Posted: September 21, 2012 12:01 AM
Fermented foods have been a dietary staple since ancient times, but very recently have been disappearing from our diets. Natural fermentation promotes healthy bacteria in the digestive system that helps maintain our good health. Modern pickles and sauerkraut, and even some olives, are now made with vinegar instead of the traditional method of fermenting with salt. Other diet staples like bread and beer are also being made with commercial yeasts instead of being naturally fermented by starters made from wild yeasts. Check out this month's Recipe ReDux Challenge focusing on "Fermented Foods" and get your gut back in gear with natural fermentation!
My contribution this month highlights fermented soy in the form of fermented black beans and soy sauce. While soy foods are very popular, many of the ones that are most commonly eaten are not fermented. Non-fermented soy food, such as tofu and soy milk, contain phytic acid, which is sometimes referred to as the "anti-nutrient" because it binds with nutrients such as calcium and iron, inhibiting their absorption.
On the other hand, fermenting soy foods stops the effect of phytic acid and increases the availability of isoflavones, the phytochemicals in soy that are responsible for heart health and fighting cancer. The fermentation of soy also creates probiotics, the "good" bacteria that our bodies' absolutely depend on to the quantity, availability, digestibility, and absorption of nutrients. Choosing fermented soy products, such as tempeh and miso, helps increase your bodys' healthy bacteria.
Served in an aromatic broth of ginger, chiles, and lime, these mussels are a great fall dish to warm your home and your belly. Fermented black beans are small, black soybeans that have been preserved in salt. Also known as Chinese black beans or salted black beans, they have a very strong, salty flavor as they have been aged in salt. These are not the black beans you find in Latin American cooking. You will find them in small cryovac bags or jars at your local Asian market. While you are there, you can also pick up a bottle of a flavorful fermented soy sauce. Look for ones labeled tamari or shoya for best results.
YIELD: 2 Servings
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
½ Inch Piece Fresh Ginger, Thinly Julienned
1 Each Garlic Clove, Very Thinly Sliced
1 Tablespoon Fermented Black Beans
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Cup Sake (One You Would Want To Drink)
1 Pound Black Mussels, Cleaned and Debearded
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
1 Tablespoon Chives, Very Thinly Sliced
5-6 Sprigs Cilantro
1/2 Each Pickled Red Chile, Thinly Sliced
8 Each Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
Serve with Crusty Bread
METHOD OF PREPARATION:
Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over high heat
Add the ginger, garlic, and black beans
They should start to brown very quickly, within seconds
Add the soy sauce and sake, and flame the alcohol
Add the mussels and place a lid on the pan.
Cook 4-5 minutes on high heat, or until the mussels open
Discard any unopened mussels.
Add the lime juice, chives, cilantro, chile, and tomatoes to the pan
Place a lid back on the pan and toss ingredients
You just want to heat the tomatoes through, not fully cook them
Divide the mussels and broth between two bowls and serve with crusty bread
Be sure to visit all the great blogs below that are all part of this months Recipe Redux