Shio-koji? What it is and how to make it.

Recently, there have been a few different articles and mentions of shio-koji. I had never heard of this until these articles. I came across shio-koji through a chain of retweets from @seishu and @theprovenance originating with @ChrisPellegrini Anyway, these tweets were pointing to an article by Makiko Itoh  in The Japan Times: Kōji — Japan’s vital hidden ingredient. Of course the thing that caught my eye was the use of koji. I am familiar with amazake but shio-koji with a third of the koji’s weight in salt? That seems like a lot of salt to me but most of the articles seem to imply that shio-koji used as a replacement condiment for salt would reduce salt intake.

Having read Makiko-san’s article, I thought it was interesting and that I should give it a try some time. Really was not thinking about doing this anytime soon though. Then I saw another reference and another… What is going on with this stuff. Finally @keyope put up a page (now gone) with the amounts of all three ingredients, koji, salt and water. This matched very closely with almost every other recipe I see so what the heck, I’ll give it a try.

I didn’t want to make a lot so @keyope’s recipe size seemed just about right to me; only 30g of salt, 100g of koji and 150ml of water. I combined this together this morning and stirred them up. They are sitting on the counter now.

It turns out that 150ml of water is too much for use with my fresh koji. It would probably be a better amount for use with koji like Cold Mountain’s. I guess the best advice here is to add a little, maybe 100mls worth in this case and then add more if needed.

This stuff is pretty salty tasting but we will have to wait about a week to see how it turns out with the koji enzymes transforming the basic ingredients. I’ll add and update in a week.

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8 thoughts on “Shio-koji?”

  1. I used the same recipe and got the same result. Watery porridge.

    The shio koji has been fermenting for 4 days now and it is starting to bubble, which I suppose means that there is some secondary fermentation. I don’t want that, so I am just going to add a little more koji rice now and put it in the fridge.

    I think you’re right – too much water in that recipe. Next time I will use just enough to cover the solids.

  2. Hello Will,

    I tried the shio-koji at a neighboring sushi restaurant.
    The conbination with the sashimi was very good.
    It imagine the Ika-Shiokara(cuttlefish guts pickled). But there is not that unique smell.
    However, it is necessary to examine the quantity of the water slightly.
    * Possibly the quantity of the water may be preference.
    The next challenge reduced 15% of water.
    It was asked you a question by other customers.
    Probably the final taste will be different by quality of the koji.
    I use the sake-used koji. However, they used the miso-used koji.
    The difference was clear.

    When we make Amazake, I make koji extra in small quantities.
    Unfortunately it is not possible to send us to US by the reguration.
    Only purchase koji directly here. (Not product of Shio-koji)


  3. Hi Will,
    My wife is also making ship-koji right now, it is about 5 days old. Will see how it works out. There is quite the resurgence in shio-koji, a lot of people, Japanese, have been inquiring about getting koji to make it.

    hope all is well,

    1. Hey Greg,

      Good to here from you. My shio-koji is now 8 days in, should be complete. It is still too liquid, at least compare to the pictures that show it as porridge like. Actually, the pictures look like amazake to me. I think that 100ml would have been better than the 150ml of water. How is your wife shio-koji turning out? Do you give or sell your koji? Have you gotten completely settled into your new home and work?

      Thanks, Will

  4. I am challenging the making of Shio-koji(salt-koji) this very moment.
    And it will be completed tomorrow.
    It was the inquiry from a visitor with the opportunity when I challenged this.
    Can you make shio-koji with our koji using sake?
    I was able to be convinced of the question.
    And it was able to be understood why shio-koji was popular in Japan.
    This recipe is common in Japan.
    However, a type of the salt is different from Japan in Canada.
    The quantity of the salt and should be improved.
    However, I think that the shio-koji can provide a new repertory in the taste of the dish.
    The Japanese fermented food including the koji is very attractive.

    1. Yoshiaki-san,

      Hey, how did your shio-koji turn out? I think I recall a tweet Nipro Brewery – Sake ‏ @keyope saying that you would supply koji to those interested. Is this true? Do I recall correctly?

      Thanks, will

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