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Shio Koji Chicken 塩麹チキン

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    With Shio Koji, a natural seasoning used in Japanese cooking, you can make EASY & DELICIOUS Shio Koji Chicken in no time with just 4 ingredients!

    Shio Koji Chicken on a oval plate.

    Sometimes a simple ingredient or condiment is all it takes to lend a magical touch on a dish. Garlic, ginger, miso, yuzu kosho, and sriracha are just some fantastic examples. And if you haven’t heard of Shio Koji, allow me to introduce this seasoning to you today. I’ve pulled off an incredibly amazing Shio Koji Chicken (塩麹チキン) that takes only 4 ingredients to make.

    All thanks to Shio Koji, I get an umami-packed delicious chicken on the table with minimal effort. It is that WOW! You will want to have it in your pantry at all time too.

    What is Shio Koji?

    Shio Koji  (塩麹, 塩糀) is a natural seasoning that we use to marinate, tenderize, and enhance the umami in foods. It’s made of just a few simple ingredients: salt, water, and rice koji.

    Kome Koji (Rice Koji) in a plastic bag.

    One of Shio Koji’s ingredient, rice koji, or Kome Koji (米こうじ, 米糀, 米麹) in Japanese, is steamed rice that has been treated with koji mold spores (Aspergillus oryzae, koji-kin 麹菌, or koji starter).

    Koji – Mold that You’ve Eaten Before

    Koji is a specific strain of mold that has been cultured over the centuries. You may feel hesitant reading all about mold and wonder why we make rice moldy on purpose. But guess what, you have most likely eaten it already!

    Koji has been the key ingredient to make misosoy saucesakemirinrice vinegar, amazake, shochu, and today’s star, shio koji.

    Why do we use koji in cooking? Because it’s a live food that is rich in enzymes. And we need enzymes to break down starches and proteins in food into sugars and amino acids. This process makes the food naturally sweet, aromatic, and rich in umami.

    Health Benefits of Shio Koji:

    Because it is a fermented ingredient, shio koji is known for its many health benefits, which includes (source):

    • A natural pro-biotic seasoning
    • Tenderizes food
    • Brings out the umami and sweetness in foods
    • Reduces the intake of salt
    • Aids for digestion
    • Clear the skin
    • Anti-aging
    • Contains minerals, fiber, and vitamins

    How to Use Shio Koji

    You can use shio koji to marinate your meats and vegetables, make pickles, or use it as a salt substitute. Shio koji is REALLY versatile and I’ve used it to make some delicious recipes on Just One Cookbook.

    If you’re not sure, start using shio koji to replace salt. In a recipe that calls for one teaspoon of salt, you can substitute with 2 teaspoons of Shio Koji. You will not only get the “salt” effect but also experience the “umami bomb” effect!

    Shio Koji Chicken on a oval plate.

    Get a Bottle of Shio Koji and Start Cooking!

    After sharing several recipes that require rice koji, I learned from readers that it’s actually a lot easier to get Shio Koji from Hikari Miso®. It’s available in Japanese grocery stores and Amazon as well as a big Korean grocery chain, H-Mart. Unlike Japanese grocery stores, this Korean grocery chain has many locations throughout North America. You may find it on the shelf or refrigerated section of the store.

    Hikari Miso Shio Koji | Easy Japanese Recipes at

    When you open the bottle, you will immediately notice the sweet smell that reminds you of sake. With the help of all-natural koji, you will notice the significant flavor boost in your daily cooking!

    Craving for More Shio Koji Recipes?

    Shio Koji Chicken on a oval plate.

    Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.

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    4.34 from 9 votes
    Shio Koji Chicken on a oval plate.
    Shio Koji Chicken
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    25 mins
    Marinating Time
    30 mins

    With Shio Koji, a natural seasoning used in Japanese cooking, you can make EASY & DELICIOUS Shio Koji Chicken in no time with just 4 ingredients!

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Japanese
    Keyword: chicken, shio koji
    Servings: 8 chicken thighs
    Author: Namiko Chen
    • 8 pieces skin-on chicken thighs without bone (See Notes for where I get them)
    • 1 cup shio koji (240 ml)
    • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
    • freshly ground black pepper
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Shio Koji Chicken Ingredients
    2. Combine shio koji and soy sauce in a bowl or measuring cup.

      Shio Koji Chicken 1
    3. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with freshly ground black pepper.

      Shio Koji Chicken 2
    4. Pour the shio koji mixture and coat the chicken well on both sides. Cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (minimum) to 3 hours.

      Shio Koji Chicken 3
    5. Remove the shio koji as much as possible and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

      Shio Koji Chicken 4
    6. If your oven doesn't come with the temperature probe, you can use a ThermoWorks Chef Alarm. Insert the stem of the probe into the thickest part of the chicken, or in the center of the chicken if it is even in thickness.

      Shio Koji Chicken 5
    7. Bake at 350 ºF (180 ºC) until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches to 165 ºF (74 ºC), roughly 25 minutes.

      Shio Koji Chicken 6
    8. When the internal temperature is close to 165 ºF (74 ºC), change the oven setting from Bake to Broil. Broil the chicken until the skin has nice char, about 3-5 minutes (depends on how far the chicken is from the heat source). Remove from the oven.

      Shio Koji Chicken 7
    9. Cut the chicken thigh into 4 pieces (if you eat with chopsticks) and serve immediately.

      Shio Koji Chicken 8
    Recipe Notes

    Boneless, skin-on thighs: We can get this type of chicken very easily in Japan (or Japanese grocery stores in your country) as we need them for Karaage and other recipes. However, here in the US, you can only find boneless skinless thighs or bone-in skin-on thighs. What I do is to buy bone-in, skin-on thighs and ask the butcher to remove bones. You save time on removing bones yourself and they may ask you if you want to keep the bones to make soup stock etc. 


    Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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