top to bottom: Sliced horseradish kimchi, Chive kimchi,
and cubed horseradish kimchi prepared at Jin Mi.
Calif. ó The surge in popularity of fermented foods in
recent years ó eating them, creating them at home,
exploring different cultures and cuisines ó is based
largely on the idea that this stuff can be really good for
todayís filtered, purified, sanitized, antibacterial
world, you might think avoiding bacteria of any kind is a
good thing. Turns out, plenty of bacteria, invisible to the
naked eye, are plastered all over our food and working on
that food you forgot was in the back of your fridge is
fermenting, but not in a good way. Healthy fermentation
requires a lot of care and control, but itís very doable.
how it generally works. Through a process called
lacto-fermentation, bacteria found in our natural
environment feed on sugars and starches in a process that
creates health-promoting enzymes, an array of probiotics and
introduction to the wonders of fermented foods, weíre
including a step-by-step rundown of how to make a fermented
dish, along with two recipes that use foods that are already
fermented and available at most mainstream grocery stores.
lest you think this is about to be a health lecture instead
of a celebration of food and flavor, you should know that
fermented food is anything but drudgery or sacrifice. While
picky eaters might find some dishes challenging at first,
fermented foods include chocolate, coffee and sourdough
bread made with a starter teeming with lactobacillus. Itís
all kinds of things you already love.
chocolate, many people donít even realize that itís a
fermented food," said Ramon Perez, owner of the highly
regarded Puur Chocolat based in Sacramento. "Itís
basically the cacao fruit that goes through a fermentation
process. It has this beautiful high water and sugar content
that make a beautiful environment for these micro-organisms
to grow and culture."
who regularly travels the world in pursuit of new flavors
and food experiences, has visited numerous cacao
fermentation rooms over the years. He said those sensory
experiences make clear how crucial the fermentation process
is to the chocolate we know and love.
itís your first time to a fermentation room, itís pretty
pungent," Perez said. "Itís intense. The funny
part is, as you spend some time there, all of a sudden you
become familiar with that smell and the familiar smell of
cacao comes to you. Thatís the unique part ó once you
get past that funkiness, the chocolate smell is there."
folks in the region who get into eating fermented foods on a
regular basis eventually find their way to Koreana Plaza in
Rancho Cordova, Calif. Itís a giant grocery store and vast
culinary wonderland wrapped into one. The primary focus is
on Asian grocery items, but most cultures and cuisines are
youíll soon encounter the areaís largest selection of
fermented foods. Byong Joo Yu, the upbeat owner, said
fermented foods are a major part of Korean cuisine and a key
reason why Asian people tend to be slimmer and live longer
said non-Asian Americans have begun buying fermented foods
at Koreana in far greater numbers.
are really interested in food for good health," Yu said
as he walked the aisles of his store. "They eventually
found out that a lot of those fermented foods are good for
added, "The scientists started to study different
cultures that live longer and look younger. The biggest
difference is fermented foods. Also, Americans eat more
devotees Randy and Christina Kautz began fermenting their
own food early in 2016 and have seen significant health
kept hearing about healing your gut. One of the ways to do
that is fermented food," said Christina Kautz. "I
dove in and I did it."
to kimchi made with napa cabbage, she said, "You chop
everything up, you massage a little salt into it, and I just
cover the bowl and let it sit for a few days."
grows. The aroma becomes pungent. For the uninitiated,
things start to get a little weird.
the couple admit to being a little apprehensive to taste the
first batch. "Now we donít like to go a day without
it," she said.
a staple for breakfast," added Randy, who likes to have
eggs, avocado, tomatoes and either kimchi or sauerkraut to
start his day.
with eating fermented foods, he has cut back on sugar and
flour, and has lost 30 pounds since February.
donít know if I have a healthier gut, but I feel a hundred
percent better than I used to," he said. "I have a
ton more energy and Iím a lot more alert."
they have limited their fermentation efforts to kimchi and
sauerkraut, they eventually hope to expand their repertoire.
easy way to do that is with kombucha. Considered a hippie
drink only a few years ago, kombucha, or fermented tea, has
gone mainstream, in part because people see it as a tasty
alternative to soft drinks and theyíve embraced the health
what inspired Chris Tapio to start making his own.
was doing a very conscious health kick a few years ago and
was looking for low-calorie drinks to wean myself from
soda," said Tapio, a public affairs consultant who
describes himself as an avid home cook. "I was getting
tired of drinking iced tea, so I gave kombucha a shot."
you get the culture, known as SCOBY (short for symbiotic
culture of bacteria and yeast), the kombucha-making process
is fairly basic. There are several kits available online.
said he hasnít noticed any direct health benefits but
enjoys drinking kombucha and finds the process "cool
and interesting. Iíve interested so many of my friends to
time: 15 minutes
recipe is reprinted from "Forks Over Knives ó The
Cookbook," by Del Sroufe, with desserts by Isa Chandra
Moskowitz, copyright Forks Over Knives, LLC, 2012. Reprinted
with the permission of The Experiment, LLC.
pound brown rice noodles, cooked according to package
directions, drained, and rinsed until cool
cups chopped cabbage kimchi
3 to 4
mung bean sprouts
green onions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
medium cucumber, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
the rice noodles, kimchi, gochujang, and mung bean sprouts
in a large bowl and mix well. To serve, divide the mixture
between four individual plates and garnish each with the
green onions, cucumber slices and sesame seeds.
kimchi is a fermented condiment made from any number of
vegetables. In this recipe, I like to use a very spicy
cabbage kimchi, and I recommend you do, too. Taste your
kimchi first and use less of it if you want a milder salad,
and certainly feel free to add more if you want to give the
dish more kick. Kimchi is often made with shellfish or other
animal ingredients, so be sure to look for a vegan brand for
this recipe. Both kimchi and gochujang (Korean chili paste)
are available in the Asian section of grocery stores or
prepared creme fraiche
medium-size mixing bowl, whisk creme fraiche and sugar
together well. Continue whisking until soft peaks form.
Spoon onto cooled pots de crŤme and serve.
POTS DE CREME
Please purchase a gram scale, if you have not done so
already. The precision and consistency in using a scale is
essential to the production of pastries and desserts.
Measuring cups vary from manufacture to manufacture, so it
may only serve as a mere guide to scaling. The recipe calls
for 20 g whole egg, this measurement is approximately 40
percent of a whole egg. Crack one whole egg in a small bowl,
slightly whisk, and measure to the needed amount. Find a
chocolate with a good amount of cocoa butter content. I use
a chocolate with a 41 percent cocoa butter content. Recipe
by Ramon Perez of Puur Chocolat.
64 percent chocolate
double boiler, melt the chocolate. You may also use a Pyrex
bowl, and microwave in 10-15 second intervals until melted.
whisk eggs with sugar.
separate saucepan, bring whole milk and cream to low simmer.
Pour slowly and gradually into eggs, while whisking. Pouring
slowly, and whisking evenly is key so you donít scramble
your eggs. (The sugar in the eggs helps protect the protein)
1/2 the hot egg mixture to the chocolate. Whisk well to
create an emulsion. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2
parts. Whisking well between each addition.
through a fine mesh strainer, chill rapidly, and rest in the
refrigerator (covered) overnight. I like to rest plastic
wrap directly on top of the base so the mixture does not
form a "skin."
oven to 350 degrees.
desired cups, or small pots, scale 110 g of base each. Cover
each cup individually with plastic wrap, making sure plastic
wrap is on tight.
cups in a deep, flat bottomed roasting pan and add enough
water into the pan to go half way up the cups. Cover tightly
in oven and allow to bake approximately 40 minutes, or until
custard is slightly jiggly, but not loose. (Please be
careful when checking, as the steam from the water bath will
be very hot).
fully cooked, remove foil, plastic wrap and cups from hot
water bath and place into refrigerator for 1 hour.