Koji can be found in most Japanese dishes and is raved about by many chefs and home cooks here in the UK. Koji is cooked rice that is put through a fermentation process that creates mould (don’t worry, it’s totally edible and takes your dishes to a whole new level of flavour). This mould thrives in a humid environment, which is why Koji is so prominent in Japanese cuisine.
Koji creates an umami flavouring with a hint of sweetness through producing digestive enzymes. Koji produces the same flavourings as MSG and is often used as a natural alternative as it doesn’t have any additives.
How To Use Koji
Koji in its original form is pretty simple, but it can come in a few different forms, meaning you can add it to literally anything you want, marinating meat, adding it to miso soup or even a spoonful on a morning if you really fancied it (wouldn't be our first recommendation). A recipe that is a must try is our Japanese Cream Stew With Koji - a proper winter warmer!
If you’re looking to add more umami flavouring to your food here are some products that can help.
The best-kept secret that every home chef should have in their cupboard. This liquid shio Koji is ideal for stock and marinating meats and vegetables. The enzymes break down the proteins in meat and fish making them tender and giving a fully-flavoured finish.
Marukomo Shio koji is a slightly thick liquid and is used as a natural seasoning used to marinate, tenderise, and enhance the umami, or richness in your dishes. It's made of just a few simple ingredients, salt, water and rice koji. As it's all-natural, you get the same umami taste as you would while using MSG but without the additives.
The ULTIMATE soy sauce! Horaiya Honten Koji Shoyu is made by adding Koji to artisan soy sauce and is left to mature for 12 months. This Koji soy sauce has a sweeter and thicker finish than regular Soy Sauce. It goes great with tofu, sushi and sashimi. Try separating the koji rice grains and serving them on mackerel sashimi, amazing. This soy sauce also has a sick backstory, check it out here.