LEADING THE WAY
THE SOURCE: MERU MISO
Launceston and the North, TAS
With the Tasmanian government recently declaring that it has become the first Australian state, and one of just a handful of jurisdictions worldwide, to be powered entirely by renewable electricity, the state’s movers, shakers and innovators are puffing out their chests with pride.
Talking to Chris de Bono, founder and miso master at Meru Miso, we were chatting about the different methods of creating the energy; think wind turbines, solar and hydroelectricity, and he laughed, “You know what, we are the only miso maker in Australia fully powered by renewable energy. How about that!”
Forever innovating and leading the way, Chris is spending his time on shio koji right now, as miso seems to have found a loyal following in both the retail and food service sectors.
“Once you start using shio koji you won’t know how you ever cooked without it", he says.
“Yes, there is education to be done, but it’s really simple to use … just use it as a salt replacement. Add a couple of tablespoons to sautéed mushrooms or use it to brine chicken like you would use buttermilk.”
But the real beauty of this product is that the salt acts to draw out moisture and the natural umami infuses into whatever you’re marinating to create a unique flavour that leaves you wanting more. So you can use it to cure meat … chefs take note!
Put simply, shio koji is just koji rice + water + salt. It is a porridge-like consistency with a sweet aroma (pictured below).
Koji is a living culture that can grow on rice, barley, soybeans, even nuts and is scientifically known as Aspergillus oryzae. Koji is to Japanese fermentation, what yeast is to Western fermentation - think beer and bread.
It is no wonder that Tasmania is leading the way with such progressive and forward-thinking producers in the midst.