Written and illustrated by Misa Ono
No matter how much I say “Shio-koji is so delicious” to my friends, many of them wouldn’t understand. It is hard to imagine the taste of “salt with umami”, and also hard to explain the taste of what they have never had. So let them try it. Here are some simple dishes with shio-koji that they would understand what I am talking about.
One is tofu topped with shio-koji, grated ginger and sesame oil. It is very simple but many people who have tried this said “Shio-koji is really delicious!” Adding oil enriches the shio-koji taste and makes it tastier. Vegetables marinated with shio-koji are just pickles. However, adding a bit of sesame oil or olive oil to the vegetables changes them to salad. Moreover, if you mix shio-koji, any of your favorite oil and vinegar (rice vinegar, wine vinegar, lemon juice, etc.), it will make your original dressing. It is healthy and delicious, perfectly matching fresh salad or boiled vegetables.
A combination of shio-koji, vinegar, honey and spices makes a pickles-like seasoning. It is good to cucumber or paprika bringing beautiful color.
Shio-koji can go well with light taste dishes like salad as well as tasty dishes. For example, a sauce made of shio-koji, honey and whole grain mustard is nice to make honey mustard grilled chicken. The sweetness of honey, sourness of mustard and umami of shio-koji combine perfectly. It is my favorite. The chicken can be replaced to pork, sausages or vegetable too.
To make a Chinese-style dish, add oyster sauce, shio-koji and sake to stir-fried meat or vegetable. If you like spicy, you can add fresh chilli or chilli paste. By adding shio-koji, it helps reduce the strong taste of oyster sauce.
To make a Japanese-style dish, simmer any root vegetables like potatoes and pumpkins and any meat with shio-koji and mirin (or honey). You can also do it with fish.
Shio-koji can transform to match any styles of dishes by combining with some other seasonings.