Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How to Make Shiokoji

Ta dah! It's finally time to share this here! So excuse my late entry. I know, quite a few people have been waiting for it. Haha, just joking! I don't know how many of you are interested in making shiokoji, but now that I've been on a shiokoji spree on my bento, I think I have to share the how-to-make. As I wrote earlier, shiokoji is a very versatile seasoning (or condiment) that has become more and more popular lately. In Japan, it is said that fermented foods, such as yogurt, miso, natto, pickled veggie, are help improve gut health and build up immune system. Shiokoji is one of those fermented foods. Not only does it give extra flavor to food, but also it is said to be so good for health and beauty, and even for skin and diet... Heh wow. Not that I totally believe those kinds of things, but think there is SOMETHING to it. Above all, what I like best about shiokoji is the fact that it makes food taste better. I especially liked the use for my soup, curry (made from scratch), tamagoyaki, fried rice, bread baking. You can use shiokoji for pretty much any cooking as an alternative to salt, or monosodium glutamate if you are a MSG user. Plus it's so simple and easy to make it that anybody can make it themselves. So I'd really like everybody else to try it out! If you live outside of Japan, maybe the hardest part of making shiokoji is to first get kome-koji (rice grains molded with koji-bacteria, aka rice malt, which is also used for making miso or sake). Large Japanese groceries have it, I guess. Else you could buy it from They do have anything.

Second shiokoji
Shiokoji ingredients
A bag of 200 gram dried kome-koji
1 and 1/2 cup (300ml) water, (1 and 1/4 American cups)
3 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon salt (about 60 grams)

Second shiokoji-1
How to make Shiokoji
Have you got kome-koji yet? Then here we go!
1) Mix well all ingredients together in a large clean container.
2) Cover it with plastic wrap, then rest and ferment at room temperature for a week stirring well once a day. If you cover it with the lid, NEVER close it tightly because the kome-koji may give off CO2 gas while fermenting.

Around day 4, the mixture would still be grainy. Around day 8, the entire mixture is supposed to be thick and somewhat smoother. Now it's time to use it for your cooking!! The finished one will keep for half a year in the refrigerator.

Shio koji
Here is the way my first batch turned out to be.

Second shiokoji-2
I keep increasing my shiokoji by adding salt and cooked rice to the rest of the first batch. Otherwise I will finish it up soon.


  1. I have actually been wondering how you make it!  I wonder if I can find the kome-koji here....I will have to check our Japanese grocery this weekend!  

  2. Hi Carol. Shiokoji cooking is interesting! I hope you can get komekoji somewhere near you. I guess anything is available in NYC though :)

  3. Hello,
    This is MOST helpful! I have been waiting for this post (as you guessed correctly...^_^ )
    Can I ask a quick question? When you keep adding salt + cooked rice to the ready-to-be-used batch of shiokoji, do you need to let it ferment again for like 8days?
    Or is it ready to use as it is? Many thanks!

  4. Hi again
    Apologies forgot to ask this after the 8th day, it is Ok to close the lid of the glass container tightly? The fermentation process is complete by 8th day, yes? Many grateful thanks again!

  5. Hi Shane, Thanks for asking! I let it sit for like 4 days at room temperature. It takes a few days to ferment the rice till it's mushy and smooth. FYI, I add like 12%-of-the-rice of salt by weight.

  6. No problem. :) Maybe it will take 7 - 10 days depending on the temperature. If your shiokoji is mushy and thick, it is fine to use. After that, you can close your lid tightly, and make sure to keep it in the fridge.

  7. Hi Babykins!
    Do you think I can substitute the rice malt powder with barley malt powder?
    Thanks for the recipe :)

    1. Mmm I'm not sure if barley malt powder has active culture in it because it's made by sprouting barly grains. It seems to contain enzymes though. But if you are adventurous why not try it out? :)

  8. Komekoji is available at

  9. Thank you so much for the help! :)

  10.  My friend who is using the brown rice koji from Natural Import says to be sure and use your hands to help break up the grain when the fermentation is going on.

  11. Thank you for the comment! I know some people say that, but koji grains ferment its own with water and room temperature. And the enzyme helps them break up. Actually no need to rub or kneed by hands. But of course you can do that, it will help your shiokoji be finished sooner :) 

  12. Can you explain how to increase the shiokoji with the cooked rice?  Thanks!

  13. Oh I'm very sorry to be too much late! In short, you just add rice and salt to your shiokoji. Do you have your own shiokoji?

  14.  Thank you for your reply.  I just discovered shiokoji last year thanks to the L. A. Times article and other sources on the Web, including this one.   I used the Cold Mountain brand (made in California?) for my first venture with shiokoji.  I love it!  I'm trying to make miso, but I'm not sure if the first try will be successful.  Would like to learn to use it in baking.  Thanks again.

  15. My pleasure! I'm impressed because I've thought of making my own miso but haven't tried yet. That sounds like a pain so shiokoji is right up my alley :)
    A little shiokoji works well in bread dough. But too much will be no good.

    Shall I write details on my way of multiplying shiokoji if you need?

  16. Ok I'm going to post about it when I get some time. Could you wait a bit longer.

  17.  Yes, I can wait.  Thank you.

  18. I finally posted! Thank you for waiting! :)

  19. Hello
    I wanted to leave a note saying that I really enjoy your blog and recipes.
    I was in Japan last month and read about Shio Koji.
    Unfortunately I had no time to get around to buying it then. Fortunately, though, I live near a Japanese supermarket and I was able to find it there. Thank you for sharing on your blog!!


  20. Thank you for letting me know that. It means a lot!
    I'm sorry that my reply is too late. Hope you enjoy cooking with shiokoji :)