Mandarin : Jiang You | Japanese : Shoyu | Indonesia :
Kecap; Ketijap | Malay : Kichup; Tau Yu | Thai :
Siew | Cantonese : Chi You |
there is one significant contribution by Asia to the global pantry, the humble 'Soy
Sauce' would surely be nominated for top award. It is made from fermented soya beans. It
is used all over the world, not merely as a condiment in place of salt, but as an ingredient
in a host of home-made and manufactured goods.
making of soy sauce involves quite long process. The soya beans are initially cleaned,
soaked until soft and then steamed before being mixed with a yeast culture and wheat flour.
The mixture is then fermented for up to two years before being filtered and bottled. There
is no short cut to making soy sauce of credible quality, and while some modern products may
cost less than others, they have inferior flavor and should be avoided.
are basically three types of Chinese soy sauce. Light soy sauce is the initial
extraction, like the first pressing of virgin olive oil. It has the most delicate flavor and
is light brown in color with a lovely "beany" fragrance. Dark soy sauce is left to
mature further, and has caramel added to it, so it is slightly sweeter and has a much darker
color with a powerful aroma. then there is the regular soy sauce which is a blend of the
are several types of Japanese soy sauce too. Usukuchi soy sauce is light in color and
tastes less salty than the Chinese light soy sauce. Tamari is dark and thick with a
strong flavor, and is even less salty than the light type. Shoyu is a full-bodied
sauce that is aged for up to two years. In the middle of these flavors, there is very
Kikkoman, which is a popular brand name for the equivalent of the Chinese regular soy
sauce - not too strong and not too weal. Used more as a dipping sauce at the dining table,
rather than for cooking.
Indonesian kicap manis is thick and black, with a powerful aroma, but has a
surprising sweet taste. The light variety called kicap asin, is rather thin and weak
and is sometimes described as 'white soy'. Most Indonesian chefs prefers the medium-bodied
widely acceptable practice is for light soy sauce to be used for seafood, white meats,
vegetables and soups. The darker and thicker variety is ideal for red meats, stews,
barbecues and gravy. If soy sauce is being served as a dip, choose the regular variety or
use a blend of three parts light sauce with two parts dark. This proportion also applies to
Whenever soy sauce is used for cooking, it should be stirred in towards the end of the
cooking time to avoid dulling color of the food. This process also avoid the natural flavor
of the principle ingredient to be overwhelmed. This applies to soups, stews, stir-fries and
quick-braised dishes but not to slow-braised dishes. In the latter, the ingredients
are simmered for a long time in a sauce that includes only a small amount of soy sauce. When
the soy sauce is used in a dressing for a salad or other cold-dish for instance, the
dressing should be added only just before the dish is served.
Naturally fermented soy sauce will not keep forever. It starts to lose its aroma and flavor
as soon as it is exposed to the air for any length of time. Sealed bottles can be stored for
up to two years, but once the bottle has been opened, soy sauce will deteriorate
fairly rapidly. Try to use it up as soon as possible before the expiry date. For household
consumption, use a smaller size bottle.
Asian Melting Pot
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