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The Soy Sauce Story

Dark soy sauce

For centuries, people have been looking for ways to preserve food and drink so that it may last longer. Consider the practice of smoking meat and fish, or distilling wine to get brandy. Many people ask what soy sauce is and how to use it. It is this that inspired this soy sauce story article. From experience, we discovered that using salt not only preserves food but also improves its flavor.

In ancient China, Jiang was the term used to refer to preserved foods/seasonings. Jiang then , is what we now call Soy Sauce. Different types of jiang are produced from grain, seafood, meat and vegetables.

Of these four, grain was the most readily available, therefore, jiang made from soybeans and wheat grew in popularity and availability. In time, the method of preparing this grain jiang spread from China to its neighboring countries and eventually across the globe.

Soy beans

The soy sauce you have in your pantry or kitchen cubby, or that you find at the supermarket, is believed to have originated form this seasoning.

Soy sauce is made from a fermented boiled soybeans, roasted wheat, brine and molds.

There are three types of Chinese soy sauces. Light  soy sauce, regular soy sauce and dark soy sauce.

Light soy sauce is derived from the first extraction or pressing in the fermentation process. It may also be referred to as fresh or thin soy sauce. It has a mild flavor and a salty taste. If a recipe directs you to use soy sauce, and doesn’t specify beyond that, this is the soy sauce you should use. If you are using soy sauce as a dip, this is also the one to opt for.

Dark soy sauce

Dark soy sauce has been allowed to mature longer (up to 2 years) and has had caramel or molasses added to it. It is darker in colour, thicker in texture, sweeter and has an aroma that packs a punch. Dark soy sauce is primarily used in cooking and marinades.

Regular soy sauce is a combination of the light and dark soy sauces.

Soy sauce is used to marinade meat and fish, cook stir fry’s or used on the side with Asian dishes. It is a good antioxidant because it contains the mineral manganese and is healthy for your digestive system because it supports the growth of ‘friendly’ bacteria.

It is also a good source of protein. In light of this, you may want to consider replacing the salt shaker at your dinner table with some soy sauce instead….

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