Dec 8, 2017

Cabbage Stir-Fry with Shio Koji (鹽麴高麗菜)

Talking about shio koji, one of the most popular ways to utilize this ingredient is making it into a marinade, usually for chicken, fish, or cucumber. This time, I'm going to use it in a cabbage stir-fry.

Cabbage stir-fry with shio koji -


  • 1 small cabbage
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 medium sized carrot
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons shio koji
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice cooking wine 米酒
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


Tear the cabbage into large bit size pieces. Peel and slice the carrot. Cut the shiitake mushrooms into thick slices, one mushroom can cut into 3 slices. Peel and slice the garlic cloves.

Drizzle some oil to a pan, add in garlic, salt, and black pepper. Turn to medium high heat and sear till the garlic turns slightly golden but not burnt. 

Turn to high heat and quickly add in the mushroom and carrot, cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer all the cabbage over and drizzle some Chinese rice cooking wine. It might pile up like a tiny mountain but will soon wilted down. Once wilted a little, add the shio koji and give it a quick stir. Taste and adjust with salt if needed.

Keep cooking till the cabbage reaches desired texture. Some like it crunchy and with a distinct wok hei when cooking with high power heat/fire. Sometimes I prefer my cabbage with a softer bite like the one shown in these images. 

Once heated, shio koji releases its aroma into the dish. So instead of the natural sweetness from the cabbage, you also get a mellow, deeper note of sweetness from the fermented rice, but only to an extent. It is still a savory dish after all, but one well-seasoned veggies stir-fry. 

Other recipes using shio koji:

Dec 2, 2017

Canned Tuna + Mayonnaise + Macaroni + Sugar + Chips!? You'll be Surprised

What!? Tuna and sugar together? 

That's probably my first reaction before trying this snack. My host family in Minnesota used to make this chips and tuna mayo dips. As odd as it sounds, this is actually a perfect example of sweet and savory combo. Years passed, I can't recall the exact amount used for each ingredient, but my taste memory guide me through the process.

Tuna mayo macaroni and chips -

Ingredients (makes about 1 cup)?

  • 150 grams/about 5.3 oz macaroni pasta
  • 100 grams/1 canned tuna
  • 5 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar
  • Some salted thick cut wavy chips
  • Some salted thick cup 


Salt a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni according to package instruction, but don't cook till al dente this time. Overcook the pasta a couple more minutes. The macaroni should be on the softer side but still with a slightly chewy texture. When ready, drain well and transfer to a big mixing container.

Open the can and drain out the liquid from the tuna, add to the mixing container. Also add some mayonnaise, sugar, and a tiny pinch of salt.

Mix well. Take a breadth and taste it, you'll be amazed that canned tuna works so well with creamy mayo and sugar. Adjust the flavors. If the mixture doesn't seem salty enough, instead of using more salt, maybe try to open up second canned tuna and add to the mixture. Do keep in mind that the chips are salty too.

Serve with thick cut chips on the side. Use the chips to scoop out the macaroni dips, enjoy this unexpected sweet and savory snack.

Nostalgic indeed. This tuna mayo chips definitely is a walk down memory lane for me. Don't be shy on the sugar, sweeter taste can further help enhancing the savory note from the tuna. Plus a stronger tasting dip is always welcomed when serving with chips right?

Other recipe using canned tuna: