Double cream sakana

After black garlic, let me share with you a personal recipe.
Sake kasu (sake lees, or rice lees, picture on the left) are the by-product of the pressing of the moromi (fermentation mash), which aims at isolating the precious liquid.
Good sake kasu has a high value in Japanese cuisine, while protein-rich industrial kasu can find its way into cattle food as well.
I brought back some sake kasu from my visit to Mr. Katayama in Imaichi, near Nikko. It comes from a batch that produced an aromatic sake, and such aromas are clearly present when I open the packet. Then a slightly sour aroma of straw dominates, reminding me of my childhood games in barns where straw balls are stored after harvest, and start fermenting (that was before combines would film them with plastic!).
Coat a few portions of good old kiri in a paste made of kasu and miso, protected by a layer of fine gauze, and let them mature a few days.
The kiri will take a slightly ochre colour (miso’s one), and develop strong, smoky flavours of cheese matured in a cellar. Its strong umami makes it a perfect companion for sake.

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