Shio koji! One of my favorite topics and Japanese ingredients. Long time readers of this blog will surely have noticed my habit of talking about koji and the many products made with it and here we'll be taking an in-depth look at shio koji.
Koji, as mentioned in previous articles, is the fermentation culture aspergillus oryzae used in many Japanese foods, from sake to miso. While the koji for those products is primarily a combination of koji and rice, shio koji is a simple
The name shio koji is a combination of salt (塩 - shio) and koji rice. Add water to that mix, and you are left with a liquid product (like a loose rice pudding) that can be used any number of ways.
One of the most popular ways to use shio koji is as a marinade for beef, chicken, or fish. Simply coat your protein with the shio koji paste, set it in a cool dry place, and wait. You can usually wipe down the excess as soon as 30 minutes or so, but could leave it for as long as 24 hours.
Besides proteins, you can also do a quick pickle using shio koji with vegetables of your choice. This was actually my introduction to using shio koji, and still one of my favorite uses.
Finally, besides using the shio koji paste, you can also buy a filtered liquid bottle of shio koji. This can be used as an additive to any soup base or cooking liquid to add a quick umami boost to your cooking.
Shio koji is an extremely versatile cooking tool to have in your pantry, and is well
worthwhile keeping handy. Whether as a quick pickling solution for vegetables, as a flavorful marinade, or as a substitute for salt, shio koji is one ingredient to keep handy in your Japanese pantry essentials.
About the author:
Michael is originally from Chicago, IL in the United States, but has lived in Japan for seven years in Niigata and Hokkaido. He is an avid home chef, baker, and coffee enthusiast, but his one true love is ramen. Ever in pursuit of the perfect bowl of noodles, you can always find him by listening for the tell-tale slurp of ramen being enjoyed!