This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

Image caption appears here

Add your deal, information or promotional text

Koji: The backbone of Japanese cuisine

Shio Koji is a miracle ingredient, one that is often used in Japanese cooking on meat and fish to bring out amazing flavor. Before we launched SPIRIT Almond, when we were developing our flavors, we wanted to see what would happen if we used Koji on a plant protein, namely almonds.

We were surprised at just how well it worked, and we became the first brand to use Koji as the primary seasoning on almonds.
But what is Koji exactly?

Koji is a cooked grain (rice, soybeans, barley, etc) that has been fermented with a culture called Aspergillus oryzae (Koji-kin in Japanese), and whose origin and usage in Japan dates back over two thousand years.  Nearly all the primary flavor ingredients associated with Japanese cuisine – soy sauce, miso, sake, mirin, rice vinegar – all taste the way they do because of Koji.  So how does it work?

The magic of Koji lies in its fermentation capabilities. Through a natural enzymatic process, Koji converts starches and proteins into simpler sugars and amino acids. This process not only boosts the umami taste and unlocks aromas, but also introduces a complexity of flavors.

For everyday culinary use, Koji is available in the form of Shio Koji (also called Koji sauce) and can usually be found in the miso section of Japanese grocery stores. Koji sauce on its own has a taste that’s fairly unremarkable. And yet when used in cooking, it is nothing short of miraculous. Applying just a small amount and allowing it to marinate for as little as 20 minutes, transforms any protein into something wondrous, bringing out fantastic flavors hidden inside.  

SPIRIT Almond Koji Salt Almonds in Package
Apart from its culinary properties, Koji also offers reported health benefits.* It is rich in enzymes, vitamins, and probiotics, which can promote gut health and enhance the immune system function. The fermentation process has also been found to increase the bioavailability of nutrients.

For Japanese recipe ideas that use Shio Koji, Just One Cookbook, a leading authority on Japanese home cooking is a great place to start.

*Note: No health claim is being made with regard to SPIRIT Almond products or Koji itself.