So! Hi. Yeah, this follow up post is much later than it should be. Part of it was because the fermentation period in my cold New England apartment ended up being ten days. And then I wanted to experiment with it before posting anything.
I was making shio koji aka salted koji. I had never heard of it before until I took the izakaya class at CCAE with Yoko Bryden. I read up on some recipes – it’s very easy to make. The biggest hurdle was getting the main ingredient, koji. Koji is rice that has been inoculated with the mold aspergillus oryzae. It sounds gross at first but aspergillus oryzae is what gives us soy sauce, miso, and sake.
Just before Thanksgiving, it happened that I went to a very small Japanese market in a neighboring and found koji. I bought it before I even knew what I wanted to do with it. By the time I got home, I knew I wanted to make shio koji.
The basic recipe is 1 part sea salt to 3 parts koji to 4 parts filtered water. Had I been smart, I would have done this based on weights (I have a kitchen scale for goodness sake!) instead of volume. Basing on volume hasn’t negatively affected the end produce much, it’s just more watery than I had expected.
The koji that I was using was from Cold Mountain brand. Their koji is extremely hard. Even after fermenting for ten days, the rice grains never got soft enough to squish between my fingers. Fermentation was done though – the scent was reminiscent of sweet rice. I tasted it straight – it’s a balanced mixture of salty and sweet.
Since my koji was so hard, I took an immersion blender to my shio koji to make it smoother and easier to use.
I’ve been using it as a salt replacement so far. The basic ratio is 2tsp shio koji to replace 1tsp salt. Since my shio koji is a bit watery, depending on the application, I’ve gone up to 1T shio koji to replace 1 tsp salt.
So far, I’ve really enjoyed using it to make scrambled eggs. I’ve been using 1tsp shio koji per egg. I’m not even sure if I can taste the sweet notes by that point, but I can tell you that my scrambled eggs have a more rounded salty flavor.
Shio koji makes for a wonderful meat tenderizer, I hear. That’s the next experiment – shio koji chicken.
The current experiment with shio koji is within another experiment. I made a batch of butternut squash kimchi with lacinato kale and pine nutes (recipe comes from “The Kimchi Cookbook” by Lauryn Chun). Toward the end of assembling the kimchi, you’re supposed to add 1/4tsp kosher salt. I ended up adding a tsp of shio koji. It’s all lactic acid fermentation anyway! (^_~)
Actually, it was probably a good thing that I added the shio koji… seeing as I forgot to add a little bit of sugar at the end.
Now the hard part – I have to wait two to three days before eating the kimchi. I hate waiting!