whole*istic

Trying to live a holistic life in an unholistic world

(Non)Magic Mushrooms

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So, again I find myself unable to find something here in Korea that I can easily acquire back home.

Nama Shoyu.

Nama whaty-what? you might ask?

Nama Shoyu is a Japanese soy sauce made of soybeans and whole wheat. Basically shoyu in Japanese means sauce. Nama = raw. Nama shoyu is the raw version of soy sauce. It has the same dark brown colour and rich, intense flavour, however because it is fermented and aged in wooden cedar barrels for a minimum of 4 years, it requires less salt to boost flavour, resulting in a layered, deeper, more full-bodied, smoother, (obviously) less salty taste.

Nama Shoyu - Raw Organic - 10 oz.

Nama=raw. Shoyu=sauce.

However, technically raw in this case is raw=unpasteurised. There’s no way you can create the brewing and fermentation required without boiling these soybeans and wheat grains well above the allowed raw food qualifying temperature of 40.2 degrees celsius.  With normal soy sauce, the mashed soybean and wheat grain mixture continues to cook in big vats to pasteurise; which quickens the process of enhancing flavours that usually takes many years in traditional wooden barrels. Hence the higher price of Nama Shoyu and Maserati like status.

It is still considered a raw food because similar to other fermented products like kefir and kombucha, it contains living enzymes. In normal recipes the amount of nama shoyu or other non-raw items like toasted sesame oil (toasting releases the aroma and warm, nutty taste from the sesame seeds) is so minimal in comparison to other ingredients used, yet the flavour brings such a depth and satisfaction to recipes, the rule is usually relaxed here.

Nama Shoyu (and also lemon juice) can be used to marinade raw vegetables to soften them. Simply add 1 tablespoon to a cup of vegetables, toss and stir occasionally, leave sit for 30 minutes and wa-laaa, relaxed, chilled out vege.

However, since in Korea I have started using Tamari, (I find normal soy sauce too salty and bitey/vinegary) which is also gluten and wheat-free, made purely by extracting the liquid from soybean miso. The flavour is more mellow and less salty. I find it gives the perfect umami flavouring to everything from soups to crackers.

Although, for an upcoming raw workshop I have become conscious of every single product I use. Trying to be as raw as possible I went to my faithful companion iherb.com to buy Nama Shoyu, only to find it unavailable for the past two weeks! Seeking another raw alternative I trawled the internet trying to find something magical.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot with this little number:

Take 3 simple ingredients:
Water, portobello mushroom and salt.

Blend.

Ta-daaaa!!!???

Now, I don’t know whether it’s because we don’t have portobello’s here, (which I’ve been informed by foraging man Dustin are basically “week old white buttons {a mutant of the crimini but exactly the same}, aka portabellos are fully grown white buttons without the white mutation at the store we get baby ones… the difference is about 2/3 days) or whether it’s just something I don’t like, but it didn’t have a rich, deep flavour.

Or even a rich, deep colour. Mine was reddish/pinkish and tasted exactly like what it was; blended white button mushrooms with some salt.

There was no transformation into savoury, umami, salty sauce goodness.

No magic in these mushrooms dammit.

So, onwards, I’m sticking to my Tamari for now. I’m partial to salt. If you’re not, stick to good ole’ local soy sauce. Your wallet will thank you.

We can get too bogged down in minor details, sure Tamari’s not raw, or I might use sesame oil, and I also enjoy many vegetables cooked vs raw, but I don’t subscribe or even pretend to be a raw food purist.

I understand the science and belief behind it, and will try to include these principles as much as I can in my daily life, but I’m not gonna be dogmatic about it, or lose sleep at night because I used Tamari and not some 100% salty mushroom water smoothie….

Faux nama shoyu, I challenge you again when I am in Australia next where “big old non white mutated agaricus bisporus” roam wild and free, and I expect to see some magic, psilocybin or sauce like, I don’t mind, it’s all raw, right?!

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Written by ayearinpatissiere

November 20, 2012 at 14:36

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