2023 Great Taste Awards

Shio koji and miso winning great taste awards

Umami Chef is excited to announce that both the products it entered into the 2023 Great Taste Awards won stars.

The foods are judged by experts (without packaging or marketing) and rated purely on taste.

Sweet White Fava Miso

Great Taste 2 Star Winning Miso

The sweet white fava miso won 2 stars, with judges describing it is as:

 inventive, clever and utterly delicious

On tasting, it blew our minds! Those umami flavours danced around our palates. 

Filtered Shio Koji

The filtered shio koji won 1 star, with judges saying:

 an exciting condiment to have in the kitchen

We enjoyed the natural sweetness and the umami created through fermentation.


Shio Koji Cured Leek Nori Flower

Shio Koji Cured Leek Flower

This beautiful Shio Koji Cured Leek Nori Flower was created by Martin from Fdx Agro.

It takes some time to prepare, but is worth the effort in terms of taste and beauty!

Shio Koji Cured Leek Nori Flower

A beautiful and delicious flower created from marinated leeks, wrapped in nori sheets.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Dry1 day
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Fusion, Japanese
Keyword: leek


  • 9 small leeks
  • 200 ml Umami Chef filtered shio koji
  • 500 ml dashi or use a stock made from miso
  • Nori sheets
  • agar or gelatine


  • Clean 9 small leeks, remove outer leaves and cut to the same length
  • Cover with filtered shio koji and leave in the fridge to marinate for 6 hours
    Marinade leeks in shio koji
  • Take the leeks out of the shio koji and poach slowly in dashi
  • Remove, drain and put in the fridge for 12 hours to dry
  • Remove from fridge, take off outer leaf and roll tightly with quarter cut of a nori roll, sprinkled with water if required to roll easier.
  • Close Nori with a wetted finger
  • Place on kitchen paper top and bottom ensuring they do not touch one another
  • Place in fridge for 12 hours to dry
  • Assemble rolls into a circle and wrap tightly with 2 layers of halved sheet of nori
  • Wrap with with greaseproof paper tied with butcher string, being careful not to damage the roll
  • Place bundle into a mould with a little free space around (little mug for example)
  • Thicken the dashi/miso with gelatin/agar flakes
  • Pour warm onto ends of leeks in the bundle until outside free space fills up
  • Chill until set
  • Trim the ends and cut into 4 pieces
    Shio Koji Cured Leek Flower
  • Serve with a sprinkle of togarishi and a splash of lemon juice

Chocozake – Vegan Chocolate Cremeux

Cremeux is a luxurious dessert which is similar to a mousse, but creamier and less aerated. It is traditionally made with eggs  and cream. Using amazake, a fermented drink made from rice koji, makes this dessert vegan. 

For this recipe we recommend using Firetree Chocolate, especially their Solomon Islands edition, as it’s flavour profile is perfectly matched with the amazake.


Chocozake - Vegan Chocolate Cremeux

A vegan version of this classic French creamy dessert, created by Welsh chef, Grady Atikins
Prep Time30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: amazake, chocolate, cremeux
Servings: 4


  • 110 g sweet amazake See note below for instructions on how to make this
  • 50 g Firetree Solomon Islands Guadalcanal 69% chocolate
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt


  • Melt the chocolate, oil and salt in the microwave on low till melted. Keep the temperature of the chocolate below 45 degrees so as not to ruin the temper.
  • Blend the amazake until very smooth then pour in to the chocolate mix whilst whisking vigorously.
  • When the mix is shiny and emulsified put it in the fridge till set.
  • The result will be a thick mousse like consistency perfect for shaping.


How to make sweet amazake
200g white rice koji. 
100g cooked white glutinous rice-allowed to cool.
500ml boiled then cooled water ( or bottled spring water).
Mix all the ingredients together
Ferment at 60 C in a yoghurt maker or 58C in a dehydrator for 10 hours. If using a dehydrator place ingredients in a mason jar left open or a vacuum bag unsealed for air.
Then ferment at room temperature for a further 40 hours, before blending until very smooth. Store sealed in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Mirin Recipe


Mirin is a sweet wine used in Japanese cookery. In the UK we’re most familiar with its use in teriyaki sauce, but it is used in a wide range of other Japanese dishes.

Traditionally mirin is made from shochu, a Japanese spirit usually made from sweet potato. Shochu is difficult (and expensive) to get hold of  in the UK, so I’ve used vodka.

It’s really easy to make – just mix koji, cooked rice, and a neutral tasting spirit. Then leave at room temperature for 2 – 3 months. I mixed 300ml vodka, 100g koji and 100g of cooled, cooked rice. 

After 3 months the mirin develops a rich golden colour. At this stage you can strain off the solids or leave it to mature further. I like to leave the solids in the liquid, carefully pouring off the amount I’d like to use for each recipe. This means I get the best of both worlds – the ability to use it now and for it to mature further with time.

Much of the mirin available in the UK is made from sweetners and not produced in the traditional way. By creating your own mirin you get to experience a product that is naturally fermented and rich in nutrients.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Vodka Mirin

Mirin is a sweet wine used in Japanese cookery. It is easy to make and much tastier than commercially available products which are no longer produced in the traditional way.
Prep Time10 minutes
Fermentation Time90 days
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Koji, mirin, rice wine


  • 300 ml vodka
  • 100 g koji
  • 100 g cooked rice cooled


  • Mix the ingredients in a clean bottle
  • Leave to mature for 3 months
  • Strain off the solids and enjoy the mirin in teriyaki or your favourite Japanese dish