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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Kishk: A Nondairy "Cheese"

Have you ever heard of kishk? I haven't. But food travel writers stumble upon regional delicacies that in the old days never traveled beyond their regions. With the net, we're all one huge region of interchangeable foods and recipes. That's one for us.

Sandor Ellix Katz wrote Sandorkraut Reports from Terra Madre on Terra Madre is "a four-day gathering of 7,000 farmers, fermenters, other food transformers, cooks, and food researchers, teachers, and writers from 154 countries."

Quick bio:

Sandor Ellix Katz, a self-taught fermentation experimentalist, wrote Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods in order to spread the fermentation wisdom he had learned, and demystify home fermentation. Katz has taught hundreds of hands-on fermentation workshops around the U.S. and Australia. He is also the author of The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements from Chelsea Green, 2006. For more information visit,

Now, what is kishk?
Beyond milk, I even encountered a gorgeous example of a dairy-free "cheese," Keckek el Fouqara from Lebanon. In Wild Fermentation I included a recipe for kishk, a Lebanese ferment I had read about and learned to make, combining bulgar wheat with yogurt to ferment. But of course no cultural tradition is singular. Keckek el Fouqara is known as "poor man's kishk," and it is an adaptation of the kishk method by those without access to milk. The bulgar is mixed with water and salt and formed into small balls to ferment; the balls are then stored in spiced olive oil for a rich taste sensation far cheesier in flavor than any other vegan cheese I've tried.

Let me know if you try the recipe.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

It's called keshek or kishk el fouqara not keckek, Sandor had a typo and everyone picked it up!