The 10 Best Salted Rice Malt (Shio Koji) Substitutes

What Is Salted Rice Malt (Shio Koji)?

Salted rice malt (shio koji) is white and thick seasoning made by fermenting salt, koji and water for about a week. You can taste the great combination of the sweetness of koji and the spiciness of salt.

It can be used as a seasoning when making karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken), used as a dressing for salad, used to adjust the taste of soups, etc. It is used in a wide range of applications regardless of the ingredients and cooking method.

Using salted koji actually has the effect of softening meat, bringing out the flavor of the material, and has the salt-reducing effect.

Please check this page for details of Salted Rice Malt.
What Is Salted Rice Malt (Shio Koji) and How Is It Used?

Good Substitute for Salted Rice Malt (Shio Koji)

When you need salted rice malt in the recipe, sometimes you don’t have it at home, right? Or, it may be difficult to obtain it overseas except in Japan.

So, I would like to introduce the 10 best salted rice malt (shio koji) substitutes here.

1. Yogurt

When salted rice malt is used to soften meat, you can substitute yogurt for it.

Enzymes produced by lactic acid bacteria contained in yogurt has the effect of softening the meat.

Moreover, you can add water retention to ingredients such as meat by using yogurt that is acidic.

2. Cola

Cola containing carbonic acid can be also good substitute for salted rice malt.

Because it has sweetness, please add salty seasoning to adjust the taste as you like.

3. Beer

Beer has the effect of softening meat, so it can be used as a substitute for preparation.

Since the beer itself has no sweetness or saltiness, seasoning needs to be done well.

It may be a good substitute for recipes that do not require sweetness.

The enzyme contained in beer works to bring out the umami taste by using unheated beer.

4. Onion

You can use minced onion or grated onion as a good substitute for salted rice malt.

Because onions are vegetables with a strong smell, it is probably suitable for dishes that are stewed for a long time.

Depending on the recipe, it may be better to use other substitutes.

5. Pineapple

Pineapple contains a lot of enzymes that break down proteins contained in meat.

By soaking the meat in finely chopped pineapple, it can be used as a substitute for preparation.

6. Salt

Salt which is a part of the raw material of salted rice malt can be of course substitute.

When using salt as a substitute, please add half the amount of salted rice malt in the recipe.

Although the saltiness can be reproduced with the regular salt, it is not possible to bring out the sweetness, flavor, mellowness, etc. that can be obtained from koji.

7. Miso Paste

Just like salted rice malt, miso paste, the popular fermented food in Japan is also containing koji. Therefore, it can be used as a substitute without any problem.

The great part about miso paste is it has already saltiness, richness, and umami taste. So, it can upgrade the taste of the dish very well.

You may want to add some sweet seasoning as you like.

Please check this page for details of Miso Paste.
[Ultimate Guide] Different Types of Miso

8. Amazake

Amazake is made from either koji rice + rice or sake lees. Both are very good material for tenderizing meat.

However, it is characterized by a very strong sweetness. I think adding salty seasonings will improve the balance of taste.

Please check this page for details of Amazake.
What Is Amazake and What Is It Good for?

9. Baking Soda

Baking soda breaks down the protein in the meat and softens it.

It’s recommended for preparing meat dishes, for instance, steak, tonkatsu, and pork kakuni.

Since it has a bitter taste, please be careful about the amount used. If you are concerned, wash it off or wipe it off before cooking.

How to use baking soda to soften the meat
1. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 250ml of water. (It must be well dissolved.)
2. Put meat in (1), and soak it for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Wipe off the water with paper towel and use it for cooking.

10. Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake mushrooms also has enzymes that can soften the meat.

Although it has a little unique smell, it can be not only the material to soften the meat but also great material for garnish or steak sauce ingredient actually.

Maitake mushrooms has light and simple taste, so you can enjoy the meat with your favorite seasoning.


If you are looking for the replacement for salted rice malt (shio koji), please try to use these 10 material.

The main role of them is softening the meat, but they also give great flavor and umami taste to the dish.

Enjoy making your favorite taste with these great substitutes!

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