|For the cashew “cheese” base|
|11 oz||Cashews (cashew nuts, kernels)|
|175 ml||Tap water (mineral water, drinking) (6.2 oz)|
|1 ½ tbsp||Miso (Soybean paste) (0.90 oz)|
|Seasoning after fermentation|
|1 ½ tsp||Coconut oil (Coconut butter) (0.24 oz)|
|1 tbsp||Lemon juice (0.26 oz)|
|¼ tsp||Sea salt (0.04 oz)|
For the cashew “cheese” base
First soak the cashews. To do this, place the nuts in a bowl, cover with water, and let rest for 4 hours. Then rinse well and discard the soaking water.
Cashews are a fairly soft type of nut and, if needed, you can skip or shorten the soaking step. Soaking improves the nutritional value and ensures that the sauce or dish you are making will have a better consistency.
Place the cashews, water, and miso paste in a blender. Purée until a creamy mixture forms and no cashew pieces remain.
It works best to use a high-powered blender.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that it is airtight. The plastic wrap should be right on top of the mixture. Let the mixture ferment for 12 hours at room temperature.
Fermenting is the process in which microorganisms convert organic compounds into alcohol or organic acids. In this case, fermentation takes place in the absence of oxygen and is called lactic acid fermentation. Since electron receptors (here O2) are not present, the microbes have to use other metabolic processes to break down organic substances and produce energy. This causes a change in the taste.
Seasoning after fermentation
When the fermentation process is complete, melt the coconut oil. Add the lemon juice, salt, and coconut oil to the cashew mixture. Then garnish with herbs of your choice and serve.
If you are using freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/6 of a medium-size lemon will yield about 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Cashew "cheese" with miso and coconut oil is a savory fermented cashew product that is a nice replacement for dairy cheese.
We don’t consider miso to be raw. Soybeans are generally heated during the production process since green beans of all types contain the glycoprotein phasin, which is toxic for humans. Phasin inhibits the absorption of nutrients in the intestine, causes hemagglutination (clumping of the red blood cells), and in larger amounts can destroy the intestinal villi. Heating processes (e.g., cooking and roasting) destroy phasin and make soybeans and soybean products such as tofu, miso, and tempeh edible for humans. As a result, even unpasteurized soy products are not actually raw, but are instead cooked products that have been “revived” through the process of fermentation.
This information should help you understand why we label this recipe as vegan cooked food even though it is listed as raw food in the cookbook it comes from.
Fermentation: Fermenting is the process in which microorganisms convert organic compounds into alcohol or organic acids. The method presented here takes place in the absence of oxygen and is called lactic acid fermentation. The product is fermented anaerobically so that the electron receptors (here O2) are not present. This means that the microbes have to use other metabolic processes to break down organic substances and produce energy, which causes a change in the taste. These processes also generally extend or change the shelf life or storage conditions of the foods in question. This is why this type of preservation was commonly used before refrigerators had been invented.
People now eat far fewer fermented foods, especially those that have not been pasteurized (in factories). However, raw fermented products are especially important for good health — as well as a large number of enzymes and vitamins, they also contain beneficial lactic acid bacteria, which has a positive effect on our intestinal flora.
Misconceptions about vitamin B12: It is a common misconception that fermented products are a source of vitamin B12. Lacto-fermented foods, for example, sauerkraut and tempeh, contain small amounts of B12 but these are primarily inactive B12 analogs. They do have biochemical similarities, but our body cannot use or convert these analogs.
Soaking time: It is best to soak the cashews 3–4 hours (raw foodists have differing opinions here) in order to ensure a better consistency and activate the nuts. This process reduces the levels of phytic acid in nuts (and legumes), which is important because phytic acid binds to minerals in the gastrointestinal tract and as a result these cannot be metabolized. In general, cashews are relatively soft nuts and, if necessary, the soaking step can be left out or shortened. The consistency of the sauce or other recipe you make will still be smooth and creamy.
Storage: The “cheese” can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.
Herbs: The author recommends garnishing the cashew “cheese” with herbs such as rosemary or basil before serving.
Using leftovers: After you have made the cashew “cheese” once, you can make the recipe again using 2 tbsp of the fermented cashew “cheese” in place of the miso.