How to make miso? You first ingredient you will need is koji. This koji is specifically designed to ferment the high rice (carbohydrates) content in short-term miso (3 weeks up to 6 months). It is high in amylase enzymes, that break the complex carbohydrates down into simple sugars, creating the typical sweet flavor of this particular type of miso. Package includes directions that tell you how to make miso.
Shio koji? This koji is the most commonly used koji for making shio koji.
What is shio koji?
Koji is steamed grain that has been inoculated with the fungus Aspergillus oryzae. The mycelium formed during fermentation covers the grain with a white blanket and penetrates the whole kernel.
What do you do with it?
Koji is used to make: miso, soy sauce, amazake, mirin, sake, rice vinegar, pickled vegetables, fermented tofu, and shio koji.
What does it do?
A complex of enzymes, amylase, protease, and lipase, in the koji break down, respectively, complex carbohydrates into simple sugars, proteins into amino acids, and fats (lipids) into fatty acids. During this process of fermentation all kinds of side processes take place creating beneficial microorganisms and substances not present, or active, or accessible in the original raw ingredients. In addition, harmful substances are reduced, neutralized, broken down, or transformed into less or totally harmless forms. Glutaminase is released by the action of koji breaking down glutamine creating glutamate, which imparts a unique savory taste known as umami. Aa result of all this action during fermentation an original food is created with characteristics and benefits of its own.
Shio-koji is a way to add the flavor called “umami” to any dish. It also ferments and tenderize it if given time. It is a natural version of mono-sodium glutamate. We long know about sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, but now we know about umami as well. It is described as savory and creates an urge for food.
How to make your own shio-koji.
Take 1 lbs of short-term miso koji (most commonly used, but other kojis work also, giving different flavors) and mix with 4 ½ oz of fine sea salt. Blend all together in a blender to get a powder if so desired or mix by hand to retain the whole kernels. Store in cool dry place for up to a year.
Activate the shio koji by adding 1 lbs. of above mix with 1 3/4 cups water. Mix together thoroughly. Put in a covered container and keep at room temperature, stirring daily to aerate the mixture. After one week (summer) to 10 days (winter) the final shio-koji is done and ready to use instead of salt in many dishes. From sweet to savory dishes experiment to find your favorite use. You can blend the shio-koij to make it easier to use when a smoother texture is wanted. Keep refrigerated. Will keep up to a few months, but it develops a stronger flavor with time.
Alternately, you can use the dry mix also as a tenderizer and flavor enhancer. Sprinkle or dust over the food you want to treat and let sit refrigerated for a few hours up to a few days. Use 2 tsp activated shio-koji instead of 1 tsp salt in any given recipe.