Updated: April 17, 2018
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5+1 Things To Know About Soy Sauce (Japanese Shoyu)!

Shoyu, aka soy sauce, is nowadays an ingredient used globally not only in Japan. Maybe you might have your own bottle of soy sauce in your kitchen. But do you really know what you're using? Are you fully making use of them? Well, here are all the answers below.

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1: What is soy sauce?

Soy sauce has a history of about 3,000 years. It originates from China but the "shoyu" soy sauce is the one native to Japan. It's slightly different than it's Chinese counterpart. For instance, the Japanese shoyu is made in part from wheat, whereas the Chinese one has none usually. On a side note, this means that most Japanese soy sauces are not gluten-free, so you should be careful when traveling to Japan if you have gluten intolerance or allergies.

2: How is it made?

Shoyu has just a few main ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt, and water. There is also an important fermenting agent called kojikin (bacteria, こうじ菌).

There are many types of shoyu recognized by the Japanese Agricultural Standard. The percentage of raw ingredients used, how they are prepared and the production process varies depending on the type of shoyu.

Generally speaking, the beans and wheat are pulverized into a powder, water is added to the brewing and the koji is added for fermentation. It can take up to six months for the fermentation to be completed.

3: Is soy sauce bad for your health?

Since soy sauce is a high-sodium food, it is generally said that soy sauce can be bad for your health when you take too much. However, because it is fermented, soy sauce is rich in amino acids which is fundamental for your body.

Soy sauce is also said to be good against cancer and decreases the cholesterols inside your body.

4: What can soy sauce be used for?

Soy sauce is used in almost all Japanese dishes. Shouyu is surely the ingredient you can't go without when making a Japanese dish. Soy sauce can simply be poured to add some taste or to add some deepness. Since it is fermented, soy sauce is not just salty but also has some deepness in flavor. Whenever you want some saltiness, just pour in some soy sauce!

5: Which soy sauce is the best?

There are so many different kinds of soy sauce depending on the temperature, thickness of the flavor, and the percentage of the raw ingredients. The most popular type of shoyu is Koikuchi shouyu, and it even accounts for up to 80% of all shoyu consumed. Koikuchi means thick in Japanese and as you can guess, its characteristics are the thick taste of soybeans. There are other kinds of soy sauce, such as Usukuchi (You add some salt water to the soy sauce), Tamari (high percentage of raw beans and less water), and so on.

By pickling some ingredients such as garlic or ginger, you can even create your own soy sauce!

Tell me some recipes I can use soy sauce!

As mentioned above, soy sauce can be basically used with anything but we will list the most popular recipes below.

Teriyaki Chicken


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