Shio Koji: 4 Basic Ways to Use Salted Rice Malt Seasoning

A salted rice malt seasoning called “Shio Koji (塩麹)” became a popular topic several years ago here in Japan, and since then many people have commonly used it in daily life.

Shio Koji (塩麹)

For the unfamiliar, Shio Koji is a versatile seasoning made by fermenting and aging a mixture of malted rice, salt, and water, and not only Japanese but nowadays quite a few overseas people also love the lumpy white paste. 

Shio Koji Salted Rice Malt

Today, Shio Koji is easy to get using online marketplaces even if you are not in Japan. Hence this time, for beginners that have never used it before, let me introduce 4 basic ways to use the salted rice malt seasoning.

Make pickles

Cucumber with Shio Koji

It is difficult to make tasty Japanese pickles or Tsukemono unless you know the right mixing ratio of seasonings, but just with Shio Koji, you can make authentic Asazuke pickles quickly like this

Specifically, first, cut fresh vegetables, such as cucumber, daikon radish, or carrot, into bite-size pieces, and combine and lightly rub them with Shio Koji in a plastic zipper bag.

Then force the air out of the bag and close it. Let it rest for one day in the refrigerator and it will become umami-rich pickles.

Marinate seasonal fish and meat

Pork with Shio Koji

A typical way of using Shio Koji is marinating seasonal fish or meat in the seasoning paste, which makes meat’s umami increase because with Shio Koji the protein contained in the food material is broken down into amino acids.

Specifically, marinate slices of meat or fish in a plastic zipper bag of Shio Koji and let it rest for one day in the refrigerator. After that, grill it and enjoy.

For dressing

In many cases, the addition of a little amount of Shio Koji can deepen the taste of dressing. Not only that, but by using the salted rice malt, you can make a delicious dressing from scratch like below.

Based on this popular recipe on, the recommended mixing ratio of Shio Koji to vinegar to mirin to sesame oil to ground sesame seeds for dressing is 2:2:1:1:2.

Combine Shio Koji, vinegar, mirin, and ground sesame seeds first, and then add sesame oil, give it all a good stir.

As a secret ingredient

Shio Koji is favored by professional chefs. As an example, a popular steak restaurant in Tokyo is using salted rice malt as a secret seasoning in the hamburger mixture.

As a secret ingredient, Shio Koji also works well with curry, omelets, and fried foods.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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