Sunday, January 24, 2016

My first Falafel - success!

Inspired by this recipe, I decided to try making my own falafels.

I made a few changes, as usual.  On the whole, a resounding success.

1 cup of dry chickpeas
1 cup fava beans (lightly crushed and skins winnowed)

  • Soak at least 24 hours with several changes of water.

1 leek
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tbs flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch cardamom

Toasted whole then ground spices
3 pepper corns
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander

  • Drain the beans, mash them up with all the other ingredients
  • form into falafel shapes (which happens to be the same shape as a large spoon) and deep fry medium heat

Affordable?  Yep.  I can buy three falafels for a dollar in the shop, or I can make this huge pile of falafels for the same amount.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Years Day 2016, No-Soy Miso Club

The second annual meeting of The Victoria Miso Club went wonderfully well.

We began by opening last years Chickpea mugi (barley) miso.  It had an intense rich smell, and a robust miso taste.  The colour was much darker than I expected and we failed to get all the air pockets out, so there were a few spots of mold inside.  But otherwise a success.

This year is two batches of red miso.  We used the same recipe for both, only the beans were different.  For both, we used frozen koji rice from the local Japanese food store.

Adzuki Bean 1 year miso

  • 1 kilo dry adzuki beans
  • 500g koji rice
  • 200g sea salt (no iodine)

Chickpea 1 year miso

  • 1 kilo dry chickpeas (organic)
  • 500g koji rice
  • 200g sea salt (no iodine)


  1. Examine beans and remove anything not a bean.  Wash.  Soak the beans overnight.  Rinse beans well.  Cook the beans in water until mushy.  The chickpeas I did in the pressure cooker in two batches, the adzuki on the stove in one big batch with just enough water to cover (add more water as needed).  The adzuki beans were ready about 2 hours before the chickpeas.
  2. Strain the beans - keep the cooking liquid - and mash the beans as much as you like.  We like chunky miso, so we just had a go with the back of the spoon.  You can make a smooth paste if you like.
  3. Combine some (about a cup) of the hot cooking liquid with the salt to dissolve the salt.  Mix this in with the koji rice when liquid is cool enough to put your hand in.
  4. Cool the beans so that they are cool enough to put your (clean) hand comfortably in.  Combine the beans, koji rice, salt, and enough water to make a paste.  If you remember (which we didn't) add a spoonful of last years miso,
  5. Put in vat, weigh down top, put in cold spot for 1 year.

As with last year, we relied heavily on Sandor Katz books, Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation, for our miso recipe.  For a more in depth instruction on how to make miso, please see Katz. 

This year we are using plastic buckets to see how they work.

Affordable cooking:

Chickpeas were $7 this year, the rice about $6, and the salt, less than $1.  Let's say $14 for the gallon of miso.

Adzuki beans were about $4, the rice again $6, the salt less than $1.  About $11 for the gallon of adzuki bean miso.

To buy this miso in the store, it's about $16 a pound.  We made about 7 times that - to buy this much miso in the store would be around $100 - times two.

At a conservative estimate
Chickpea miso $100 - $14 = savings of $86
Adzuki miso $100 - $11 = savings of $89

That's not too shabby, especially when you consider we shared the expensive $25 between all the miso club members.  

Anyone who says you can't eat healthy on a budget hasn't made miso.