自己做鹽麴 / Shio Koji at Home

ingredients for shio koji

在日本風靡全國的鹽麴, 其實做法真的很簡單, 但麻煩的是找到好品質的米麴。米麴帶有活菌, 是製作醬油,味噌,日本甜酒及許多不同日常廚房佐料的酵母。

The greatly popular condiment in Japan, shio koji, is extremely simple to make, the hard part is to locate great quality koji. Koji is fermented rice, a live culture, and the base of soy sauce, miso, amazaki and many other everyday condiments.

brown rice koji from South River Miso

米麴有分普通白米麴或玄米麴。我去年在Whole Foods發現了在美國麻州利用古法製作味噌的South River Miso後, 就持續的購入他們的味噌。但後來發現原來還可以從他們的網站購買玄米麴, 我便馬上下了訂單。

Koji is usually made with white rice but it could also be made with brown rice. I discovered South River Miso last year at Whole Foods and found out that they follow the real traditional methods in making miso with superior quality ingredients. I have been a huge fan since. I then later found out that they also sell brown rice koji through their website so I placed an order right away to get some koji on hand.

1 oz. natural sea salt

在家裡煮食與外食最不同的地方便是每一道程序及每一個醬料你都能自己掌控。所有由口入胃的料理都會影響我們的生理及心理狀態。因此在家煮食時在食材上澆滿了加了味素及複雜化學成分的市售醬汁, 和外食其實是沒有差別的... 自己想辦法用簡單的醬油醋香料及薑蒜調出最合家人胃口的醬汁, 才是王道。因為理解這點, 我連鹽都堅持只用海鹽, 玫瑰鹽及灰鹽。

The difference in cooking at home and eating out is that you could decide what to do every step of the process and select all of the ingredients yourself. All bites that are going in our mouths could affect our physical and mental conditions. So if you cook at home and still doused the food with store bought MSG and chemical-filled sauces, it's pretty much the same as eating out... Figuring out how to make condiments and sauces that fit the palette of your family is really the way to go. Because I understand this, I insist on using only sea salt, himalayan salt or grey salt.

fermented for 7 days

找到了好品質的玄米麴和鹽, 鹽麴的做法就真的再簡單不過了。因為第一次試做所以我做了非常的少量, 但我家兩口子也用了超過一個半月了。找一個容器(我選擇用最衛生乾淨的玻璃罐)加入100克的玄米麴, 30克的鹽, 搓揉混合約5分鐘後加入100cc的溫水, 接下來就等它在常溫中發酵完成了(請看分解步驟)。蓋上容器蓋子時記得留一個小縫隙讓空氣能混合入內幫助鹽麴製造好菌。每天都要充分混合一次, 約7天到10天就會熟成, 我是在初春製作, 那時還有一點涼所以熟成花了8天。鹽麴熟成後就可放入冰箱冷藏保存。完成後鹽麴應該會融化開來米的形狀看不太見, 也會有很棒的穀香及少許酸酸的養樂多味道。因為我用的是玄米麴所以熟成後還是有點米粒的形狀, 檢討後發現下次製作前先研磨一下可能會讓鹽麴質地更細緻。

After acquiring the brown rice koji and salt, it's time to make some shio koji, and it couldn't be simpler. Because it was my first time so I made a very small batch, but the two of us have used it for over a month and a half. First decide where you'd like your shio koji to ferment and live, I picked a Weck glass jar because it's the most sanitary. Add to the container 3 oz. of brown rice koji and 1 oz. of salt, mix it together with your hands for 5 minutes, rub them together so they mix well and even break down a little. After 5 minutes, pour in 1/2 cup of luke warm water and that's it!(see clear instruction here) Keep the container in room temperature with a lid but leave a sliver of opening for air to go in the shio koji and help with the fermentation process. Mix the shio koji thoroughly once everyday until it's done fermenting. It takes about 7-10 days on the counter to be fermented depending on the temperature. I made it in early April and the weather was still a bit chilly so it took my shio koji 8 days to finish fermenting. Once it's done fermenting, you could close the container and move it into the fridge to keep. When the shio koji is done, the rice bran should have broken down a lot, to a point where the shape of rice grains is almost gone. And it's as if the grains dissolved a little, the shio koji would smell almost like yeast bread, yogurt and delicious. I used brown rice koji so even when it was done the grains can be seen quite well. I've searched for solutions and decided that in the next batch I should coarse grind the koji a bit before fermentation just so I could have a smoother consistency in the shio koji.

sweet spinach, mushroom, and ramps soba noodles

鹽麴是活的, 所以熟成後放入冰箱可以用非常的久, 但也請不要放個兩年都沒有用。怎麼用鹽麴呢? 平常煮菜你在哪裡用到鹽都可以用鹽麴代替。我發現鹽麴讓簡單的炒青菜都變的好甜, 也能在煮飯時加一茶匙入飯裡讓飯更香, 其他還有各種食譜例如麵包, 醃漬, 醬汁, 任何可能性都有。

Shio koji is a living condiment. After fermentation, it would last for a very long time in the fridge, but please don't make it and forget it in the fridge for 2 years. How do we use shio koji? Whenever you need to add salt to your dish, replace it with shio koji. I use it a lot in stir-fry because it makes the vegetables taste super sweet. Some people add a teaspoon to cooking rice to make the rice more flavorful. There are also tons of recipes such as adding it in bread, pickles and sauces. There are endless possibilities.

enoki, rainbow peppers, asparagus and ramps stir fry over rice.

我瘋著做鹽麴真正的理由其實很簡單, 我們人體的免疫力70%來自腸道健康。這也是為什麼近年來酵素及益生菌這麼的火紅, 但與其一直依靠藥粒, 其實在生活中就可以天天都加入天然的益生菌。它可以來自任何發酵的東西, 醋, 鹽麴, 泡菜, 天然優格等等的。這幾年在廚房玩出了強大的興趣, 我也認為能照顧好我家兩口的健康比工作上任何的表獎更來得優成就感, 畢竟健康才能做更多的事。寫著寫著發現鹽麴快用完了, 該是重新製作新的一罐啦!

The reason for me to rave about shio koji and decided to make it myself is really simple - 70% of our immunity comes from our intestinal health. That's the biggest reason why digestive enzymes and probiotics are this popular lately. But instead of relying on pills, we can add probiotics to our diet everyday. It could come from anything naturally fermented, such as vinegar, shio koji, pickles/kimchi, dairy or non-dairy yogurt, etc. I've been having so much fun in the kitchen the past few years, I just see it as my playground now. And I actually think being able to take care of our health is more satisfying than any awards on a job. Because staying healthy allow us to do more things and dream bigger. And yup, I just realized the shio koji is running low, time to make a new batch!