Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Philadelphia to attend a koji workshop with Rich Shih of OurCookQuest (and his earlier blog.) I met Rich a few years ago through Twitter, where he was posting some really interesting food ideas and experiments. Over the years I’ve watched as he started working more with koji and miso. When I saw that he was going to be traveling down to PA from Boston, I jumped at the opportunity to see what he was doing, as well as finally meet him in person.
While in town, Rich held a miso workshop, koji workshop and a dinner, all at Balboa Catering where he was assisted by the talented Nicco Muratore from Commonwealth Cambridge. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend the koji workshop, but had the opportunity to see, and sample, many of the items from the other workshop and dinner.
There were a variety of really interesting things. I had no idea that you could essentially turn anything with protein into a miso. We sampled miso made from peanut butter, refried beans, yogurt and feta cheese. There was even a miso made from avocado.
Rich recommends picking up The Book of Tofu & Miso. Having flipped through the book, I can say that it’s a great resource if this is something you want to start trying at home.
It was also interesting to learn that you could use koji to accelerate the process of curing salumi. I tried a koji-rubbed bresaola that was seasoned with curry.
There were all kinds of condiments there too. My favorite was a Mandarin Kosho with Shishito & Bird Chili Peppers
It was a great opportunity to learn something completely new to me. Rich was also recently on Dave Arnold‘s Cooking Issues podcast, which you can find here. He goes into more detail about what koji is, and how you make it. A great primer for those unfamiliar with the process.
Two years ago, Rich did a guest post on my blog about how he aged ricotta cheese with koji. It was the first time I had anyone do a guest post, and I’m glad he could share his knowledge here. Also, be sure to follow Rich on Instagram
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