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Category Archives: Japanese Natural Flavor enhancer: Shio-koji

Osechi-Ryori Completed!

osechi

After much preparation we finally finished making all of the dishes that we wanted to have in our osechi-ryori.

This year we made kobumaki (carrot, fried tofu, and burdock root wrapped in kelp), kuromame (black soybeans simmered in a sweet and savory sauce made from soy sauce and sugar), shio-koji Tai (red snapper marinated in shio-koji), dattemake (a sweet Japanese rolled omelet made with fish cake and egg), chikuzen-ni (assorted vegetables braised in a sweet and savory stock), namasu (shredded daikon and carrot in a sweet and sour vinegar sauce), tataki gobo (burdock root with sesame sauce), o-zoni (a soup made with stock taken from bonito and kelp) and kuri-kinton (sweet potato and chestnut dessert).

Over the next few days I will be sharing the recipes for these tasty dishes!

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Where to buy Ready-Made Shio-koji

Shio-koji can be used to naturally enhance flavors in food and it is very simple to use in cooking.  Its health benefits include aiding in digestion and replenishing good bacteria in the intestines.  Shio-koji is also very simple to make at home.  The brand Cold Mountain, which also sells products like miso, is probably the most common brand of Koji found in the United States.  Once you have gotten your hands on koji the rest is easy, all you need now is water and salt!  The only thing is that although shio-koji is very easy to make, it does need time.  It requires about 10 days depending on room temperature.  So when you don’t have time to wait, your other option is to buy ready-made shio-koji.

I thought that ready-made shio-koji could only be found in Japan but just recently I saw a few different brands being sold at Sunrise Supermarket in the East Village.  Cold Mountain is one of the brands that sells a ready-made shio-koji “sauce” and there were some other Japanese brands of ready-made shio-koji as well.  I was surprised by how easy it is getting to find shio-koji in New York now.  I also noticed that many restaurants are starting to incorporate it in their menu as well.

Sunrise Supermarket is located on 4 Stuyvesant street in the East Village ( they also have several other locations in the city).


Shio-koji Vegetable Recipes

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Here are two different recipes that are healthy and super easy to make. I used shio-koji instead of salt as well. Shio-koji is very easy to make and a lot healthier than regular salt.

Shio-Koji Israeli Salad

1 cucumber peeled and diced
1 diced tomato
1 scallion chopped
1 tbsp of chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp shio-koji

1. Chop all vegetables into bite sized cubes.
2. Chop dill and scallions
3. Transfer to container and add olive oil, shio-koji and lemon juice
4. Close container and shake to mix ingredients

 

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Shio-Koji Roast Vegetables

1 cup of brussel sprouts, halved
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms ( your choice)
1/2 sliced red onion
1 tbsp fresh dill
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp shio- koji
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Cut all vegetables into similar sized pieces
2. Put the vegetables in an oven pan and put shio-koji on top.
3. Drizzle olive oil on top
4. Sprinkle with dill
5. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are cooked.


Nabe in Winter time-Japanese Hotpot

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Yesterday we made Nabe (a Japanese-style hotpot). It’s great for those cold Winter days or when you’re feeling like you might be getting sick.

We made a chicken based nabe with a broth made from jidori chicken, konbu, sake, bonito flakes and water.

Then we added a bunch of vegetables and thin sliced pork and sliced chicken.

I made two kinds of sauces: citrus-soy sauce and a creamy sesame sauce.

Here are the recipes:

citrus soy sauce

1/2 squeezed lemon lemon

1 cup of nabe broth

1 cup of soy sauce

1 tbsp of rice vinegar

creamy sesame sauce

3 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp white miso

1 tsp shio-koji (optional)

1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 cup of nabe broth


Japanese Food and Restaurant Expo at the Metropolitan Pavilion

This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the Japanese Food and Restaurant Expo (JFRE) at the Metropolitan Pavilion as a translator for demonstrations by Natsuko Yamawaki of Hakkoan and Junya Miura of Yopparai.

Natsuko Yamawaki of Hakkoan showed everyone how to make shio-koji, an all-natural healthy seasoning and flavor enhancer that is becoming increasingly popular in Japan.  Natsuko-san also showed the audience how to use shio-koji along with seasonal ingredients to create a delicious baked salmon and mushroom dish.


The audience looked very surprised by how much flavor and umami the shio-koji added to the dish.  You can check out there facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/Hakkoan


 

Chef Junya Miura from Yopparai restaurant shared his knowledge of the origins of oden as well as techniques and tricks on how to make delicious oden.

He showed the audience how to cut daikon using a knife technique known as “mentori” or rounding the edges.  He also showed the audience how to score the konnyaku in order to allow the flavor of the soup to soak in properly.  Many people who viewed the demonstration expressed that they had made oden before but did not know the proper techniques that Chef Miura demonstrated.  Many people were also not familiar with the amount of time that it takes to simmer oden to get good results (at least 2 days!)

I also had the opportunity to visit Yopparai Restaurant before the Restaurant Show.

Yopparai opened about a half year ago and is located on the Lower East Side in Manhattan.

The oden was really good and the place had a wonderful atmosphere.

Check it out if you get a chance or are in the area! Website: http://yopparainyc.com/home.html


Kiyomi-san and Natsuko-san’s Coco Cafe

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I attended Kiyomi-san and Natsuko-san’s one day Macrobiotic cafe last Friday. I loved the way the room was set up with bright colors and items reminiscent of a tropical place.  My favorite dish was the shio-koji ramen and of course the amazake dessert!  The amazake was served frozen so it tasted like a sorbet.  It was really delicious!


Shio-koji Steamed Salmon Recipe

Over the weekend we bought some fresh salmon at Whole Foods and decided to marinate it in shio-koji

 

Ingredients:

salmon

red onions

broccoli raab

Shio-koji

What you’ll need:

A steamer (we used a bamboo steamer)

Parchment paper

step 1 Massage the salmon with shio-koji and leave to marinate for up to one day

step 2 Cut and wash vegetables (not too thin or small because they will cook too much)

step 3 Layer ingredients on parchment paper, we put the broccoli raab on the bottom, then salmon, then onions on top.

step 4 wrap up the ingredients making a pouch

step 5 Put into steamer, and that’s it!  When the salmon is cooked all the way, take it out and enjoy!  The liquid on the bottom is the best part!


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