I can trace back my love affair with Japanese food to visuals from Netflix’s Midnight Diner, a series about a quaint diner in Tokyo that opens at 12am till 6am, exploring the lives of the many patrons that frequent it and the food that holds them all together.
The lockdown heightened my love for it when I spent countless hours reading about ramen and the many ways to make it. In the past 2 years I’ve tried my hand at many recipes and maybe, just maybe I’ve arrived at a recipe that I love.
There’s just something about Japanese food and the comfort it brings. I strongly believe that there is nothing a bowl of miso soup or ramen can’t fix.
With my on-going fascination with Japanese cuisine, I’ve also been digging around to see what chefs in India have been up to. There’s Kavann with his Eat Naru ramen pop-ups in Bangalore and Ramen don Kunal Dogra with his ramen-kits in Delhi, but it is Goa’s Miso Man Prachet Sancheti a.k.a. the Brown Koji Boy who has caught my attention at the moment.
Earlier this month, my sister who lives in Goa tried his miso chilli oil — one that she claims is to die for. Giving the Japanese ferments his own twist, he gives the funky ferments Indian accents. Sancheti says he has always been fascinated by the Koji-based fermentation techniques which has resulted in his artisanal product range that consists of soy sauce made from chana dal, miso made from Poe and beverages made from Goan red rice, smoked tomato tamari, cashew miso along with his culinary experiments like blackberry chilli miso which he keeps for his regulars or as samples for chefs.
For those unfamiliar with Koji, it is a filamentous fungus, more specifically Aspergillus Oryzae (loaded with an umami flavour) that is used as seasoning and as a curing agent in soy sauce, miso, tamari, shio & shoyu koji as well as beverages like amazake, sake, shochu and so on. Their life starts as spores and when kept in humid weathers, they turn into dense white mat - a.k.a. - ‘Koji Cake’ which is what is used in the process of fermenting.
Check out Brown Koji Boy here.
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