Koji is the term for a grain or bean that has been inoculated with Aspergillus Oryzae, a special fungus that has been domesticated for about 9000 years.
White Rice Koji is made by steaming white rice and then allowing spores of Aspergillus Oryzae to germinate and multiply on it.
This process is carefully controlled to ensure conditions are perfect for koji growth, with both temperature and humidity monitored continually. The fungus then converts starch within the rice into a range of enzymes, which go on to create the delicious range of savoury/umami flavours within foods like miso and soy sauce.
Koji can be eaten raw, but is at it’s best when added to other ingredients to create an umami flavour in the food.
Koji does not contain any of the 14 allergens named by the UK food standards agency, and can be used to make allergen free alternatives of popular Japanese foods such as miso (e.g. using fava beans or green lentils), or soya sauce (using fava beans)
Yes, Koji just contains rice and a fungus and is completely vegan.
If you have any more questions about Koji, or how it is used, please leave a question in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer it.