I’ve heard of shio koji but what is it exactly?
How does it taste? How do you use it? Is it good for your health? What ingredients and recipes are suitable for using shio koji?

We will answer such questions.

What is shio koji?


Shio koji is a traditional Japanese seasoning.
It is said that its roots are in the traditional pickled “Sagohachizuke” from the Tohoku region.
Sagohachizuke is pickled with salt, rice koji, and rice at a ratio of 3: 5: 8 to make a pickled bed for vegetables and fish, while shio koji is fermented and aged by mixing salt and rice koji without using rice. Rice koji is also the main ingredient in sake.
It is also explained a little on the homepage of the long-established miso maker “Hikari Miso”.


What does it taste like?

Since rice koji is added to salt, it has a salty taste with some sweetness and umami.
This sweetness and umami is produced by the enzyme amylase produced by koji bacteria, which breaks down the starch in rice and converts it into glucose.


How to use

Using shio koji is very easy!
When cooking, use shio koji instead of salt. Simple.
As for the amount, aim for about twice as much as when you use salt.
(If you need 2 grams of salt, use 4 grams of shio koji.)
It adds depth and richness compared to using salt, and makes the taste of the dish even better.

Advantages and disadvantages it adds to ingredients and health


    • Benefits to ingredients

When meat or fish is soaked in shio koji, proteins are broken down by an enzyme called protease and soften the meat.
At this time, the shio koji after removing the meat and fish will be very delicious if you use it as a secret ingredient for soups and sauces instead of throwing it away.
In addition to meat and fish, shio koji also brings out the flavor of vegetables. The original taste of vegetables can be enhanced by simply mixing shio koji with raw vegetables.


    • Disadvantages to ingredients

Shio koji has the odor peculiar to the grains of koji and fermented foods. There are people who are not good with this smell.
In addition, the grains of koji may stick to the pot and cause charring.
However, there is also a product called “shio koji liquid” that has solved this issue.

Since it is squeezed to make it a smooth liquid, the ingredients are the same as those of ordinary shio koji.

    • Benefits to health

・Fatigue recovery
The B vitamins contained in shio koji can be expected to have a fatigue recovery effect.
Vitamin B1 quickly converts sugars and vitamin B2 converts proteins, lipids, and sugars into energy, so if you get tired, taking shio koji will help you feel better.

・Settle intestinal environment
In addition to the effect of decomposing the above-mentioned ingredients, the enzymes of shio koji have the effect of improving digestion and absorption, so it reduces the burden on the gastrointestinal tract.
In addition, shio koji also contains oligosaccharides. It is well known that oligosaccharides contained in yogurt etc. increase bifidobacteria in the intestines. Since most of human immune cells are in the intestine, it can be expected to boost immunity.

・Prevention of arteriosclerosis
One of the nutrients contained in shio koji, “peptide”, prevents blood from becoming muddy and has the function of breaking down fat.
Shio koji also contains a type of amino acid, “GABA,” which suppresses cholesterol and triglyceride levels, making it ideal for preventing lifestyle-related diseases, including arteriosclerosis.

・Beautifying effect
The B vitamins, which are also effective in relieving fatigue, have the function of increasing the metabolism of the skin.
A nutrient called kojic acid also suppresses the production of melanin, which is the cause of age spots and freckles.

・Salt reduction effect
Comparing the salt content of the same amount of shio koji and salt, the salt content of shio koji is only about 1/4 of that of salt.
If you use shio koji in the same way as salt, you need to use double the amount compared to salt, but as a result, the amount of salt intake is still reduced to about half.
Many people find it difficult to reduce salt to improve high blood pressure and swelling, but since shio koji is used instead of salt, there is no need for troublesome calculations or intentionally diluting the taste. This is a nice effect.

    • Disadvantages to health

・Expensive compared to salt
The price of shio koji itself is not high, but because you reap its benefits only after you use it every day, and because you need to use double the amount compared to salt, the total cost inevitably becomes more expensive than salt.

・No immediate effect
As mentioned above, there are many health benefits of shio koji, but all of them can be obtained by taking it continuously, and you cannot feel a dramatic change just by taking it once.

・If you take too much, you cannot expect a salt-reducing effect.
It doesn’t make sense to add a large amount to a dish just because it has a salt-reducing effect.


Where can I buy shio koji?

You can buy it at Japanese supermarkets and Asian markets.
You can also buy it on Amazon.

Simple shio koji recipe that goes well with sake

Here is a simple recipe using shio koji that goes well with sake.
You can easily obtain all ingredients other than shio koji!
The amount is just a guide, so you don’t have to measure it exactly.

    • Fried chicken



Hiroyuki Koshi(@hkoshitokyo)がシェアした投稿

The chicken soaked in shio koji becomes tender and very juicy!
Ingredients (for 2 people)
・ Chicken thigh or breast 11oz
・ Shio koji 1.76oz
・ Ginger (paste or grated) 0.03oz
・ Garlic (paste or grated) 0.03oz
・ Cooking liquor or dry white wine 1 teaspoon
・ Cake flour 2 tablespoons
・ Cornstarch 2 tablespoons
・ Lemon (if you like)
① Mix shio koji, ginger, garlic and cooking liquor (white wine), cut the chicken into easy-to-eat pieces and soak for 30 minutes to 3 hours.
② Mix the cake flour and cornstarch and sprinkle on the chicken pickled in ①.
③ Fry the chicken sprinkled with the powder of ② in oil. Since shio koji is easy to burn, heat it to the middle at a low temperature at first, and when it becomes colored, heat it to a high temperature and fry it in a short time.
Squeeze lemon if you like just before eating.

    • Salad chicken





A healthy menu that you can eat with confidence even while you are on a diet. It’s very easy to make in the microwave and still comes out moist and soft.
・ One chicken breast (about 9oz)
・ Shio koji: 10% of the weight of chicken
・ White pepper (black pepper or ordinary pepper is fine) appropriate amount
① Rub shio koji and white pepper into chicken and soak for 30 minutes to overnight. If you want to be healthier, peel the skin off.
② Put it in a container such as a tupperware that can be heated, cover it with a lid or wrap, and set the microwave oven to 500W for 3 minutes to heat and mix.
③ Cover the lid or wrap again and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes.
④ Leave it for 10 minutes and preheat it to complete.
* The standard heating time is 1 second per 0.03 oz of chicken based on 500W. For microwave ovens that cannot be adjusted to 500W, reduce the heating time to less than half. Please adjust as it varies depending on the model.
* Finally, preheating is the key to making it moist and soft.

    • Salted grilled fish that can be made with just one frying pan





Shio koji, which contains enzymes that break down proteins and soften them, goes well with not only chicken but also fish.
・ A piece of sashimi fish
・ Appropriate amount of shio koji
① Wipe off the water from the fish with kitchen paper, apply shio koji to the surface, put it in a plastic bag, seal it, and soak it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to half a day.
② Spread parchment paper on a frying pan, place the fish on it, cover it and bake on low heat. At this time, do not wipe off the shio koji on the surface of the fish and bake it as it is.
③ After about 7 to 8 minutes, turn the fish over and bake the other side for 7 to 8 minutes to complete.

    • Shio koji tofu





By soaking tofu in shio koji, you can create a richness and texture like cheese.
Cheese is a snack that goes well with sake, so this is a recipe you should definitely try!
・1 tofu
(Cotton is recommended over Silken for hardness because tofu that is too soft ones will be crushed when draining water. Soft to Medium Firm is recommended)
・ Appropriate amount of shio koji
① Wrap kitchen paper around tofu, place a plate on it, and apply a little pressure. Leave in the refrigerator overnight to drain.
② Peel off the paper towel from ① and apply shio koji evenly on all sides.
③ Wrap it in kitchen paper again, put it in a closed container, cover it, and leave it in the refrigerator for 3 days or more to complete.
* Since water will be drained, check every night and if water is found, discard it and replace the kitchen paper.
When finished, you can eat it as it is, sprinkle with olive oil and black pepper, or combine it with tomatoes and basil to make caprese.



Shio koji has many health benefits, and when used in cooking, you can easily make snacks that go well with sake.
Please experience the taste of shio koji once!
By the time you use up one shio koji bottle, you’ll probably be addicted.