You probably don't think of mold in a good way. But koji is a special, very small fungus that creates culinary wonders in Japanese cuisine. Koji, or Aspergillus oryzae, has been known to man for more than two thousand years. Koji is mainly used in China, Korea and, of course, Japan. For seasoning, cooking and fermenting koji can be used as a miracle food.
How is koji produced?
Usually, cereals, such as buckwheat or rice, are used and koji spores are added to them. The grain is thus inoculated with koji. Within two days, the fluffy spores spread over the grain. The resulting koji is now used to ferment food. It can also be used directly, for example in combination with water and salt, to season meat or vegetables. The koji marinade makes food more flavorful and tender in texture.
Koji as a fermentation base
Koji is necessary as a basis for fermentation processes. The fermentation of food occurs without the addition of oxygen. For example, delicious miso paste is produced by the mold. If you want to learn more about miso, check out our blog post. Masuzuka's rice koji miso paste is a real standout.
The many uses of koji
In foods like miso pastes and mirin, koji provides a rich umami flavor. Soy sauces, as well as other strong spicy sauces and even sake all have koji as the basis of their fermentation. In addition, meat is enhanced by the special mold spores. Since the mold produces enzymes that break down fats, proteins and carbohydrates, it provides a full-bodied flavor experience. The use of koji is manifold, so that it is impossible to imagine Japanese cuisine without this little noble fungus.
MYCONBINI tip: Try koji to refine vegetables or meat! With the liquid Shio Koji you can marinate your food before cooking or frying. The umami flavor will leave you amazed! If you like it really intense, you will love the premium Shio Koji from Uminosai.