Anyone playing with koji these days?

It seems like koji has been having a bit of a moment for a little while and I’m finally jumping in. A container of Cold Mountain brand koji caught my eye at Marukai and I bit.

Anyone incorporating pulverized koji or shio koji into their cooking?

For context:

I use Aedan shio koji, bought at the SF Ferry Plaza farmer’s market. It’s wonderful on lamb or pork. Beef works very well, too (Meadowood did an awesome koji rice bavette steak with spring onion). I need a binchotan grill, though. Part of the thing about koji is that even though you wipe it off, the outside cooks quickly and caramelizes, so you may have to adjust your cooking temperature for thick cuts of meat. At home, I’m working on a recipe for a shio-koji lamb chop with soy, green apple balsamic, and mizuna.

That sounds very nice. Would love info on technique when you get it sorted to your satisfaction.

I went with the koji rice on impulse because I recognized it as a preferred brand in an article. Now I’ve got to sit patiently for a bit as my shio koji ferments. Sigh.

Have you tried chicken? I’m thinking rubbing the shio koji paste under the skin may mitigate the browning issues.

I will share when I feel it’s a good dish!

I only tried chicken maybe two or three times a few years ago, just simply grilled. You have to be sure to wipe it off before cooking, btw. I don’t have any tips on marination time for chicken, sorry.

I almost bought some at Mitsuwa yesterday (put it on my “next time” list). They had several brands right next to the miso.

There is no explanation on the containers, other than saying koji is used a seasoning. I would have probably used it to make soup. :grimacing:

Any updates on this topic? I have a couple of containers on the way and would love any tips on usage. This is what inspired me, Koji Prime Rib Breaks the Mold of Holiday Roasts, as I do the classic prime rib and Yorkshire pudding for the extended family Christmas feat.

I haven’t done anything with koji yet but have you gotten the Noma Guide to Fermentation? Practically the whole book is centered around koji and they do a very good job making it as accessible as possible even to home cooks.

When I get a little time I was going to set up a fermentation chamber and try for different types of garums.


I like to make a shio kogi to ferment a chili mash for making hot sauce


Whoa. Gonna need more info on that!

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I like to use it to marinate tomatoes. I boil the tomatoes slightly to loosen the skin and then let them sit in the koji. It’s sweet and salty and umami and creamy. Nice with a crusty bread or pickles

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I just ordered it. Thanks for the tip. Koji arrived yesterday. Going to make a btch of shio koji and one of shoyu koji. Will report back.

Awesome! Very excited to hear about whatever you do

The book is great. Here is a link to a fermentation fanatic’s website, In the future he will be posting plans to use a sous vide to make a fermentation chamber. Sounds like a good idea to me. My shio koji is done while the shoyu needs a few more weeks.

Wow, I hadn’t heard of that site, thanks! The idea of using a sous vide to help control temp and humidity is interesting- as I recall there was a somewhat similar technique floating around using a crockpot to make black garlic described at the very end of this episode of Cooking Issues.

I know that’s probably more enzymatic browning rather than true fermentation but the use of common household items to control the local environment is a really neat application worth exploring.

I usually make a traditional shio koji then either chop or puree what chili you like habanero works well. Leave it to ferment a couple weeks then i usually cook the mash with some onion, often fruit, wine, Vinegar, spices.


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My shio koji is now mature, and I finally had enough time off to use it. Marinated a ribeye cap I had trimmed off the Christmas roast for half a day. Pan roasted and butter basted it over high heat. Extremely tender and delicious. Did not notice that much of a difference in flavor, but fork cut tender. Served it with goose fat mille fois potatoes and sugar snap peas.