Basic Shio Koji Recipe

A common secondary ferment of koji, this umami-rich sauce will quickly become the secret ingredient in your cooking.

Flickr/305 Seahill

Shio is an umami-rich sauce similar to soy sauce. Unlike soy sauce, though, it doesn’t impart its own flavor, but instead amplifies the existing flavor notes of a dish.

Yield: 1 quart.

Fermentation Time

Fermentation Type: Lactic
Primary Fermentation: 7 to 10 days
Total Time: 7 to 10 days
Shelf Life: 6 months


  • 14 ounces koji kin (grain or other substrate with koji growing on it)
  • 4 ounces sea salt
  • 2-1/2 cups nonchlorinated water


  1. Add all the ingredients to a quart glass jar, and mix until combined. Cover the jar with a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth, and secure with a rubber band. Label the jar, and let it sit at room temperature. Stir the shio daily for 7 to 10 days. Once the shio is ready, store in the refrigerator between uses.

Meredith Leigh and Kirsten K. Shockey are fermentation fanatics. Their expertise spans fermented fruits, beans, vegetables, and meats. They’ve teamed up to spread the gospel funk and the magic of koji whenever possible. Kirsten’s books include Miso, Tempeh, Natto, and Other Tasty Ferments. Meredith is the author of The Ethical Meat Handbook.



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