers [pre-digested]. Amazakè can contain a converted sugar content by as much as 30%.

Due to the high digestibility through enzyme activity of Amazakè, I place it among the Queen of baby-weaning food. It makes an excellent first solid-food for toddlers. My daughter Angelica who was born with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome [pancreatic enzyme insufficiency as part of the genetic disordered syndrome], use to immensely crave for Amazakè. It was her first solid food, which I cultured from whole, black glutinous rice, because of unavailability of traditional sweet brown rice [whole grain brown glutinous rice] here in Australia. It helped my late daughter to gain weight at a crucial time in her short life.

Amazakè can also be used as a natural sweetener, substituting 3 Tbs per each Tbs of honey. Amazakè is eaten as a thick hot drink in Japan. I just love Amazakè. I encourage anyone who has not tried Amazakè, to give it a go.


Sake

Sake is a Japanese alcohol beverage. Sake is produced by mixing koji with cooked rice of a special kind. The mash is incubated at 38° to 40°C to basically produce Amazakè. During this process, the enzymes of koji convert starch of cooked rice into simple sugars. A strain of Saccharomyces yeast is added to the Amazakè liquor. During secondary fermentation, the yeast converts simple sugars into alcohol. This produces a rice liquor which is aged and filtered, to give us sake. Alcohol content of sake is around 15% v/v.

Commercial sake is divided into two classes: Futsu-shu [general sake, which has amounts of distilled alcohol added at the final stage to increase yield] and Tokutei meisho-shu [special sake, which is made just with rice usually with no added distilled alcohol. If alcohol is added it is to improve flavour and final quality of sake]. Tokutei meisho-shu is categorized by the degree of rice milling and the use of distilled alcohol such as Honjozo-shu and Junmai-shu. Rice milling means that the rice is polished to remove an amount of the outer portion of each grain, so that protein and fats which are found at a higher concentration on the outer region of the grain nearest to the husk, have been removed. The proteins and fats would otherwise produce unwanted flavour in sake. Closer to the centre of the grain is mostly starch.

Here are classifications of sake, beginning with the most laboursome and more refined methods with better ingredients.

Gingu Shu, or super premium sake

Junmai-daiginjo-shu: The degree of rice milling is under 50%. No distilled alcohol is added. The pinnacle of the sake master's art.

Junmai-ginjo-shu: The degree of rice milling is under 60%. No distilled alcohol is added.

Daiginjo-shu: The degree of rice milling is under 50%. Distilled alcohol is added.

Ginjo-shu: Fermented at low temperatures and for longer periods. The degree of rice milling is under 60%. Distilled alcohol is added.

Premium Sake

Junmai-shu: No distilled alcohol is added. The degree of rice milling is at least 70%.

Tokubetsu Junmai-shu, or Special Junmai-shu: Indicates more highly polished rice, or the use of very special sake rice.

Honjozo-shu: Distilled alcohol is added. The degree of rice milling is under 70%, which means 30% of each rice grain is removed by polishing.

Tokubetsu Honjozo-shu or Special Honjozo-shu: Indicates more highly polished rice, or the use of very special sake rice.

Anything with the name Junmai means that the sake is made just with rice, with no added distilled alcohol. The suffix shu is sake which is often dropped when talking about sake in Japan. So Junmai-shu is also said simply as Junmai.

Namazakè is sake which has not been pasteurised, and any kind of sake can be classed as namazakè.


Miso

There are many varieties of miso. A brief description of the common varieties are explained in this section.

Miso [mee-soh], is traditionally made in Japan. Miso is believe to originate in China [or Korea?] where it is known as Chiang or soybean paste. There are many varieties of miso, which are basically all made with koji mixed with either salted cooked rice, barley, and/or soy beans or a mixture. The ingredients are aged in crocks or wooden kegs. Some of the lighter sweet miso, such as Shiro miso, are aged for only 1 to 2 months. While the darker varieties, such as Hatch miso may be aged for up to 2 years. Miso comes in many colours, ranging from creamy white, red and cocoa-brown, with variations. The texture and flavour of such varieties are just as diverse.

Miso is what I refer to as fermentation-controlled-compost designed for human consumption. As compost has proven to be one of the best source of nutrients for the vegetative kingdom, miso can be just as an important source of nutrition for people alike. Miso contains traces of vitamin B12, antioxidants, enzymes and many other natural goodies. A cup of miso soup taken in the morning is renowned to induce gradual and long lasting stimulating effect. Following are a few types of miso with a short description of each variety.

Shiro misoShiro Miso shi-roh mee-soh (Kyoto Shiro Miso, or Saikyo Miso) or young sweet white miso has a delicate sweet smooth flavour and texture. Shiro Miso is made by combining up to 4 parts of rice to 2 parts of soybeans to 1 part salt. Shiro miso may range in colour from bone white to light yellow. Shiro miso contains the lowest salt content of all miso. The miso has a hint of a sake-like overtone, due to alcohol produced during fermentation, which is retained in the miso. This is also due to the short fermentation process, which helps to preserve the finished miso, adding a well rounded flavour to the finished culture product. Shiro Miso is manufactured commercially using a special complex process. This process is apparently a well guarded secret by its manufacturers in Japan.

 

Mugi misoMugi miso moo-gee mee-soh is a creamy barley miso red brown in colour, darker than rice miso and aged longer.

Kome misoKome miso koh-meh mee-soh also known as red miso [Aka miso]. Mainly a brown rice miso with a red colour having the highest salt content of all miso, with a thick, rich creamy texture.

 

Hatcho miso Hatcho miso hah-choh mee-soh is Japans most favourite miso, prepared from soy beans and soy koji. It is chunky, dark chocolate brown and high in protein. Hatcho miso is prepared from cooked soy beans, which are cooled and mixed with the mother-culture koji and salt. The mixture is fashioned into round balls which are placed in wooden barrels, pressed under weight and aged for up to 18 months. During this time, the enzyme-rich koji breaks down the protein and starch into amino acids and lactic acid. The finished dark brown-black miso has a salty flavour with a hint of sourness and a unique subtle aftertaste, depending on the miso master's trade-secret.

.

Name miso nah-meh mee-soh is made solely from soy beans as with Hatcho miso. Traditional methods for preparing name miso is quite different compared to most common miso, as wild mold spores were forced to grow on cooked, crushed soy bean balls [miso-dama] wrapped in rice straw. This is usually left to hang indoors near a wood-oven until mold-growth covers the beans [about one month]. The beans were mashed, mixed with salt and water, then fermented and aged in crocks or kegs.

Natto Miso nah-toh mee-soh can be mistaken for natto. Natto miso is prepared with koji. However, natto is prepared with soybeans cultured with a specific bacteria. Unlike natto, natto-miso contains salt and is prepared with whole barley and soybean Koji, with fine slitheres of Hijiki or Kombu seaweed and green ginger. It has a sweet and salty fruity flavour with a soft chewy texture due to whole grains and whole soy beans.

END NOTE It's a pity that most if not all commercial miso is pasteurised before sale. This destroys the important enzymes in miso, which is the key ingredient that can especially aid better health through better digestion of food. Unpasteurized miso is very hard to find and is quite expensive to purchase. I suggest to read the End Notes of sufu below.

Reference

Shurtleff W, Akiko A. [1976] The Book of Miso. Autumn Press, Kanagawa-ken, Japan
Allan KS, Sidney JC. [1978] Soybeans: Chemistry and Technology Vol. 1 Proteins ISBN 0-87055-111-6 [v.1]


Soy Sauce-- Tamari or Shoyu

Soy sauce, Tamari or Shoyu [Japan], Cha'au yau or Pak yau [China], Ketjup [Malaya], Kecap [Indonesia], Kenjang [Korea], Yoyo [Philippines]. Soy sauce is a savory dark brine expressed from a type of miso-like production. The liquid is expressed during the aging process or fermenting rice or wheat koji and soy bean. To produce high quality soy sauce, variation in technique for producing a miso-like product is incorporated. This involves adding more water to the mash and includes secondary fermentation with yeast and bacteria during a specific stage of the koji fermentation process. Soy sauce dates back 3,000 years in China and is said it was introduced to Japan with the introduction of Buddhism. Soy sauce has a salty flavour and there are various types made with varying salt content. Indonesia produces a savory and sweet/savory soy sauce, Kecap manis [manis means sweet]. Soy sauce is used as a liquid condiment on rice and soups including other dishes in Asia, and unadulterated traditional soy sauce adds a desirable flavour to food. It also aids digestion due to a rich enzyme complex.

END NOTE It's a pity that today, most commercial soy sauce is pasteurised before sale. Pasteurisation destroys the all important enzymes in soy sauce, which is the key ingredient that can especially aid better health through better digestion of food. Unpasteurized soy sauce is not only difficult to find, it is quite expensive. This is where homemade soy sauce has great advantage for the soy sauce master. I suggest to read the End Notes of sufu below if one is interested in an enzyme rich fermented soy product commercially available and currently, is quite cheap to purchase.


Natto

Click for larger viewNatto na as in hat toh as in top na-toh is a soy product produced in Japan in a similar fashion for Tempeh of Indonesia. Like most culture soy food-products, Natto was first developed by Buddhist monks.

However, for natto, a bacteria instead of mold is used to bring about the desired effect. Natto possesses a very unusual odour of the bacteria used, Bacillus subtilis var. natto. Overtones of ammonia are produced during fermentation by the breakdown of amino acids. Bacillus subtilis var. Natto produces viscous, sticky polymers primarily consisting of gamma-polyglutamic acid. Stirring natto with a fork produces long glossy threads, which gives natto a unique, unusual character.

Health-promoting compounds are produced by Bacillus subtilis var. natto, namely gamma-polyglutamic acid as above and subtilisin NAT [nattokinase] and the protease enzyme. The bacteria can also bio-synthesize vitamin K sub. 2 [vitamin K2] in the gut of the host consuming nattor. Because of the characteristic odour, slimy appearance and flavour, natto is not consumed as much as miso in latter years. I just adore natto though... and as someone once said, "One may determine the health of an individual by the individual's appetite and readiness to try anything new at least once. If the food has an unusual aura surrounding it, then this can determine health at a different level." Now who could have said that, I wonder? <cheeky natto grin>.

Quality of natto is determined by how far the polymer threads stretch before they break. These threads can usually stretch as far as one can spread their arms apart, before tearing. The threads appear like a fine spider web.

Click for larger viewNatto is traditionally prepared by boiling whole soaked soybeans for 8 hours until well cooked. The soft cooked beans are strained, cooled and then wrapped in rice straw, and stored in a warm spot for 1 to 2 days. Using rice straw, instead of modern day starter-cultures was credited not only for supplying the fermenting organisms, but also gave natto the aroma of straw, which consumers were fond of. The straw also absorbs much of the ammonia produced during fermentation.

Today, if one can purchase ready-made natto, one can prepare their own natto by simply adding a small amount of natto to inoculate well cooked warm soybeans, and incubated in a covered container at 40°C [104°F] for 12 to 24 hours.

Natto can also be prepared with most varieties of cooked legumes, including freshly blanched almonds, sunflower seed and pumpkin seed kernels to mention a few common ingredients.

Instructions for preparing natto These instructions came with a commercial Japanese NattoMoto brand of natto-kin [natto-starter].

There is also a variety of miso referred to as Natto miso which must not be confused with natto. Natto miso is prepared in a completely different manner to natto; using soy and barley koji instead of a bacteria. Unlike natto, natto miso contains salt and a variety of other ingredients, including fine slithers of kombu seaweed and ginger.


Su-Fu

Su-fu Soo-Foo as in Foot. [Common accepted name]. Toufu-ru, toufu-ju, furu, rufu, tou-ru [Mandarin], fuyu, funan [Cantonese], su-fu, tou-sufu [Shanghi], tahuri [Philippines], chao [Vietnam], taokoan, takoa [Indonesia]. It is obvious that su-fu goes by many names in different countries including the same country. Sufu originated in China but is also prepared in other Asian countries where variations of sufu exist. I shall refer to it as sufu here.

Sufu preserved bean curdTwo varieties or sufu removed from a jar of brine. In contrast to the firm texture of the original fresh tofu prior to fermentation with mold, the texture and consistency of well aged sufu is soft and creamy, similar to butter left at room temperature. In other words, sufu is a pre-digested source of protein, easily assimilated.

Sufu is mostly sold in the west as, Preserved Bean-curd along with chinese characters for the common Mandarin brand name. The product is commonly available from Asian grocery stores. Strangely enough, sufu means spoiled tofu due to its strong flavour and pungent aroma, which varies depending on brand, production method and flavour-type. Sufu resembles the dairy equivalent in cheese Parmesan, Camembert or a strong blue cheese and Roqueforte. Because of this, sufu is also referred to as Chinese cheese. Vegans may find the amazing culture-food sufu useful as an important digestible source of protein to complement a particular dish. Sufu is rich in proteolytic enzymes and health-promoting peptides [amino acids]. Sufu may help to satisfy vegans who crave cheese.

sesame-chili and red fermented rice sufuTwo common brands of sufu purchased from Asian grocery stores here in the Adelaide Central City Market, South Australia. Left is sesame oil and chili flavoured sufu, right is red yeast fermented rice sufu.

Recent studies show that the peptides of sufu are made up of 10 amino acids or less. This information was kindly shared with me by a microbiologist, Li Li-Te of China.

Sufu is prepared from approximately 2cm [1"] cut cubes of freshly produced tofu, which is reasonably sterile right after pressing the hot bean curd [tofu]. Or for the home maker who resorts to purchased tofu, cut cubes of tofu are sterilized by steaming or blanching in boiling water. The cubes are cooled to about 30°C or 86°F and then the surface of each cube is inoculated [seeded] with spores of the mold species Mucor racemosus, Rhizopus species or Actinomucor elegans.

The inoculated tofu cubes are skewered with thin, long bamboo skewers and placed in rows in a sealed cedar wood box. The inoculated tofu is fermented at about 30°C or 86°F at humidity of about 85% for 3 days. The tofu becomes completely covered with white mycelium of vigorous mold growth. The molded tofu is placed in jars filled with salt brine. Sufu brine may consist of 12% salt, rice wine or about 10% alcohol.

I have prepared wonderful sufu with tempeh mold Rhizopus oligosporus in place of traditional mold species. Aged for at least 6 months produces soft sufu in 7% salt brine with rice wine to give the brine about 4% alcohol. The surface of this particular sufu is a little firm, compared to the midsection portion of each cube. While traditional sufu is evenly soft right through. This, I believe, is due to the fashion in which the mold species Rhizopus oligosporus binds the surface of tofu as it proliferates during incubation. The firm surface texture compared to the inner portion is the actual bound mold, and not the softened tofu itself. I actually enjoy this type of surface texture, it provides an interesting mouth-feel due to a chewable character, which complements the softer mid-portion of each cube of sufu.

Depending on the variety of sufu, spices such as chili including sesame seed oil may be included to flavour the sufu. The sufu is aged between some months to some years before sold and consumed. The important aging process matures sufu, rendering the initial firm fresh tofu, into a soft, butter-like consistency. This makes sufu a highly digestible source of protein, due to the free amino acids converted by protease enzyme [enzymes that breakdown protein] activity during ripening. In fact, in Australia, large warehouses storing large amounts of sufu shipped from China, is matured during storage. I have found jars of sufu at Asian stores, which I estimate to be no less than 10 years old. I actually search for such well aged sufu, for we prefer this over a younger variety. This is when my own stock has run out, or I am waiting for the homemade product to mature.

There is also a red coloured variety of sufu. This is prepared with the addition of red yeast fermented rice or ange-kakin [China]. Powdered Red fermented rice is added to the brine, producing sufu with a natural deep red/brown colour due to strong red pigments of red fermented rice. See Red fermented rice below.

Sufu Lotus soupThe picture shows one of my favourite soup recipes. Top left of picture is a small platter with 2 cubes of sufu and homemade organic soy sauce. The dish consists of lotus root, yam, carrot, mung bean sprouts, brown rice/buckwheat noodles with tempeh and Shitake mushroom. The sufu is mixed to a chunky paste and stirred in the soup along with the soy sauce just prior enjoying the dish. YUMMOOH! is simply a word, until you try a wonderful dish like this.

In certain parts of China, sufu is enjoyed for breakfast as mixed cooked rice with sufu, con-gee or hot breakfast rice porridge. We enjoy sufu in various ways. We incorporate sufu in recipes such as stir fry, dips and sauces and as part ingredient for a variety of other dishes. I have also added amounts of sufu to fresh kefir cheese, which I've named kefir-leban for preparing delicious dips. It can also be added to flour for bread making, to improve protein quality, so that essential amino acid profile is in better proportion.

Adding a small amount of sufu to dishes provides a unique flavour, giving the dish a delicate subtle edge. Sufu makes a good substitute for commercial stock cubs and powders used as flavouring. Sufu spread on toasted sourdough wholemeal with fresh coriander leaves, garlic and toasted whole sesame seeds is another simple snack we enjoy. Sufu makes a wonderful addition to marinades, especially high protein foods such as tempeh, tofu, meats and fish, for the proteolytic enzymes of sufu partially break down the protein of those high protein foods.

Traditional [older and wiser] Chinese folk, suggest that the older or more mature and pungent the sufu, the better. And of course, they're correct! Today, younger generations are losing contact with this amazing culture-food. AH!... the wonders of some Western stup-biotic influence. Move over and make room McDonalds, after all, Su-fu was there first. Those who consume sufu shall with little doubt outlive with a healthier life those who eat and rely at McDonalds and the like!

A scientific paper has shown that the peptides of sufu have anti oxidative and angiotensin I-converting enzyme [ACE] inhibitory action. ACE inhibitory peptides are considered to be useful for preventing hypertension, or high blood pressure.[1] Through correspondence with one of the researches Li Li-te [1999], Li Li-te expressed interest in producing sufu will about 2% salt or less, to produce sufu will as less sodium content as possible and was interested in observing if kefir organisms could be used in the production of such a product. I am not certain where this research lead, though, due to loss of contact with Li Li-te some time ago. Li Li-te was kind enough to provide me a traditional sufu starter in exchange for kefir grains.

END NOTES Sufu is a powerful functional food or super food, with little to no phyto-estrogens or hormone-like compounds that is currently causing concern in regard to these compounds found in most soy products in the western world. Such water soluble compounds are removed during the preparation of tofu, which is the main raw ingredient of sufu. These compounds are removed along with soy whey, so little to no phyto-estrogen or hormone-like compounds are found in tofu itself. This was found to be the case in a study on phyto-estrogens of soy products performed here in Australia around 2002. It was concluded that tofu contained little to no measurable phyto-estrogen compared to soybeans and soy milk, if my recall is correct.

A little sufu goes a long way and one only needs to enjoy a small amount with any meal. Since most if not all commercial soy sauce and miso are pasteurised for sale, on the other hand, sufu is aged in the jar and sold unpasteurized. This means that the enzymes are not destroyed. In this case, sufu can aid digestion, and can also pre-digest high protein foods if sufu is used in a marinade for such food. I would urge individuals who enjoy and purchase miso or soy sauce for enzyme activity, but which instead lack enzymes, to substitute these with sufu if one wants to make certain that they are enjoying a living, active, enzyme rich food. If one mostly eats cooked food, then live functional foods such as sufu should be included with each cooked meal, so that some life is introduced to the cooked meal, to at the least aid digestion.

Go on... add 75 days extra to your life by trying sufu. Once you acquire a taste for sufu, you may never regret the experience.

Reference

1. Masayoshi Saito, Eizo Tatsumi and Li Li-te. [2003] Food Science and Technology Division, JIRCAS China Agricultural University.


Red Yeast Fermented Rice

Red fermented riceAnge-kakin or Hong-qu [China]. Bheni-koji [Japan], commonly known as Red Yeast Rice in some English speaking countries. Red fermented rice is a unique culture-product, which has many uses in traditional oriental food preparation.

Red Yeast fermented rice is a rice product cultured with the mold, Monascus purpureus [filamentous fungi]. The mold cultures the rice to produce concentrated red pigments covering the entire surface, penetrating up to some 60 to 80% of each individual rice grain. The culture-product can be purchased in dry form from most Asian grocery outlets. Volume-for-volume, the dehydrated product is much lighter than non-fermented rice.

Dehydrated red yeast fermented rice is usually ground to a powder [Zhi Tai] and used as a natural red colouring for a variety of foods. It has a slight nutty bitter flavour, but of which is readily complimented with a little savory, such as soy sauce. A variety of sufu is prepared with brine consisting of Zhi Tai, rice wine and sea salt. In this case Zhi Tai is used as a natural red food colouring to give the fermented tofu [sufu] a rich, earthy-red colour [see picture of sufu in section above]. The red pigment of red fermented rice can be extracted with alcohol, which is called Xue Zhi Kang on filtration.

As a Natural Red Colouring for Food and for Art Sake

Recent western investigations has researched the possibility of using red yeast fermented rice as a natural red colouring agent for commercial yogurt [1], including cultured-meats such as Salami. I use red fermented rice as a red pigment in my artwork. I also find that it makes a wonderful natural food colouring agent, for preparing pickled fresh green ginger [see below]. It also creates a wonderful pink to a red colour when added as part ingredient to prepare a marinade for tofu, tempeh, fresh meat including fish. In this case, red yeast fermented rice provides a penetrating pink-red colour when used as part ingredient for preparing a marinade. I also marinade varieties of fresh kefir cheeses in a red yeast rice brine, which I produce at home. Such a marinade enhances the red colour of meats and fish, and extends the shelf life quite considerably, while tenderising the food-product of choice.

A General Red Yeast Rice Marinade Recipe

dot 1/2 cup Kefir or Kefir-Whey [prepared by straining liquid-kefir through cloth, to separate the whey].
dot 1 cup water.
dot 1 Tbs red yeast fermented rice ground in a coffer grinder or with a mortar and pestle [Molcajete y tejolete Mexican. Cobek ulek-ulek; Indonesian. Suribachi; Japanese. [Red yeast fermented rice is also purchasable in powder form from most Asian grocery stores].
dot 2 Tbs soy sauce or 1 to 2 Tsp sea salt or a cube of sufu.
dot 1/4 cup sake, rice cooking wine or white wine [Optional]
dot 6 cloves fresh Garlic crushed and finely chopped.
dot 2 Tbs freshly bruised ginger root, or a quantity added to your liking.
dot 1 Tbs chopped fresh herbs such as fresh coriander leaves [cilantro] and fresh mint [my favourite].

Mix all ingredients in a deep non metallic container and submerge the fresh food of choice, such as sliced tofu, tempeh, fillets of fresh meat and fish in the marinade. Refrigerated for a minimum of one day before cooking the marinated food product of choice. The famous Red Peaking Duck is traditionally rendered red by basting the surface of the Duck with red yeast fermented rice powder mixed with sweet soy sauce. The Duck is hung for a few days to tenderise before roasted or grilled. Also see my Kefir Preserving Brine web page for similar ideas.

red pickled gingerThe photo on left is my homemade natural salmon pink honey and vinegar pickled ginger. Note the paper-thin slices of fresh green [young] ginger root [top right of photo]. Fresh, young tender ginger root is first scrubbed with an abrasive hand dish scrubber to remove the very thin outer skin. Whole pealed ginger root is then cut into thin slices with a very sharp knife. The thin slices are pickled in a jar filled with sweet and sour brine, prepared with 1/2 cup homemade non-pasteurised red wine vinegar, or rice vinegar, 1/2 cup raw honey, 1/2 cup of water and 1 Tbs of red fermented rice powder. As shown in picture, the red fermented rice brine renders pickled ginger with a wonderful natural delicate pink colour.

Pickled ginger has an appealing hot bite typical to ginger, with a sweet/sour flavour to warm mind, body, and lift the spirit. A few slices of pickled ginger enjoyed between meals, or, blending with a cup of kefir, is a natural effective method of, prevention, or control of morning sickness including nausea in general (suits ;-)

Cholestin and monacolin K are monacolins compounds derived from the yeast strain Monascus purpureus when fermented on rice. Monacolin K also known as mevinolin, the same active agent (statins) as in the cholesterol-reducing drug Lovostatin. Monacolins promote normalizing of cholesterol levels through HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor.[2] The pharmacological active properties of monacolins is now manufactured and used as a treatment for reducing cholesterol.

The pharmacological active qualities of this culture food-product have been known and used in several Asian countries for over two thousand years. The ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia Ben Cao Gang Mu-Dan Shi Bu Yi, records the first use of red yeast for promoting health. In this text, red yeast rice is stated to be an aid for gastric problems [indigestion, diarrhoea], health of the spleen, stomach including the cardiovascular system. However, as with most pharmacological active ingredients of foodstuff, and especially in this particular case, one should avoid indulgence over an extensive period. Dosage, dosage, and dosage / over time is the key-factor to all things and in regards to what goes in, and what comes out of the mouth to determine good/better health or unwanted side effects and illness.

References

1. Monascus purpureus pigments as yoghurt colorants Research into the possible use of red rice as a natural food-colouring agent for commercial yogurt production.
2. www.inhousepharmacy.com A link to further references, studies and articles regarding Cholestin [a cholesterol reducer of red yeast fermented on rice].

Further information of interest
Electro micrographs of red fermented rice also showing Monacolin K by Dr. Miloš Kaláb.


Tape Ketan and Peuyeum

Tape ketan [tah-peh k'tan] is a fermented sticky [glutinous] rice prepared in Indonesian [ketan means glutinous rice]. Tape has a sweet flavour with amounts of alcohol, somewhat resembling Japanese sake in essence. Alcohol content is mostly dependent on fermentation process or duration. Alcohol may range between 6% to 10%. Sweetness with amounts of spirit of alcohol are the main features in the taste and aromatic experience of tape.

Tape ketan is prepared by cooking 1 part glutinous rice with 4 parts water until rice is soft right through. Cooling and inoculating cooled rice with crushed ragi yeast cake. The amount of ragi added is about 1 yeast cake per 1 to 3 cups of uncooked rice. The crushed ragi powder is stirred in the cooled rice-mix, and then the ingredients are placed in a covered bowl and fermented at 30°C for 1 to 3 days. Traditionally, the rice is usually coloured green with green plant extract of pandan leaf, however, today, artificial food colouring is substituted for natural plant extract. Although there is a non-coloured variety of tape made from white glutinous rice, and there is also Tape ketan-hitam prepared with black glutinous rice. The preparation is the same as for tape ketan, substituting white glutinous-rice with black glutinous rice, or ketan-hitam [hitam means black in Indonesian].

Tape ketan-hitam and PeuyeumTape Ketan-Hitam [black sticky-rice tape] and Peuyeum [cassava root tape] compliment each other quite nicely eaten together.

Peuyeum [pe'-er ye'oom], sometimes referred to as Tape telor [tah-phe te-lor] is similar to tape ketan, although, peuyeum is prepared with Cassava root instead of glutinous rice. The term telor actually means egg or white, and for some reason the term is also used for tape in certain parts of Indonesia. This is possibly in the sense that the tape is white in reference to good quality of the fermented cassava.

In the city of Bandung, West Java, cassava root tape is known as Peuyeum [Sunda or Sundanese]. In west Java, Peuyeum Bandung is a popular term used for this particular culture-product. A friend from Bandung, Steven Haryanto [author of the book, Sagarnya! Yogurt], explains that Bandung is renowned for producing some of the best quality peuyeum throughout Indonesia. During my visit to Bandung in 1982, I purchased peuyeum on a daily basis from a local pasar [market]-- a wonderful experience always to be remembered.

Ragi, Tape Ketan-hitam and PeuyeumTape ketan-hitam in plate on left and Peuyeum in large bowl on right after 36 hours fermentation at 30°C. The ragi [yeast cakes] can be seen in the plastic bag on the upper left.

Peuyeum is prepared with fresh young Cassava roots, which are initially cooked by boiling in water until tender. The roots are cooled then inoculated by sprinkling crushed ragi sprinkled evenly over the surface of the cooked vegetable root. The inoculated roots are placed in wooden vats and arranged in a crisscross fashion, filling the vat about 3/4 full. The vat is covered with a wooden lid and the contents are left for a few days to ferment at room temp [about 30°C]. This produces a very delicate textured sweet tasting product, which explodes in the mouth with each bite, releasing essence of a sweet delicate taste with spirit of alcohol [produced during fermentation]. The original creamy-starchy texture typical of cassava root, is transformed into a very interesting texture, which melts in the mouth. Once eaten one can not seem to get enough. Portions of undigested fiber of cassava root not affected by the fermentation process, is what gives peuyeum a delicate-spongy texture and consistency [a unique mouth feel]. The best quality peuyeum is prepared with tender young cassava root.

KOLAK [Javanese sweet dish]

One of my favourite sweet dishes, traditionally prepared throughout Java, Indonesia known as Kolak is widely enjoyed by the Javanese people, and quite possibly more so during Ramadan [the Holy month of fasting-- Islam]. Kolak is commonly prepared with peuyeum. Other ingredients include; Ubi [sweet potato], Plantain [cooking banana], Gula merra [best quality red palm sugar], with the addition of spices, including Jahe [ginger] and Galangal [an aromatic cousin to ginger root]. The ingredients are lightly simmered in coconut milk [santan] to cover, and the dish is served hot. Cry-peas... is Kolak ever so scrumptious! I best go make some right now...


Ragi

Ragi (yeast cake)*Ragi [rah-ghi] Indonesia, Budob [boo-dob] Philippines, Chu [choo] China.

Ragi [yeast cake] is a natural-starter similar to what sourdough starter is for preparing sourdough bread. The yeast cakes are prepared from crushed raw rice pressed into flat cakes of some 2 to 3cm in diameter by 1cm thick. The rice cakes are wrapped in leaves and fermented for a few days at room temperature [20° to 30°C ]. The cakes are dried for long term storage.

Ragi is used by crushing the tablets and then mixing the powder with cooked, cooled ingredients such as glutinous rice [for tape making] or cassava root [for peuyeum]. The mixture is fermented for a particular length of time, depending on the product being prepared. In general, fermentation is usually between 3 to 5 days. Apart from preparing tape and peuyeum, ragi is also used as a starter for brewing Brem [rice wine] in Indonesia. Similar yeast cakes of China [chu] are used to ferment other ingredients, including cereals, fish and legumes such as soybeans. Chinese Chu yeast cakes usually come as 2 to 4 cm round balls instead of flat round disks of ragi.

I've fermented many varieties of sweet potatoes with ragi, and have discovered that wonderful culture-products with interesting textures and flavour can result.

The important microorganisms of ragi fermentation is the mold, Amylomyces rouxii and yeast, Endomycopsis burtonii [Ko, 1972]. Of 41 yeast strains isolated from Indonesian ragi by Saono and co-workers [1977], 19 were found amylolytic [hydrolyze or breaks down starch into simple sugars], none were proteolytic [breaks down protein into peptides], but 14 were lipolytic [breaks down fats]. All mold isolates were amylolytic and lipolytic, and 89% also exhibited proteolytic activity.

Further Reading

Ko SD. [1972]. Tape fermentation. Appl. Microbiol.: [23]; 976- 978
Saono S, Basyki T, Sastraatmadja DD. [1977]. Indonesian ragi. Symposium on Indigenous Fermented Foods, Bangkok, Thailand.
Sanchez PC. [1977]. Puto - Philippine fermented rice cake. Symposium on indigenous fermented foods, Bankok, Thailand.


Starter-Culture Suppliers

G.E.M. Cultures based in California U.S.A. provide high quality starter-cultures with simple to follow instructions for preparing culture-products such as; Tempeh, Koji, Amazakè, Miso, Shoyu & Tamari, Natto, sourdough and other bread leavens [barm etc.], Fil-mjolk and Viili. Contact details--

G.E.M. Cultures
30301 Sherwood Rd.,
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
U.S.A.
Phone: 707-964-2922
www.gemcultures.com

Natto-Kin Suppliers

Yuzo Takahashi Laboratory
2-1-7 Youka-machi Yamagata-shi
Yamagata-ken , Japan #990
Phone: +81-236-22- 4001
Fax: +81-236-22-4002

Naruse Fermentation Laboratory
2-18- 7 Nerima Nerima-ku
Tokyo, Japan #176
Phone: +81-3-3994-3939

Links of Interest

Fermented cereals. A global perspective
Information on fermented products of the Orient

Indigenous fermented-food technologies for small-scale industries
By Keith H. Steinkraus Professor of microbiology, Institute of Food Science, Cornell University, Geneva, New York, USA


Out of in-site Out of My Mind

Self-sufficiency is efficiency much in need in today's world of this, that and what next. We COULD make time to form time into more time and prepare wonderful, nutritious healthy products for ourselves [once again?]. Most, if not all the products mentioned above, have beneficial properties apart from lending us the ability to preserve food. Beneficial compounds of functional-foods, which are proving to assist health in both man and beast alike. Serendipity is out of necessity for the storage of food for prolonged periods by fermentation, we also discover the benefits of ingesting the culture-products are wide reaching.

There is a Japanese saying that goes something like so: When trying out a new food, life span is increase by 75 days. To me this means, be open minded enough to be healthy minded, and try to digest whatever life and other cultures may have to offer. Is that adorable?!

AH YES!... the wonders of what seem simple single-celled organisms we explore...

... within the micro, abides the macro, and within the macro, the micro--- woven and maintained with streaming pulses of Divine Life-unforced.

We may be incapable of isolating diss-ease from a diss-eased bio-network. An essential network is evident throughout all life. Be this through the Divine Creator of Life, the universe/s the galaxies, the stars, planets, moons, molecules, atoms, electrons, neutrons and quarks etc. etc... right back home to God's Life-force of pure Love--- the Divine Woven Thread maintaining and beholding all these factors in their correct perspective. There is Life in space.

In God's Eye [I Am], while wearing Jesus-Son glasses mind your soul, He has rendered us and Sees each and every one of His Creations as the most attractive light-beams. We Are and are irresistibly beautiful to I Am.


Links to All my Web Pages

About Milk Kefir + Water Kefir | Making Milk Kefir & Water Kefir + Recipes with Kefir + Ash Lye Detergent | Kefir Cheese Making + Pizza + Bread made with Kefir

Kefirkraut + Culture Vegetables with Kefir Grains | Kefir Preserving Brine | Nutritional + Chemical Composition of Milk Kefir | Kefir FAQs

Seed, Nut + Soy Milk Recipes + Kefir, Yogurt + Viili made from these + Rejuvelac | Nutritional Value of Different Fresh Milk-Types | Culture-Foods of Asia

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Edited October 3, 2013 kefir cheers!

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