December 18, 2012

MOTOism: Move Over Shio Koji, Here Comes Shio Yogurt

by Moto

Trends in Japan changes as often as Taylor Swift changes boyfriends. It’s like, wasn’t she dating the Kennedy kid and even bought a house across from his in order to be close to him? Next minute, she is shacking up with one of the bad boys from One Direction. And she publicly stated, “I don’t understand relationships.”  I am sorry, this is a food blog, but once I start my Taylor Swift bitching, I can’t stop. She is a slut with big teeth and an ugly face and sings stupid songs about broken hearts, etc., etc…

Let me get back to the story here. Like Taylor, Japan’s trends change very often. Every year, there’s a sweets that sweeps the country. One year, it’s the Belgian waffle, the next year it’s donuts, the next it’s tiramisu. No wonder their Prime Ministers change so often. Is Japan filled with ADHD or something? Or are we all so unsatisfied with one thing and need to find something better, and when you think you find better, you need something better-er?  I call it the Taylor Swift Syndrome. There must be something better!!! Shit, I need to stop bitching about Taylor.

It’s only been a few months since I wrote about shio koji (salt koji) — it was super popular since it tenderize meats so amazingly that any cheap cut becomes a luxurious meal.  I’ve used salt koji for a variety of items and the other day, I was looking at some trend-watching website, and they were talking about shio yogurt (salt yogurt) as the next big thing. WTF!  According to these websites, salt yogurt is a lot more economical compared to salt koji, and adding salt to yogurt as a food marinade has been used in Middle Eastern cooking for a long time anyways.

Apparently, salted yogurt has the same or even better function than salt koji as a tenderizer. On top of that, salt koji tends to leave the distinct koji flavor, which becomes distinct once the food gets cold, but it doesn’t come out in the salt yogurt. Plus, I don’t need to ask friends in Japan to send me koji — the yogurt selection here is far better anyways. Furthermore, you don’t have to wait for 10 days to mature like salt koji. It’s ready as soon as you mix yogurt with salt. How brilliant!

You just mix yogurt with salt (some say 100 gram of yogurt with 1tsp, others say 1/4 tsp, so I used something in between). The yogurt turned out mildy salty, kind of gross. I used fat-free green yogurt. It’s the lactic acid in yogurt that activates better with salt which tenderizes meat, not the fat in yogurt, so fat-free is perfect.

And marinate your meat. I used skin on chicken breast. If you want to test the tenderizing effect, using chicken breast is the best way since we all know how dry they get.

I marinated them for half a day. Since I was making teriyaki chicken, I wiped off the yogurt with a paper towel. I was concerned that the teriyaki flavor mixed with the yogurt may be a bit weird.

Then I pan fried them. By the way, my teriyaki sauce is equal parts sake, soy sauce, mirin and honey.

Of course I realized I forgot to take pictures when we were almost done eating… It was definitely moist and tender, plus no yogurt (sour) flavor either. The interesting part about salt yogurt is you can use any “salt”.  You can use soy sauce, you can use miso, you can use fish sauce — just as long as it contains lots of salt, it will activate the lactic acid.

Try this. Especially if you cook chicken breast, this is the way to go.

One Comment

  • Kayoko
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I’m totally gonna try this, and will report back!!!

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