Advertisement 300 X 250

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

It's Magic!

If you have not tried Shio Koji, trust me, you have got to go look for it!   I have read that some of the Japanese people call this their magical seasoning and i tell you i can't agree more!  It is really, really delicious and the best part is it's so versatile and simple to use!   All you need is basically this one seasoning and it will bring out the best flavors in both meat and vegetables whether you braised, fry, steam or even just as a seasoning for salad or pickle!      

I have Nami of Just One Cookbook to thank for introducing me to this magical ingredient.  I got to know about it when she posted this dish on her blog.  It came at the right time as I was about to go for a holiday in Japan.  I made a mental note to look for it when i get there.  Initially, I tried looking for it on my own when i got to a supermarket but i gave up after some time and got some help instead as most of the stuff does not have any English labelling on them.  I went to a wrong section, i thought it was probably on the aisle where all the sauces are since the one I saw at Nami's was in a sauce bottle but the young man brought me all the way to where it was and pointed it out to me. Service in Japan is just ichiban!  It's at the refrigerated area, btw :)

So, what is shio koji?  Koji is essentially rice that's been inoculated with the koji mold.  When it is combined with water and salt and allowed to ferment it turns to shio koji where shio means salt.  In appearance, it looks like rice porridge with some rice grains still visible though i have read that it can also look like a puree.  Koji is also the ingredient used for making soy sauce, sake and miso in Japan.

Coming back to this dish, this is my third time making it already and there goes all the shio koji that i brought back from Japan.  I went hunting for more in our local Isetan supermarket and was very happy to find it available, so fellow Malaysians you know where to get it if you are interested to try :)  It's at the section where they place sashimi.  They also have salmon that has been pre-marinated with shio koji for sale.  That's the pack that i got from Isetan KL.

This is a no fuss dish, so simple yet one gets blown away by the flavors!  Some sweetness mixed with a savory depth that has a miso-like aroma.  The chicken is marinated with shio koji then pan fried for awhile to give it some browning before adding in some root vegetables and lastly braised with some wine until chicken is tender.  Shio koji has a tenderizing effect on the meat too.

I have my own twist to this recipe now that i have made it a couple of times. The addition of Japanese sweet potatoes makes the dish sweeter and vice versa the potatoes taste really good with the umami flavors of shio koji blending into them.  I have also added in some mini king oyster mushrooms that never seems to be enough for us :)

Besides this dish, i have used shio koji as a marinade for fish before steaming or panfrying it.  I have read that the rule of thumb on the amount of shio koji to be used is 10% of the weight of food to be marinated and finds that it suits our family's taste buds.

The only downside to shio koji is it's expensive in Malaysia.  A small pack of 200g cost me RM16.90 (around USD5).  There are guides out there on how to make your own though.  An important point to remember is shio koji burns easily.  Do make sure you use low-medium flame if you are  pan frying fish/meat that is marinated with just shio koji, and yes i burnt my way to learned this :)  And like most other marinade, the longer it is left to marinate, the better it taste.

I am going to stop waxing lyrical about it, you have got to try it yourself but i admit i am a little crazy about it :)

Reference: Just One Cookbook

  • 4 (about 1 lb) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, rinsed and pat dry (2 chicken thighs)
  • 2 tbsp Shio Koji
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced/crushed
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour (omitted)
  • 1 tsp paprika (omitted)
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary (2 sprigs rosemary)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (1 tbsp fresh oregano)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 thin carrot, cut into 2 inch thick slices
  • 1/2 large onion, cut into 4 wedges
  • 1 cup chicken broth (400ml water)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (1/4 cup sake)
  • 1 small red potato (1 small russet potato)
  • 1 medium size Japanese sweet potato)
  • 150g mini king oyster mushrooms (cut the bigger ones into half otherwise leave it whole)
  • 1 tablespoon corn flour
  1. Put the chicken, shio koji, and garlic in a large plastic bag and massage ingredients together. Marinate in the bag for 30 minutes. (Left to marinate for 2 hours in the fridge)
  2. Add flour, paprika and herbs to the bag and shake to coat. 
  3. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Place chicken (skin side down) and remaining marinade into the Dutch oven. (I used a pressure cooker with stir fry function but a deep pot would work find too)
  4. Cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly brown.
  5. Add carrot and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Add broth, wine, and potatoes and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 40 minutes or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender. (Simmered for 15 minutes, then changed to high pressure function for 7 minutes).
  8. If mushrooms are used, add them in about 10 minutes before turning off the flame or if cooking in high pressure, add them in just before setting on high pressure.
  9. If you like a thicker sauce, remove about 2 tablespoons of the sauce and allow it to cool.
  10. Dissolve corn flour with the sauce that has been removed then pour it back into the pan and allow it to come to a boil again to  thicken the sauce.
  11. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper before serving.


The way you go on about it must be really worth the money you paid for it, I don't think Aeon sells this so I'll look for it when I happen to be in Isetan:) Your chicken does look delicious from my screen, and I have a very large screen lol!

If only I could get this shio koji here at my Isetan here and Jeannie said, dont think Aeon have this. So I will keep on look out for this....till then I just feast by just looking at your photos here.

@Jeannie & Mel: Not sure if they have it at AEON, i tried my luck at Isetan first, i will look out for it at Aeon when i go there :)

Thank you so much for trying this recipe and I'm so glad you enjoy using shio koji! I just shared your link on my facebook page. Thank you for linking back to my post. :)

Your dish up there look so appetizing! I must go search for this magic!

I will have to hunt down some shio koji! The chicken thighs look really tender and juicy.

Hi, this chicken dish look awesome. I might need extra rice to go with your this inviting dish. :))

Have a nice week ahead,regards.

Hi LTB, wow, this is definitely a magic dish. Can't wait to get this magic potion to cook this dish! Thanks for sharing and regards :)

Fantástico pollo al romero este almuerzo jugoso me encanta,abrazos

Ade , I'm gonna try that mapo doufo first before this :D Looking at your photo , that shio koji chicken looks very tasty indeed ! I'll try to check out this seasoning at the Japanese supermarket near us tomorrow .

i hv never heard of shiokoji, thanks for posting this. Will keep an eye on this..since you said it's magic :D

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting, it would be great to hear from you too


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More