Chinese Cabbage and Salmon Marinated in Shio-koji

Shio-koji is a traditional Japanese spice made with fermented malt and salt mixed in water. Can be used as an alternative to salt and brings out the umami in vegetables and fish.

Chinese Cabbage and Salmon Marinated in Shio-koji
Photographed by Shin Ebisu

Recipe by
Setsuko Sugimoto






Calorie count is for full recipe
Excludes time spent drying the Chinese cabbage and resting in the refrigerator.


  • 350 g Chinese cabbage (cut into quarters, with the core still attached)
  • 7-8 slices smoked salmon (80 g)
  • 50 g carrot
  • [A]

    • 4 tbsp shio-koji
    • 2 1/2 tbsp mirin
  • Salt



Spread out the Chinese cabbage on a flat strainer, with the core still attached, and place somewhere with good ventilation for 1-2 days to dry. Ready to use when the entirety of the Chinese cabbage has become tender.


Using a mandolin slicer, thinly slice the carrot into pieces 3 to 4cm long and 1mm thick. Place the carrot slices into saltwater made by mixing 2 tbsp of water with 1/3 tsp of salt; strain once the carrot becomes tender. Mix together the ingredients for [A].


Place the Chinese cabbage with the core up, and spread [A] between the leaves, then add the carrot slices in a single layer and place 1-2 slices of salmon on top of the carrot. Continue with this between the other leaves until the spaces between all leaves have been filled.


Place the stuffed Chinese cabbage into a plastic bag and press out any air, and fold over the opening of the bag. Wrap rubber bands around the bag in 3-4 places to hold it shut. Place the bag in a metal tray or other container and let rest in the refrigerator for 1 day, occasionally turning over.


You can keep the stuffed Chinese cabbage in the refrigerator like this for up to 3 days.


Remove from the bag and cut into easy-to-eat pieces, and serve.


Tips for Storage:
* Semi-dried Chinese Cabbage
Spread out the leaves of Chinese cabbage on a strainer and place it somewhere with good ventilation for 1-2 days to dry. This not only reduces its bulk, but removes moisture to concentrate its sweetness and make it keep more effectively. Can keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator after drying. Good for soaking up flavors like in this recipe, as well as in stir-fries and simmered dishes.