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

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

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

How to Use Shio Koji

Shio Koji Salted Rice Malt

In recent years, Shio Koji is easy to get using online shopping sites even if you don’t live in Japan. Hence today, for beginners that have never tried the Japanese seasoning before, let me introduce 4 basic ways to use the salted rice malt.

Make pickles

Cucumber with Shio Koji

It is difficult to make tasty Japanese pickles unless you know the right mixing ratio of seasonings, but just with Shio Koji you can make authentic pickles quickly and very well like this. Here is the quick recipe.

Cut vegetables, such as cucumber, daikon radish or carrot, into bite size pieces, and combine with the salted rice malt in a plastic zipper bag, and then force air out of the bag and close it. Let it sit for one day in the refrigerator and it will become umami rich pickles.

Marinate seasonal fish and meat

Pork with Shio Koji

Marinating seasonal fish or meat in the seasoning paste is a typical way of using Shio Koji, which makes their umami taste increase, because with Shio Koji the protein in the food material is broken down into amino acids.

The basic method is that you marinate fish or meat in a plastic zipper bag of Shio Koji and let it sit 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 deepens the taste of dressing. Not only that, but with the salted rice malt, you can also make a delicious dressing 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. Mix Shio Koji, vinegar, mirin, and ground sesame seeds together well first, and then add in sesame oil and stir well again.

As a secret ingredient

Shio Koji is favored by professional Japanese chefs. As an example, a popular steak restaurant in Tokyo is using the 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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