Koji is a traditional and essential ingredient for producing miso, sake, soy sauce, and other Japanese condiments in Japan's unique food culture which Koji has been playing a significant role in Japanese cuisine.
It is made of cooked rice that has been inoculated with microscopic (Aspergillus oryzae), a mold that’s widespread in Japan. Obviously, Koji fungus is totally harmless, and safe to eat.
In fact, when food is cooked or marinated with Koji (or salt koji, soy sauce koji etc...), the koji enzyme enhances the flavor of the dish and makes the protein tenderer.
How to use koji :
- Make your own miso
- Make your own salt koji, soy sauce koji, garum
- Make your own amazake
- Home sake brewing
In addition, like other fermented foods, it possesses a number of health benefits. In particular, Koji is a great source of probiotics, which is a type of beneficial bacteria that helps improve gut health and enhance nutrient absorption.
Garum & Koji
Have you ever heard of Garum?
Garum is an ancient fermented fish sauce origins back to Roman period. It is really tasty, flavorful and umami-rich “exquisite liquid”, but it also has strong smell of fish.
Garum was originally made of sardines and mackerels, fermented with salt and its guts. This is why the original garum has an acquired smell and flavour.
However, Noma, the award-winning Copenhagen restaurant, twisted the idea of garum fermentation. They were aware of the versatility of koji that does the job for making garum without strong flavour instead of using fish guts.
A part from garum, Noma serves many dishes fermented with koji, their alternative idea of culinary explore influences numbers of chef and foodies in the world!