When my friend Koji asked if Abe and I wanted to take a Koji Workshop at the Japanese American National Museum this morning, I was a little confused.


Turns out Koji was not talking about himself (although he HAS ran some writing ones). Koji is also the name of a microorganism that aids in digestion and not only adds flavor + umami, but tenderizes proteins – from chicken…


…to eggs!


We started off by making our own “Koji Salt” – this is a great alternative for those trying to cut down on their sodium intake. The batches we made you get in a package and add water to…

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…or you can buy the ready-made sauce and not have to wait 7-10 days for it to ferment.


Our teacher was Myoho Asari (aided/translated by master noodle-maker Sonoko Sakai) – she told us to taste the Koji salt by rubbing it on our hands, and licking it off (a la tequila shots)…


…there was a lot of food tasting happening!


Koji Blueberry Jam with Chobani


…Shio Koji Tamago…




…Koji Salmon Cakes…



…and Chicken ones too!



Whenever more flavor was needed, I just added Creamy Koji to taste, plus this Yuzu Pepper Sauce for kick.


We all took turns cooking…


…even Abe got into it!

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Our final samples were big cups of Shio Koji Chicken Vegetable Soup…



…Onigiri with Koji Sesame Furikake…


…and Koji Cabbage + Cucumber Pickles.


I can totally see why Koji is known as “the miracle condiment” – all these dishes were SUPER easy but tasted incredible. Sonoko said she uses this as her “cheat seasoning” – bringing complexity to the simplest ingredients. I’m pretty sure this must be what Umami Burger’s “secret ingredient” is because those fish/salmon cakes were just as tender/juicy/flavorful. I’ve posted the recipes (and more pictures) on The Actor’s Diet Facebook page.

Thanks Koji for introducing me to Koji!

  • http://www.cksmetalart.blogspot.com Cindy

    That looks like tasty fun!

  • Gail

    This is most intriguing. Let me know how it is preparing it.

  • sonya

    I need to find the prepared sauce in Atlanta!! Very intrigued!

  • http://gigieatscelebrities.com GiGi Eats Celebrities

    That Salmon cakes wants IN MY MOUTH! 😉

  • http://happyprettysweet.com Akaleistar

    Looks like a great workshop!

  • Toshi

    Any chance we can get some of the recipes for these dishes? =)

    • http://www.theactorsdiet.com Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet

      Yes – they’re all on my facebook page – just click the link in the blog post!

  • http://fatlossfactorsystemreview.com/ Cary

    It looks like a masterpiece! As been said koji is really a magical condiment that adds to the flavors of meat, fish and vegetables. It also lowers the overall salt content of any dish. The acids released by the action of the koji add flavor, depth and a number of health benefits, such as when used in cooking miso, it increase the level of iosflavones that are said to be effective in the prevention of cancer.