I would like to talk about the power of Koji fermented Japanese foods today!
Hope you are eating well and happy.
Today, I would like to talk about koji which is one of the secrets to Japanese longevity and good health.
Koji has been the secret to Japanese delicious fermented foods such as miso, seasonings including soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar and drinks such as sake and amaze. I am sure you know them, right? There are two meaning to koji. First one is koji fungus itself called Aspergillus oryzae. It is sometimes also called koji-kin or koji- starter.
However Koji is often referred when the koji-starter is fermented within steamed grains or legumes such as rice, barely or soybeans. Rice koji which is koji mixed with rice is the popular and is easily accessible in any large Asian grocery store and online!
Let me tell you the power of koji!!! You will be blown away how fabulous the koji is!
First, I would like to talk about how nutritious the koji fermented foods are!
Once rice is combined with koji and fermented, about 400 compounds that are not in rice are produced. This includes about 100 types of enzymes such as amylase, protease and lipase that help with the digestive and metabolic process in our bodies.
About 300 compounds are glucose, B vitamins (B1, B2, B6), minerals, pantothenic acid, folic acid, oligosaccharide, which is prebiotic and all essential amino acids and wide range of non-essential amino acid including cysteine, arginine, glutamine and so on.
Secondly, probiotic in Koji fermented foods are strong!
Probotics in koji is strong and live through gastric juice and heat. It has a higher heat resistance than animal-probotics such as most yogurts, meaning you will not lose living probiotics when cooking. But also probiotic that have been killed by heat are also beneficial for a healthy gut. These probiotics are able to restore and flourish the good bacteria, aids in digestion and assimilation of nutrients for a healthy and happy gut.
Lastly Fermented foods are fabulous for a healthy gut!
The fermentation process makes the food pre-digested, making it easier for the body to absorb and digest the wonderful nutrient of koji. So imagine how much all the good stuff the body is getting??
Also the Japanese diet is balanced keeping in mind of koji. Koji-fermented food is typically eaten with prebiotics- the food for good bacteria, because when probiotics and prebiotics work together in a synergistic way, it is much more efficient in promoting the probiotics benefit. Also because koji lacks in vitamin A and C, foods like miso soup is eaten with veggies and seaweed to make up for it.
So isn’t koji-fermented food that amazing? It’s no wonder how my grandparents live so long just eating rice, miso soup and bit of pickles. Japanese meals are very simple and healthy.
Ok, then how can we take koji on a daily basis?
Well, it is much easier you think!
One way is: you can add miso paste into your sauce or dressing or have miso soup. But make sure you use unpasteurised miso and made by the traditional way for best results. Most miso in the market are dead and miso soup in restaurants use dead miso and has MSG. It’s best that you make your own miso, which tastes just so much better and amazing!!!
Another way is to make a salty koji sauce. You can either make it by mixing salt, water and rice koji or simply mixing soy sauce and koji.
And for those people with a sweet tooth, you can have it as amazake which is only made of rice and koji. It’s known to be the Japanese yogurt! It can be drank on its own or as a natural sweetener in smoothies, or with fruits. Similar to how IV drips gives energy straight away, amazake gives energy quickly because it’s easily absorbed by the body. So it’s prefect for when you are on the run, or sick. And fun fact: It was the healthy red bull for samurais back in the day!
I’d explain the power of Koji in detail in the video below, so make sure you check it out!
Hope the post today would inspire you to start having koji fermented foods and drink!
Thank you for watching and Happy healthy cooking!
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