Jiwei Zhou

A Taste from the Ocean: Poppy Seed Mycelium

It smells like...fish!

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Last week witnessed a promising substrate for mycelium growing: poppy seed! It is an ingredient especially for dessert. You could find them sometimes in cakes. 

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poppy-seed-pods-and-seed - Picture Source: https://newcanaanchamber.com/calendar/the-community-impact-of-opiates/

Here in our lab we experimented on growing mycelium on poppy seeds. As usual we made a thin sheet of mycelium to have more flexibility in forms. After incubating for 48 hours, the poppy seed mycelium sheet looks very graphically appealing. There are some parts without any growth, because they are just underneath the air holes on the bag in which they grew. 

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We got so curious about how poppyseed mycelium will taste as an edible material after cooking. Since we made two pieces of materials, we cooked them in two ways: deep frying and oven baking.

As we want to see how to try shaping the material while cooking, we made rolls for deep frying. Surprisingly, these deep-fried rolls have a fishy flavour, even without any fish in the deep fryer ever. We got feedbacks from our "tasters": you can taste the oil, in general it has a neutral taste. Willem likes it because comparing to the oven-baked one, the deep fried has no after taste. Teuntje likes the texture of the poppy seeds, but missed the fermentation taste.

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The oven baking sample got also many likes from "tasters". It got vey thin after baking but kind of fragile. It is not oily, because we didn't put any oil for baking, but still has a fishy smell and taste. It has quite of neutral taste. You can taste the poppy seeds. 

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Of course for a poppy-seed lover like Willem, this taste is perfect because he would love to have a poppy seed paste. It can be bitter maybe for other people. He suggested to combine it with soft aquafaba cream or with sugar coating, as is liked by other European "tasters" today. Teuntje is more happy about this oven baked version because it keeps a bit of the fermentation taste. And Guénolé thinks it even has a seaweed taste! 

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This experiment opens an opportunity for seed-based mycelium. Chef Thor is also quite happy with this material as well, which encourages us to make more and try another ingredient called Quinoa.

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Chef Thor and Aram are very happy about poppyseed mycelium -