Shio Koji

Bowl of Hot Miso Soup

What is Shio Koji?

A koji product, shio koji uses fermented sea salt and koji rice spores to create a beloved Japanese condiment and umami flavor enhancer. It can be used as a salt substitute to reduce sodium content, a tenderizer to break down protein structures, and a flavor enhancer to bring out the rich umami flavor in any food. This makes shio koji best suited for marinades, sauces, breads, cookies, and more.

The Benefits of Shio Koji

Like most Japanese foods, shio koji can you help you maintain a healthy diet. In addition to tenderizing and flavoring your food, shio koji is filled with probiotics. This improves digestion and your immune system, improving your overall health. When you regularly consume shio koji in place of salt, you can lower your salt intake and improve your cardiovascular health. Additionally, it contains a number of minerals, vitamins, and fiber necessary for everyday function and general health. It also has cosmetic benefits, as those who regularly consumed shio koji found it helped clear their skin as well as slow the aging process. With so much to gain by including shio koji in your diet, why not take advantage of the health and flavor benefits those in Japan have been experiencing for generations.

The Shio Koji Process

In Japan, the creation of koji is revered and treated as a somewhat sacred process. This reverence stems from the healing properties of koji and the fact that those who handled it everyday were blessed were smoother, softer skin.

All shio koji begins as unfermented sea salt and koji-kin spores, a mold use in the creation of fermented foods and alcohol. You begin by sprinkling koji-kin mixture, the combination of mold spores and sea salt, over rice and leaving it to ferment. During this time the mold breaks down the rice’s structure, releasing amino acids such as glutamate, and creating a uniquely sweet umami flavor. After three days of careful temperature and climate regulation, koji is created. Koji is the general name for the fermented product created in this process and can be used to produce a number of other traditional Japanese products. Shio Koji happens to be one of these products.

Using Shio Koji at Home

Thanks to the fermentation process, shio koji has both sweet and savory flavors. When the rice is fermented a sweet flavor is created, but when the amino acids are released the koji is filled with a deep, rich umami flavor. This duality makes it the perfect ingredient to use regularly in your cooking at home.

Whether you want food with more flavor, that’s more tender, or simply better for you, shio koji should become a staple in your kitchen. Shio koji has the ability to bring out the umami flavor in other foods by breaking down its protein structure and releasing glutamic acid. The same enzymes that release this flavor also tenderize the food, making it perfect for marinades. Used as a salt substitute, shio koji can retain the salty flavor while reducing the salt content by fifty percent.

Learn More