You are currently viewing Sake Ingredients: Beautiful Koji (Interview with Akemi Yokoyama)

Sake Ingredients: Beautiful Koji (Interview with Akemi Yokoyama)

Continuing the sake ingredients series (Water and Rice) we talk about koji, a magical ingredient of sake. A tiny microorganism that turns starch into sugar and makes it possible to make this beautiful drink. It’s a national benevolent mould of Japan, which appeared in the country more than a thousand years ago and responsible for a large part of Japanese cuisine.

And to talk about koji I invited Akemi Yokoyama, who is a chef, cookery teacher, specialising in Japanese cuisine and a koji specialist, who knows so much about this beautiful creature, which she compared to a baby sea lion in this incredible interview!

Don’t forget, Sugidama Podcast now has a sponsor, London Sake, an excellent online sake store. London Sake has one of the widest selections of premium and craft sake available online today. They deliver across the UK and Europe, and with over 100 sake from 25 breweries, there really is something for everyone.

Using simple online tasting notes and sensible, affordable food pairings they help you find the perfect sake without any of the fuss. Listeners of the podcast can get a 10% discount Listen to the episode to get the magical code! London Sake: making sake simple.

Episode’s Content:

  • Akemi Yokoyama: introduction and the sake connection
  • What is koji: history and the importance in Japanese cuisine
  • The role of koji in sake making: types of koji, how it used and how koji affects sake taste
  • What is amazake and how to make it
  • Koji and breadmaking
  • Why koji is so fascinating and where to learn more about it
  • Sake of the episode: Kuzuryu Daiginjo ‘Silk Dragon’

Sake mentioned:
Kuzuryu Daiginjo ‘Silk Dragon’
Kokuryu Sake Brewery
Natural Natural Online Store

Akemi Yokoyama

Books about koji
Koji for Life (Gohan website)
The Noma Guide to Fermentation (Amazon UK)
Koji Alchemy (Amazon UK)

Music used:
Wirklich Wichtig (CB 27) by Checkie Brown

Just Arround the World (Kielokaz ID 362) by KieLoKaz


Vocal: Svetlana


Alex is a London-based sake blogger, podcaster, IWC Sake judge and sake advocate. He is a publisher of the Sugidama Blog website and a host of the Sugidama Podcast. Alex has an International Kikisake-shi (Sake Specialist) qualification from SSI (Sake Service Institute). He sees his mission as expanding the awareness of Japanese sake among as many people as possible and helping the growing community of sake lovers to bring together beautiful Japanese sake and non-Japanese food as a way to build a better understanding between our cultures.

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