Simply put, koji-kin is a type of mold commonly used in East Asian cultures to create fermented foods and alcohols. However, koji-kin can’t create miso or sake on its own. The mold spores are mixed with sea salt, rich in minerals, to create a solution that can then be used to ferment rice and other foods, like soybeans, barley, and other grains.
Koji-kin plays an important role in the fermentation process—it creates the umami flavor. The enzymes break down the rice’s starches and proteins, allowing both sweet and umami flavors to be released. After the incubation process, the koji-kin has been transformed into koji and can be consumed as a condiment or used to create other traditional Japanese foods.
Koji-kin creates koji, the base for many healthy East Asian foods. Once it has been fermented, koji-kin can be used to create everything from soy sauce to sake. It is also used to create condiments like shio koji and shoyu koji that are perfectly used in marinades and sauces.
However, the most common use of koji-kin and koji is in miso. Miso takes the fermented rice, koji-kin, and salt and combines it with soybeans, wheat, and other grains to create different types of miso. Both red miso and white miso use koji-kin to create their distinct flavor profiles. Red miso is fermented longer than white miso, giving it deeper umami flavors.
With so many forms, koji-kin can quickly become a staple in your pantry. From marinades to broths to desserts, you can and should create any food with koji. Used as a salt substitute, dairy substitute, and nutritious food option, your overall health will greatly improve when you start regularly using koji-kin products. Not sure how to use koji and miso in your meals? Check out our recipes for inspiration.