Soy and rice are the most frequent substrates for Asian fermented foods.Wheat flour is also often included as an ingredient in many of these prod-ucts.With few exceptions, however, there is a common starting material—koji—that is essential for most Asian fermented foods. As will be described in more detail below, koji is simply a moldy mass of grain, and is derived from the Chinese word meaning "moldy grain." In some cases, the koji mold is added to a portion of the raw material which is later added to the remaining substrate (analogous, in a way, to a bulk culture or bread sponge). In other applications, the koji mold is added to the entire raw material. Koji is used not only for production of the many soy sauce-type products that will be described later, but also for sake and related rice wines. Because of the important role koji plays in so many of the products that will described, its manufacture and its microbiological and enzymatic properties are treated separately.
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