How Is Soy Sauce Made And Is It Bad For You
Soy sauce is a very flavorful ingredient made from fermented soybeans and wheat.
It originated in China and has been used in cooking for over 1,000 years.
Today, its one of the best-known soy products worldwide. It is a staple ingredient in many Asian countries and used widely across the rest of the world.
The way its produced can vary significantly, causing significant changes in flavor and texture, as well as health risks.
This article investigates how soy sauce is produced and its potential health risks and benefits.
What Does Light Soy Sauce Mean
If our Chinese recipes call for soy sauce, regular soy sauce, or light soy sauce, we are always referring to Chinese light soy sauce . It is generally thinner and lighter in color than the familiar Kikkoman you may have seen on dining tables at sushi restaurants and takeout joints.
Here, the distinction of light differentiates light soy from Chinese dark soy, which is darker, thicker, and a little bit sweeter .
But light soy is essentially just the default to use in most situations for Chinese recipes.
On our blog, Light Soy Sauce does NOT refer to low sodium, which can be especially confusing, since some brands like Kikkoman and La Choy have applied the word light or lite to their low sodium products in the past.
Examples of Chinese light soy sauce products on the market are Kimlan Soy Sauce, Pearl River Bridge Superior Light Soy Sauce, Lee Kum Kee Premium Soy Sauce, Haitian Superior Light Soy Sauce, and Wan Ja Shan Soy Sauce. In the photo below, see the bottles for these different brands. Some bottles say light while others dont.
General rule of thumb: if it is a Chinese brand of naturally brewed soy, and it does not say dark on it, it is light soy!
In our house, were partial to Pearl River Bridge brand.
They make a regular Superior Light Soy Sauce as well as a slightly more expensive premium Golden Label light soy.
Youll often see a distinction within brands between a regular and a premium product.
Beware Of Mugi Tea: Its Not Gluten Free
While the name for barley was the cutest , it was also an ingredient far more prevalent in Japanese food than in Canada or the United States, especially in tea . While the green tea above is quite bright, barley tea is a darker and earthy brown color. Stick to the green teas or the ones you can see are steeped leaves.
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Soy Sauce: Everything You Need To Know
Soy sauce is a familiar ingredient even to Western cooks these days. It holds a special place of importance in our list of 10 Essential Chinese Pantry Ingredients, and is truly essential to not just Chinese cooking, but Asian cooking in general.
But some of our recipes call for light soy sauce, while others call for just soy sauce, and still others call for dark soy sauce.
At the Asian market, you may have also seen bottles labeled seasoned, black, gluten-free, sweet, and thin. The options are dizzying and can certainly be confusing!
In this article, well talk about the many different types available today, geographic origin, and differences!
Well also focus on light soy sauce, a term we use interchangeably with soy sauce or regular soy sauce in our recipes. Its the type we turn to most often in our pantry, with the most versatility when it comes to Chinese cooking.
Risks And Side Effects
Tamari can be a good alternative to regular soy sauce, especially for those with a sensitivity to wheat products or gluten. However, its still very high in sodium, and intake should be kept in moderation, especially for those with heart problems or high blood pressure.
Additionally, because most soybeans are genetically modified, its best to opt for organic tamari whenever possible. Be sure to also check the ingredients label and select a brand with minimal ingredients and free of additives. Also, if you do have a food allergy or sensitivity, be sure to look for certified gluten-free products to ensure that your condiment is completely free of gluten.
Finally, soy allergies are common and can cause side effects like hives, itching, rashes or swelling. If you experience these or any other food allergy symptoms, discontinue use immediately and consult with your doctor.
- What is tamari sauce? Made from fermented soybeans, tamari is often used as a substitute for soy sauce in stir-fries, dressings and sauces.
- It is often free of wheat and easy to use. Compared to soy sauce, it also is higher in protein, contains antioxidants, has a smoother taste, and is less likely to have additives and preservatives.
- You can find this condiment at most grocery stores and can easily add it to a wide array of recipes.
- However, because its high in sodium, its best to keep intake in moderation and always opt for organic to minimize potential side effects.
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Tamari Ice Cream With Toasted Pecan Marshmallows
No pie is complete until its served à la mode. Take your chocolate pecan pie to the next level by pairing it with this Tamari ice cream with toasted pecan marshmallows recipe. Simply combine your favorite brand of vanilla ice cream with a bit of San-J Tamari Soy Sauce, chopped pecans and toasted mini marshmallows to make a frozen delight that belongs beside pecan pie.
How Is Dark Soy Sauce Used
Its commonly used in braised/red-cooked dishes like Red Cooked Pork, or to achieve that tantalizing dark amber color in stir-fries like Beef & Broccoli or rice/noodle dishes like Supreme Soy Sauce Fried Rice and Cantonese Pan-fried Noodles.
You only need a teaspoon or two to take a dish from pale to amber brown. Taste often when adding more dark soy sauce, so you dont over-season your dish!
See the photo below of adding dark soy sauce to white rice
And what the rice looks like after its been stirred in :
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A Gluten Free Restaurant Card In Japanese
This card was the first in what has become a series of gluten free guides and local language cards, and Im excited to be working with translators and celiacs to build detailed and safe cards for us to use on the road.
Each of the cards in the guide has been created with celiac-specific research, mention of cross contamination, and double checked paid translation from locals who speak the language.
Note: The card is available for purchase via trustworthy 3rd party site that uses https, so you know your information is safe.
Tips For Eating Gluten Free Sushi Sashimi And Sea Creatures In Japan
- Morning fish marketsKanazawa and Tokyo have wondrous onesare great places to eat fresh sashimi or sushi, as well as freshly shucked oysters. You can also grab a scallop, have it shucked in front of you, and then watch it get grilled on a tiny BBQ. Again, just show the card and make sure they do not put soy sauce as a condiment. They always had lemon juice instead. There were plenty of sea urchin to eat those markets as well, which are also naturally gluten free.
In Miyajima, you can also get grilled oysters on the side of the alleys, with lemon juice and soy sauce. Simply ask for no soy sauce and youre set.
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Hot Sushi Roll With Grilled Meat
- Hot sushi roll with grilled meat is a unique item you will only find in a Taiwan 7 Eleven
Im not sure exactly what the name of this is, but it is similar to an onigiri where it has rice and seaweed but has a lot more ingredients, and you need to heat it in the microwave.
Ive never had this anywhere else other than in a 7-11 in Taiwan. It sounds weird to microwave a sushi roll, but it was so good!
Similar to the xiao long bao, the sushi roll package comes with microwave instructions.
7 Eleven in Taiwan has a variety of these sushi rolls and costs about NT$55+ each.
Use It As A Salt Substitute
Thanks to its sodium content, soy sauce makes a great stand-in for salt in many recipes. Using soy sauce in place of salt can elevate your cooking game by bringing more to a dish than mere saltiness. The fermented products umami-rich flavoring gives dishes an extra depth and deeper color than salt would. Next time you go to add a sprinkle of salt, opt for a splash of soy sauce instead.
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What Is Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is a salty liquid condiment traditionally produced by fermenting soybeans and wheat.
It is thought to have originated from a Chinese product called chiang over 3,000 years ago. Similar products were developed in Japan, Korea, Indonesia and across Southeast Asia.
It first came to Europe in the 1600s through Dutch and Japanese trading .
The word soy comes from the Japanese word for soy sauce, shoyu. In fact, the soybean itself was named from soy sauce .
The four basic ingredients in soy sauce are soybeans, wheat, salt and fermenting agents like mold or yeast.
Regional varieties of soy sauce may have varying amounts of these ingredients, resulting in different colors and flavors.
Summary Soy sauce is a salty condiment produced through the fermentation of soybeans and wheat. It originated in China and is now produced in many Asian countries.
From Sushi To Soup Dumplings To Scotch You Can Drink On The Street 7
It’s approaching noon in downtown Tokyo, and I slip out of my office early to beat the rush to the most crowded lunch spot in my area. Popular meals go fast here, so this head start gives me a better selection of dishes, then lets me get back to the office first to heat them up in the company microwave.
That’s right: the most popular eatery on the block is a 7-Eleven.
If you think convenience store food is limited to potato chips and dodgy dried meats, then come to Japan, where chains such as Lawson’s, Family Mart and 7-Eleven offer salads, pasta, fruit cocktails, and sushi. Push past the cup noodles and corn dogs and you’ll find a bounty of healthy and reasonably priced meals, and you won’t have to stoop to anything freeze-dried, deep-fried, or impaled on a stick. Here’s the best of what I found on a recent trip . –Jason Jenkins
Salmon on rice with butter and soy sauce, with octopus salad in basil dressing
The pink, Hokkaido-raised fish obscures corn and sansai in the rice below. The octopus was surprisingly fresh and accompanied by broccoli, celery, and edamame.
Cured horse mackerel on rice with pickled daikon stem, with a squid salad and creamy mentaiko dressing
The combination of fish, rice, and pickled vegetables is a time-honored Japanese meal, but a salad with wakame and potherb mustard greens is a more recent creation. A dollop of orange cod roe is included if you didn’t get enough from the salad dressing.
Hashed beef doria with fruit cup
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Gluten Free Snacks In Japan: 7
Regardless of where I was in Japan, there was a 7-11 or a Family Mart convenience store nearby, called konbini, or conbini in Japanese.
Full of fun ice cream treats and prepared food in creative flavors, these shops also contained something for the gluten-free eater, even if it was a snack. I found conbini to be a saviour when I couldnt find something to eat, providing me with protein of some variety to make it between meals. Often these shops are attached to transportation hubs like bus and train stations, but there are many, many stand-alone combini as well. These stores are well-stocked and contain many of the snacks I list below.
Gluten Free Restaurants In Kyoto
Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan, and is now known as a cultural capital instead. The Honshu island city has many Buddhist temples, gardens, palaces, shrines and beautiful areas that still showcase traditional Japanese architecture. There is so much to explore here, and I wish I had more time to do so. My days in Kyoto remain some of my most memorable in Japan.
Hotel Sakura Terrace The Gallery 601-8002 ,39 +81 75-692-1112We actually stayed in this hotel, and didnt eat here until one night when I was desperately hungry, after not finding anywhere in the centre of Kyoto to eat.. Id come back to the hotel planning on redeeming my free drinks voucher, but they surprised me by making me fresh chips , in new oil, with wonderful roasted vegetables alongside. They also had a delicious green tea creme brûlée for dessert.
581+81 75-231-0799In the basement of most department stores, theres a food court. In this Daimaru, theres a whole foods store, which although doesnt do a huge amount of gluten free food, I was able to purchase puffed rice cereal, and some gluten free biscuits. The gluten free food is located in the childrens section of the shop, as in Japan, its usually children who have allergies, which they then grow out of The staff were able to speak English well enough of me not to speak Japanese, and they were able to tell me exactly what food I was ableto buy.
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Does Soy Sauce Go Bad
Eventually, it might. While its unlikely, it could develop mold. The good news is that an unopened bottle of soy sauce is good for 2-3 years, and possibly longer. Most opened bottles of soy sauce are safe for at least a year thanks to the high salt content. However, the flavor may change over time, so if the soy sauce doesnt seem as good as it used to be, it may be time to splurge on a fresh bottle.
Concerns About Insulting The Chef With Meal Changes
In addition to the wheat, I was concerned about insulting the chef by being a picky eater and doing so without adequately communicating why. Japans concept of artisans of food, shokunin like Jiro in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, is not to be taken lightly. Rice, Noodle, Fish, a beautiful photo and travel book by Matt Goulding from Roads and Kingdoms in partnership with Anthony Bourdain, refers to shokunin thusly:
The concept of shokunin, an artisan deeply and singularly dedicated to his or her craft, is at the core of Japanese culture. Tokyo is the city of ten thousand shokunin. If you come to Japan to eat, you come for them.
Basically, I didnt want to throw art in an artisans face. But I also couldnt eat their food as is, without getting sick. In fact, as Ive said below, part of my time in Japan was with a guide and still I got sick from the wealth of wheat and cross-contact in the cuisine.
So I wanted to make sure that anything I presented to the chef or staff at a restaurant was respectful of this concept.
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Gluten Free Restaurants In Fujikawaguchiko
Not far from Mount Fuji is Lake Kawaguchi, the easiest of the Fuji Five Lakes to get to from Tokyo. The lake provides many beautiful opportunities to enjoy Mount Fuji, especially during cherry blossom season or in November when autumn turns the leaves into gold.
High Spirits Izakaya Bar comes recommended by a fellow celiac, who notes that while it is not a 100% gluten free restaurant, the chef had a great understanding of celiac disease and much of the food was naturally gluten free.
Shaws Sushi Bar & Dining near Kawaguchiko train station is a rarity: great sushi on offer, but they use only rice flour for their tempura batter, so it is safe for celiacs. Gluten free soy sauce also available if you ask. Staff knowledgeable about celiac disease as well.
Can Be High In Msg
Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer. Its found naturally in some foods and often used as a food additive .
It is a form of glutamic acid, an amino acid that contributes significantly to the umami flavor of foods. Umami is one of the five basic flavors in food, often found in what is called savory food (
Therefore, the presence of glutamic acid or even added MSG in soy sauce is probably no cause for concern.
Summary MSG and its free form, glutamic acid, are an important part of the appealing umami taste of soy sauce. Although MSG was once thought to cause headaches, recent reviews suggest this isnt the case.
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Soy Sauce And Soybean Paste
Soy sauce and soybean paste are produced through the fermentation of soybeans by naturally occurring bacteria and fungi, and have been consumed as protein sources and flavoring ingredients in China and some neighboring countries sharing a similar culture, including Japan and Korea. After the soybean is fermented by microorganisms, its bitter flavor, flatulence factor, antinutritional factors and other deficiencies are overcome, and the digestibility and bio-potency are greatly improved . In addition, a variety of fragrant organic acids, alcohols, esters, and amino acids are produced. A large number of recent studies have shown that the soybeans fermented by microorganisms also provide a variety of functions, such as antioxidation, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood sugar, melting thrombosis, anticancer, antiaging, lowering cholesterol and improvement immunity . Those functions are closely related to material metabolism during the fermentation process and caused by functional components in this process.
In order to further enhance the physiological effects of soybean fermented soybean products, sprouted soybeans were used to prepare soy sauce and soybean paste . According to results of Choi et al. , germination of soybeans under dark or light conditions not only improved the sensory quality of soy sauce, but also had implications for the health benefits of Korean soy sauce through increasing the content of active ingredients, such as isoflavone content.