Written and illustrated by Misa Ono
It is difficult to explain the taste of shio-koji, however, I would say it is like “liquid of salt containing full of umami flavor”. Koji mold converts protein into amino acid and starch into glucose (sweetness) so that shio-koji contains its original umami that salt doesn’t have. Therefore, I would recommend you to use shio-koji not only for marinating meat or fish but as a seasoning instead of salt for usual dish.
By marinating vegetables in shio-koji, you can take enzyme from koji. Enzyme converts protein into amino acid and gains umami flavor. One thing I have to tell you is that enzyme can’t work anymore when heated. Do you think it has no meaning to use shio-koji into hot dish such as simmered or pan-fried food? Ok. I’ll explain that.
For example, when you pan-fry bacon and cabbage, you may usually add salt into it for seasoning. However I recommend you to put shio-koji instead of salt. You don’t need to add so much. If you put shio-koji a bit, it gains umami and good taste even when it gets cold.Enzyme lose the activeness by heating, however, it is eaten by good bacteria such as lactobacillus that help body healthier by enhancing immunity. Also, koji has high nutrition itself. It means taking koji every day is to keep you healthier.
I don’t like to be worried about foods’ nutrition or the way to take foods. So I just put shio-koji into my cooking just because it is tasty, without thinking anything difficult. As I have a habit of taking shio-koji every day, I feel weary when I have no chance to take it because of trip or something. Yes, maybe it’s just me. But I try to take much koji foods after coming back home and refresh myself.