Hishio is said to be a seasoning that developed in Japan from "kubishio," which was introduced from China with the arrival of Buddhism, and eventually became the prototype for today's miso and soy sauce. Hishio is made by fermenting roasted barley, soybeans, and other grains with malted rice and salt, and allowing them to mature. Hishio is mentioned in this poem titled "Poem about Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Hiru, Sea Bream, and Water Onion."

“醤酢(ひしほす)に 蒜搗(ひるつ)き合(あ)てて鯛願ふ 我れにな見えそ 水葱(なぎ)の羹(あつもの)”

(Manyoshu, Vol. 16, No. 3829, poem by Nagano-Imiki Okimaro)

醤酢 (hishihosu) is a high-grade seasoning of the time, a combination of hishio and vinegar. Vinegar was priced three times the price of rice at the time. 蒜 (hiru) is a wild herb like nobile or garlic with a strong aroma. 水葱 (mizunagi) is a water hyacinth that grows near water, and until the Edo period, it was used as an inexpensive vegetable. And 羹 (atsumono) means hot soup. In other words, the general meaning of this poem was something like, "I want to eat sea bream in a mixture of hishio and vinegar with garlic as a condiment, but don't show me a soup of mizunagi. It is considered a rare song that conveys the dietary habits and preferences of the people of the time.

Today, hishio is made by fermenting soybean koji and barley koji in soy sauce. Using hishio as a seasoning in one's daily diet allows one to incorporate enzymes, lactic acid bacteria, and yeast. It contains abundant B vitamins, dietary fiber, and enzymes, and is believed to promote blood circulation, increase metabolism, and aid digestion and absorption. It has a very wide range of uses, as it can be eaten as is over vegetables or cold tofu, as an accompaniment to white rice, as a dressing or dipping sauce, or as a seasoning in place of soy sauce.

This time, we prepared hishio using Ichiyougama's Food Container L. The porous nature of Bizen ware makes it an easy home for lactic acid bacteria and yeast, and the slow change in temperature makes it an ideal material for promoting fermentation.

165g hishio koji
180ml soy sauce
90ml water
5cm square kelp

1. Sterilize a storage container with alcohol.
2. Put the ingredients into the container and mix well.
3. Ferment at room temperature for about 2 weeks after preparation, mixing once a day.
4. When the koji grains become soft, it is ready. When fermentation has progressed to a certain degree, store in a refrigerator.

The temperature between 20 and 35 degrees Celsius is suitable for fermentation, so I fermented it in a heated room instead of a cold kitchen during the winter season. the water content was noticeable on the first day, but on the second day, the koji absorbed the seasoning and the water content seemed to have decreased dramatically. By stirring thoroughly from the bottom, the seasoning is spread throughout the koji and fermentation becomes more uniform. From the third day, the aroma of soy sauce gradually became more rounded, and as the days went by, the sweetness in the aroma became more noticeable.

Ichiyougama's Food Container L

http://www.meitoumiso.com/recipe_hishio.html (recipe)