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

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 has used it as a common seasoning. It seems that some overseas people also like the Japanese seasoning.

As you may know, Shio Koji is a simple food known as an all-purpose seasoning and used together with a wide variety of foods. It’s made fermenting and aging the mixture of only the 3 ingredients, malted rice, salt, and water.

4 Basic Ways to Use Shio Koji

Shio Koji Salted Rice Malt

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

Make pickles with Shio Koji (the easy recipe)

Cucumber with Shio Koji

It is difficult to make tasty pickles unless you know the right mixing ratio of seasonings, but just with Shio Koji you can make pickles very well and very easily, as I wrote about it before. Here is the quick recipe.

Cut vegetables such as cucumber, daikon radish, and carrot, into bite-sized pieces, and combine those with the salted rice malt in a plastic zipper bag, then force air out of the bag and close it. Let it sit for one day in the refrigerator and you can enjoy the pickles with plenty of umami.

Marinate seasonal fish and meat with Shio Koji, and Grill them 

Pork with Shio Koji

Marinating seasonal fish or meat with Shio Koji is a typical way of using the salted rice malt. This makes the umami taste of fish and meat increase, because, with Shio Koji, protein in the food is broken down into amino acids.

The basic method: Marinate fish or meat with Shio Koji in a plastic zipper bag and let it sit for one day in the refrigerator, then grill it and enjoy.

Make a dressing with Shio Koji (the easy recipe)

If you put a little amount of Shio Koji into dressings, that imparts depth of flavor to the sauce. With the salted rice malt, you can make a tasty dressing as well.

Based on this popular dressing recipe, the recommended mixing ratio of seasonings is Shio Koji (2) : Vinegar (2) : Mirin (1) : Sesame Oil (1) : Ground Sesame Seeds (2). Combine Shio Koji, vinegar, mirin, and ground sesame seeds together well first, then add sesame oil and mix it up again.

Use Shio Koji as a secret ingredient

Shio Koji is often used as a secret ingredient in Japan. For example, a popular steak restaurant in Tokyo is using the salted rice malt as a secret seasoning for the hamburger mixture. As a secret ingredient, Shio Koji works well with curry, omelets, fried foods, and so on.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

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