A spoonful of happiness, Koji

You may have heard of Shio-Koji or Koji, which is a Japanese traditional ingredient that has been used in many ways from old times. I'd like to share about this fantastic ingredient this month. There're so many benefits to use it and it's pretty easy to bring in your daily diet. 

What is Shio-Koji?
dried Koji
dried Koji


Koji is a rice malt, edible mold, good-for-you bacteria that is contained in the Japanese traditional ingredient such as Soy source, Miso, Sake and more.


Shio-Koji is made by adding salt and water to Koji and then fermented for one or two weeks, Shio-Koji is Japanese popular ingredient that has been routinely used in Japanese homemade cooking and is really versatile for any kind of food. 

5 great benefits of Shio-Koji

1) Nutritious 

Shio-Koji contains rich vitamin by microbial function such as lactic acid and yeast as well as decomposing raw material, so is rich on nutrients compared to salt alone. These help recovery from fatigue both physically and  mentally and also raise brain metabolism.


2) Health promoting benefits

Lactic acid is known as regulates the function of the intestines, so it helps boost immunity and is effective in anti-ageing and beautiful skin. 


3) Low sodium

Shio-Koji is made of Koji, salt and water, so with the same amount of Shio-Koji as salt that you usually use can fully get milder and richer flavour, which results in reduction of salt. It depends on Shio-Koji you use, but it is normally said to be at least one quarter the salt content.


4) Rich and variation in taste

Koji contains various types of enzyme created by Koji mold (Aspergillus oryzae). These enzyme naturally draw sweetness and "Umami" (savory) by producing glucose, amino acid, glutamic acid and so on, which gives various combination of taste elements.


5) Make ingredient tender

The enzyme created by Koji have effects that break down protein and starch in food, so when you marinate fish or meat, it amazingly makes them tender after cook. Also Koji helps neutralise the smell of the fish or meat. 

Let's make Shio-Koji & Shoyu-Koji

+ Shio-Koji


Mix 60g of salt and 300cc of hot water and cool down to about 60 degrees. Put 200g of Koji into this and mix them lightly. Leave them for 1-2weeks in the room temperature till becoming thick stirring once a day. 


Once done, keep it in the fridge and finish it up within about 3 months.

Making Shio-Koji
Making Shio-Koji

+ Shoyu-Koji


Mix 250cc of Soy source with 100cc of hot water and cool down to about 60 degrees, Put 200g of Koji and mix them lightly. Leave them for 1-2 weeks in the room temperature till becoming thick stirring once a day.                                                 

Once done, you keep it in the fridge and finish it up within about 3 months.

Making Shoyu-Koji
Making Shoyu-Koji

Simple cooking with Koji

Why don't you start simply replacing salt or soy source with Shio-Koji or Shoyu-Koji? This makes you feel it's  simple and easy right? For example, add Shio-Koji instead of salt for soup, you'll get rich and mild taste as well as cutting salt. If you put one table spoon of Shio-Koji when you cook rice, the rice turn fluffy with "Umami". Or add Shoyu-Koji to Chinese dishes such as "Mapo dofu"  for greater depth of flavour. 

Here are a few simple recipes that you can start right now. 

Salad dressing
Salad dressing


+ Salad dressing for 2-4 servings

1/8 onion, 1/4 carrot, vinegar, 2tbsp Shio-Koji,

3tb olive oil, pepper


Grate onion and carrot, then mix them with other ingredient. 

Natural sweetness from Shio-Koji and veggies works on your appetite. 

Shio-Koji Omlette
Shio-Koji Omlette


+ Omelette for 3-4 servings

3-4 eggs, 50cc of milk, 1tbsp Shio-Koji


Beat all the ingredients together and put butter on the pan, then heat and wait till melt. Pour the egg mixture into the pan then scramble immediately. Leave it for a while till it's done to your taste. 

Shio-Koji helps give a nice and rounded falvour melting in your mouth. 

new items by Maiko Okuno
Pork shoulder marinated in Shio-Koji
Pork shoulder marinated in Shio-Koji

+ Pork shoulder Marinated in Shio-Koji

400g of pork shoulder, 3-4tbsp Shio-Koji, Japanese pepper "Sansho" or any herb


Spread Shio-Koji evenly on the lump and wrap it in  plastic wrap then keep in fridge for 1-2 nights. Wipe off excess liquid from the meat. Spread Japanese pepper "Sansho" then put it in the oven at 150 degrees for an hour. Turn off the heat and after wrapping in the foil, put it back in the oven to rest for at least an hour. Slice them to serve. The meat is amazingly tender and juicy with condensed "Umami". Also Koji imparts the sheen to it that stimulates your appetite. 

marinated pork shoulder that stimulates your appetite
marinated pork shoulder that stimulates your appetite
sakazuki cup



As you can see, it's not difficult at all to take this ingredient in your daily life. If you feel it's hassle to make Shio-Koji or Shoyu-Koji, you could find the ready made ones too. Start a healthy and delicious dietary habit with a single spoon of Shio-Koji. You'll be definitely amazed at versatileness. 

You might be interested in this post too


blog post seek out new inspiration with Urushi lacquerware

Write a comment

Comments: 2
  • #1

    Doreen (Friday, 16 April 2021 11:14)

    Would like to make shio koji ...but when to buy the dry rice koji in Singapore?
    Please advice.tks

  • #2

    tsugu (Friday, 16 April 2021 17:30)

    Thanks for your comment. You can buy dried rice Koji in Meidiya and also Iroha mart at Plaza Singapura.