Green and Grains: Fermented Edition

March 16, 2017

I’m back with another Greens and Grains, and this time it’s a super rad fermented Greens and Grains.  I’ve been learning more and more about the importance of gut health this past month and have already had countless happy fermentation days.  I’ve put this bowl together with a lot of healthy bacteria in mind and magically it seems to be that the more fermentation, the more flavour, and this one really packs a punch. So here it is, Greens and Grains Fermented Edition, made up of miso marinated tofu, short grain brown rice, maple glazed broccoli stems, kimchi and an avocado ginger dressing- let’s do this!p1
So in case you’re wondering what exactly gut health is and why you even need it, here’s the load down.  This isn’t anything new, and in fact it has been said for over 2,000 years, but intestinal health regulates our overall health.  Although we generally hear a lot of talk of the role that healthy fats and unrefined carbohydrates should play in our diets, not that many people are aware of the importance of gut health and its role in preventing diabetes, obesity, depression and chronic fatigue disorder. Our guts are the home of around 100 trillion microorganisms- that’s a whole lot of bacteria (10 times more than every human cell in our whole body put together) so it’s no surprise that healthy gut flora plays such an important role in human health.  Don’t freak out though- chances are you’ve been eating healthy bacteria your whole life in things like yoghurt, sourdough bread, miso soup and pickles.  It can never help to get more though and  some of the best sources of healthy bacteria, such as sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi can be made at home so so easily. If you’re not fermenting already, it’s time to get your hands dirty!

The two fermented components in this dish are kimchi and miso (fermented soybeans) marinated tofu.  Kimchi is a Korean dish and is typically made by fermenting cabbage with a variety of seasonings for several days.  I used Sarah B’s guide to kimchi with a few swaps based on what I had on hand and have been hooked since.  It is such a satisfying process and a really fun thing to geek out to- once you start you’ll find it hard to stop thinking about all of the different things you can ferment.  It’s easy, delicious, and best of all, amazing for you.  Please don’t shy away just because it needs to sit out for 2-4 days- it’s mainly 20 active minutes and a little worth-the-wait waiting time! Just remember to make your kimchi a few days before you plan on making your greens and grains bowl. The miso marinated tofu is quick and so flavourful- it’s sticky, sweet and salty- everything a good tofu dish should be.  The secret here is to soak the tofu with half of the marinade before baking, and then the other half 10 minutes to the end for a double wham of flavour and great texture- there’s nothing worse than dry wimp tofu.  I’ve also started doing my best effort to waste as little as possible and wanted to give the sadly overlooked broccoli stem some love, and it turned out so wonderfully- sweet, tender and earthy.  No need to throw this guy away!

Greens and Grains: Fermented Edition 
Serves 2

Miso Marinated Tofu 
2 tbsp light miso paste
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp lime juice
1 block organic extra-firm tofu, cut into cubed

Mix all of the ingredients together, except for the tofu. Place the cubed tofu into a bowl and pour half of the marinade into that bowl. Let it sit for 25-30 minutes. Then pre-heat your oven 180˚C and when heated, place your tofu onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the tofu from the oven, and toss with the remaining marinade and place the tray back into the oven. Set the oven on grill and remove the tray after 5-7 minutes, when the glaze is bubbling.

Kimchi (Fills a 1-litre jar), Based on this recipe.
1 Napa cabbage, chopped
1 apple, thinly chopped
1 carrot, thinly chopped
30 g peeled ginger
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp chilli
2 tbsp sea salt

Put the chopped vegetables into a bowl. In your food processor, blend the ginger, chilli and sea salt and then pour into the bowl with vegetables.  Using very clean hands, massage the cabbage until it has halved in size (about 5 minutes).  Let the mixture sit out for a few hours, and remember to massage it every now and then.  Sarah instructs to tightly pack the cabbage into a sterilised jar (boiled for a couple of minutes) and leave a couple of inches free at the top for the carbon dioxide. You then need to cover the jar with a lid and make sure you open it daily for a second to allow pressure to escape (I didn’t do this the first time and it almost bursted when I opened it at the end!). Then you just need to let it sit out for 2-4 days, depending on how strong you want it (the longer you leave it, the stronger it will taste) and store it in your fridge for up to a few months.

Maple-Glazed Broccoli Stems
2 broccoli stems, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp maple syrup
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Throw everything in a pan together and let the broccoli stems cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes. Top with an extra drizzle of maple syrup and black sesame seeds to serve (optional).

Avocado-Ginger Dressing:
1 avocado
1 thumb of ginger, grated
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Throw everything into your blender or food processor and blend until perfectly smooth.

Brown Rice:
1 cup short-grain brown rice
2 cups water
1 tbsp tamari

Cook the rice for 20-25 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed and then turn the heat off. Cover the rice and let sit for another 15 minutes- this just makes sure you get fluffy and non-pudding-y rice.

Put it all together! Rice, tofu, a spoonful of tofu, broccoli stems and a whole lot of creamy dressing.

Just a quick note: I adjusted the salt in the non-fermented components of the dish because of the  sodium content in miso and kimchi.  If you’re making the the dish without the kimchi or tofu you might want to add a little salt to the rice or dressing.

©2017 Bowl of Comfort


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