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.
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)
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
Has anyone here tried using it?