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View Full Version : Moldy rice salt is all the rage in Japan



Korin_Mari
12-19-2012, 06:09 PM
I walked into my kitchen found something that looked like amazake (sweeten sake) in a jar. I shook it and sniff it out of curiosity, but it wasn't amazake... It wasn't sake at all. This terrified me because I thought it was something that has been sitting in fridge forever that rotted into liquid form. Apparently, my step mother recently introduced her to a new salt substitute called shio-koji. When I went to the office the next day, all of the females in the office were talking about how great it is and how healthy it is.

http://kojiya.jp/img/tt_d00.jpg

What is shio koji?
It is a fermented mixture of rice inoculated with the special (and of course safe) mold called Aspergillus oryzae, sea salt and water as a seasoning in place of salt to draw out the flavors of umami. Today I learned that this mold that's been used for centuries in miso, amazake, and sake. Since it's not 100% salt, using shio koji instead of salt will lower one's overall salt content in your diet.

It's gaining a lot of popularity in Japan, because "Through the fermenting process, it increases the amount of vitamin B1, B2, B6, H and Pateton acid. The Vitamin B group helps you to recover from fatigue, so itís perfect when you feel summer lethargy. Also, shio koji has a fair amount of lactic acid, which is known to be effective for intestinal disorders. All nine essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized in the human body are also contained in shio koji. It is a healthy substitute for salt. Since itís easily made at home, you can try incorporating shio koji into your regular cooking repertoire. We will introduce how to make shio koji and examples of dishes using shio koji." (From Chopsticks NY (http://www.chopsticksny.com/features/063/02))

I also suspect that its also extremely popular for older people to have to watch their sodium intake. As most of you probably know, Asian are notorious for having high blood pressure. Anything that can produce the same umami but has 50% less salt content must be something heaven sent.

"There are blogs, websites, cooking videos and even a cartoon character devoted to the stuff, which some have dubbed a "miracle condiment," the "new MSG" or the "next soy sauce." (Not bad for something that looks like beige sludge and smells like slightly sweet sweaty socks.) It marinates meat, chicken and fish; makes quick pickles; and can be added to both savory and sweet dishes." - Los Angeles Times (http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/25/food/la-fo-koji-20120825)

Has anyone here tried using it?

ecchef
12-19-2012, 07:16 PM
Use it the way you would miso. It's ok....not mind blowing. I'm sure Bouley & the Food Network wankers will get wind of this and before long it will be mass produced by Nestle and available at Piggly Wiggly.

Crothcipt
12-20-2012, 03:04 AM
hmmm interesting

edredlee
12-20-2012, 04:08 AM
Not only does it marinade meat, it tenderizes it. You can buy tubs of koji rice in most Japanese grocery stores and from that, it's super easy to make your own shio koji at home FYI. I use it to marinade chicken for karaage, fish for broiling and beef tongue for confiting among many other things!

ecchef
12-20-2012, 04:10 AM
Beef tongue confit. I like that idea!

knyfeknerd
12-20-2012, 09:10 AM
I'm intrigued. Might this be available at my local Asian supermarket?

quantumcloud509
12-20-2012, 04:53 PM
Sounds good. This article makes me want to eat healthy again...

edredlee
12-21-2012, 02:16 AM
I'm intrigued. Might this be available at my local Asian supermarket?

If you have Mitsuwa (Japanese chain grocery store) near by, they will most likely have it, otherwise you'll want to look into other Japanese markets. I personally haven't seen it outside of Japanese markets.. (I.e. Korean markets, china town etc..)

http://www.chopsticksny.com/features/063/02
The bottom of this link shows you how to make shio koji from a tub of koji rice.

I've also seen ready made shio koji sold on the Internet but can't remember the websites.. Happy hunting!

knyfeknerd
12-21-2012, 02:25 AM
Awesome, thanks Ed.

quantumcloud509
12-21-2012, 02:41 AM
Wow, its super easy to make. Im gonna hit up a few Asian marts this weekend for sure.

ThEoRy
12-21-2012, 03:04 AM
Use it the way you would miso. It's ok....not mind blowing. I'm sure Bouley & the Food Network wankers will get wind of this and before long it will be mass produced by Nestle and available at Piggly Wiggly.


I'm just glad you know what a piggly wiggly is...

edredlee
12-21-2012, 04:22 AM
Endless possibilities with shio koji! Just use in place of salt in most dishes/marinades/dressings/etc.. Happy cooking!

stphntrjllo
02-12-2013, 09:03 PM
Ecchef. Beef tongue confit is something we do all the time at work use duck fat thyme garlic cook sous bide 48 hours it make nice charcuterie