There are many varieties of fermented food like, cheese, yogurt, Korean Kimuchi, German Sauerkraut, Italian Balsamic vinegar and tea etc.
Soy sauce, Miso paste, Mirin, dried bonito and Sake are essential for our favorite Japanese food. They are also fermented products.
What are they made from? The answer is Kōji, the essence of Japanese cuisine. Today I am going to tell you about this powerful element.
Kōji is one of the bacteria cultivated on steamed grain such as rice, wheat and beans. The process is like this:
– Steam grain and add Kōji bacteria on it, which resolves starch and protein.
– Cultivate the bacteria that live on glucose and amino acid in the appropriate temperature and humidity.
The Kōji bacteria is a mother of the most important elements for Japanese food like Sake, Miso, vinegar, pickles, soy sauce, and Shōchū (distilled beverage). In other words, Japanese food would not exist without it.
Is the Kōji only for Japanese food? No. It is very useful for every dish of all around the world. Especially Shio-Kōji (Salt-added Kōji) is almighty seasoning, playing a vital role in cooking. It makes meat and vegetables dramatically soft and delicious after you spread it on the surface of the food, waiting more than a few hours. Moreover, meat gets brilliantly pink that will surely stimulate your appetite.
Since several years ago, the salted rice grain has attracted people with its fantastic work. For example, if you add a little bit of Shio-Kōji (approximately 20g for 200g wheat) in the ingredients in bread baking, you will find great results with the crisp outside and the soft inside. Why don’t you add Shi-Kōji in your cooking recipe?
- How to make Shio-Kōji
– Kome Kōji (Rice Kōji) 100g
– Salt 35g
– Suitable amount of water.
How to prepare:
– Sterilize a tapper wear and a spoon in boiling water, and then dry them with clean cloth.
– Put and salt in the box to mix them well.
– Add water until the grain gets fully soaked and stir it with a sterilized spoon. Then leave it in the normal temperature (over 20 degrees centigrade). When the grain absorbs water up, add water on it until the surface is just soaked up.
– It takes ten to fourteen days until you get your Shio- Kōji done. Don’t forget to stir once everyday. If it smells sweet and good with thick texture, your work has successfully been made. Keep it in a fridge. If it smells disgusting for any reason, do not use and dispose of it.
The image below is my Shio- Kōji, which has creamy texture and pleasant aroma.
When you sprinkle the Shio-Kōji on food, about 10% of the gross weight is appropriate.
Amazake has plenty of nutrition like Vitamin B1, B2, B6, folic acid, fiber, oligosaccharide, etc. It is now called “drip infusion drink” and has been well-known to people as one of the healthy drinks since the Edo period.
Be careful that Amazake has two types: One is made from sake lees that contain alcohol, other one is made from Kōji. Of course, now I am talking about the latter one.
When you visit Japan, I do recommend that you buy Kōji that will color your healthy food life. Where is Kōji? You can find it at a Miso section in a super market.
If you are not willing to make Shio-Kōji, it is available in a supermarket.
Have a try and experience the Shio- Kōji magic. Good luck.