- Soy sauce
Soy sauce A bottle of Japanese soy sauce Chinese name Traditional Chinese 1. 醬油
Simplified Chinese 1. 酱油
Transcriptions Mandarin - Hanyu Pinyin 1. jiàng yóu - Sichuanese Pinyin 2. dou4 you2 Min - Hokkien POJ 2. tāu-iû Cantonese (Yue) - Jyutping 3. si6 yau4 Filipino name Tagalog toyo Japanese name Kanji 醤油 Hiragana しょうゆ Transcriptions - Revised Hepburn shōyu - Kunrei-shiki syôyu Korean name Hangul 간장 Transcriptions - Revised
ganjang - McCune-
kanjang Burmese name Burmese ပဲငံပြာရည် IPA pɛ́ ŋàɴ byà yè Thai name Thai ซีอิ๊ว (si-ew) Vietnamese name Quốc ngữ xì dầu or nước tương
Soy sauce (also called soya sauce) is a condiment produced by fermenting soybeans with Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds, along with water and salt. After the fermentation, which yields fermented soybean paste, the paste is pressed, and two substances are obtained: a liquid, which is the soy sauce, and a cake of (wheat and) soy residue, the latter being usually reused as animal feed. Most commonly, a grain is used together with the soybeans in the fermentation process, but not always. Also, some varieties use roasted grain. Soy sauce is a traditional ingredient in East and Southeast Asian cuisines, where it is used in cooking and as a condiment. It originated in China 2,800 years ago and spread throughout Asia. In more recent times, it is also being used in Western cuisine and prepared foods. All varieties of soy sauce are salty, earthy, brownish liquids intended to season food while cooking or at the table.
- 1 History
- 2 Production
- 3 Types
- 4 Nutrition
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
Soy sauce originated in China 2,800 years ago and its use later spread to East and Southeast Asia. Like many salty condiments, soy sauce was probably originally a way to stretch salt, historically an expensive commodity. In Ancient China, fermented fish with salt was used as a condiment in which soybeans was included during the fermentation process. Eventually, this was replaced and the recipe for soy sauce, jiangyou (酱油), was created with soybeans as principal ingredient.
Records of the Dutch East India Company list soy sauce as a commodity in 1737, when seventy-five large barrels were shipped from Dejima, Japan, to Batavia (present-day Jakarta) on the island of Java. Thirty-five barrels from that shipment were then shipped to the Netherlands. In the 18th century, Isaac Titsingh published accounts of brewing soy sauce. Although earlier descriptions of soy sauce had been disseminated in the West, this was among the earliest to focus specifically on the brewing of the Japanese version. By the mid-19th century, the Japanese soy sauce gradually disappeared from the European market, and soy sauce became synonymous with the Chinese product. Europeans were unable to make soy sauce because they did not understand the function of Aspergillus oryzae, the fungus used in its brewing.
One 19th century writer records that in China, the best soy sauce is "made by boiling beans soft, adding an equal quantity of wheat or barley, and leaving the mass to ferment; a portion of salt and three times as much water are afterwards put in, and the whole compound left for two or three months when the liquid is pressed and strained".
Soy sauce may be made either by fermentation or by hydrolysis; some commercial sauces contain a mixture of fermented and chemical sauces.
Traditional soy sauces are made by mixing soybeans and grain with cultures such as Aspergillus oryzae and other related microorganisms and yeasts (the resulting mixture is called "koji" in Japan; the term "koji" is used both for the mixture of soybeans, wheat, and mold; as well as for only the mold). In older times, the mixture was then fermented naturally in giant urns and under the sun, which was believed to contribute additional flavors. Today, the mixture is generally placed in a temperature and humidity controlled incubation chamber.
The production process of traditional soy sauces is as follows.
- Before the process begins, the soybeans soaked in water and boiled to completion. The wheat is roasted and crushed.
- An equal amount of boiled soybeans and roasted wheat are mixed. A little spore of mold is added, and the substance is mixed for a few days.
- A saline solution is put into the mold culture.
- The mold ferments the saline solution. Over time, natural lactic acid bacteria makes lactic acid in the mold, and natural yeast makes alcohol. Most of soy sauce's smell are chemicals produced in this process by the molds. An amino-glycosidic reaction takes place in the mold.
- The solution is separated into solid and liquid parts. The liquid part is kept.
- The liquid is heated and filtered to remove any contamination.
- The liquid is now a traditional fermented soy sauce.
- Aspergillus is a genus of fungus that is used for fermenting various ingredients (the cultures are called koji in Japanese). Three species are used for brewing soy sauce:
- Aspergillus oryzae: Strains with high proteolytic capacity are used for brewing soy sauce.
- Aspergillus sojae: This fungus also has a high proteolytic capacity.
- Aspergillus tamari: This fungus is used for brewing tamari.
- Microbes contained in the cultures
- Bacillus spp.(genus): This organism is likely to grow soy sauce ingredients, bring to generate odors and ammonia.
- Lactobacillus species: This organism produces a lactic acid increases the acidity in the feed.
Acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Some brands of soy sauce are often made from acid-hydrolyzed soy protein instead of brewed with a traditional culture. This process may take only three days. Although they have a different flavor, aroma, and texture when compared to brewed soy sauces, they have a longer shelf-life and are more commonly produced for this reason. Some people feel the hydrolyzed sauces taste better, but some prefer the naturally brewed varieties. The clear plastic packets of dark sauce common with Chinese-style take out food typically use a hydrolyzed vegetable protein formula. Some higher-quality hydrolyzed vegetable protein products with no added salt, sugar or colorings are sold as low-sodium soy sauce alternatives called "liquid aminos" in health food stores, similar to the way salt substitutes are used. These products are, however not necessarily low in sodium. Bragg brand Liquid Aminos has 160 mg sodium per 2.5 mL serving or about 960 mg per tablespoon, which is more than some soy sauces for the same serving size.
Carcinogens may form during the manufacture of chemical sauce.
Soy sauce has been integrated into the traditional cuisines of many East Asian and Southeast Asian cultures. Soy sauce is widely used as a particularly important flavoring in Japanese, Thai, Korean, and Chinese cuisine. Despite their rather similar appearance, soy sauces produced in different cultures and regions are different in taste, consistency, fragrance and saltiness. Soy sauce retains its quality longer when kept away from direct sunlight.
Chinese soy sauce
Chinese soy sauce, jiangyou (simpl.: 酱油 / trad.: 醬油) or chiyou (豉油), is primarily made from soybeans, with relatively low amounts of other grains. There are several varieties:
- Light or fresh soy sauce (生抽 shēngchōu or 酱清 "jiàngqing") is a thin (low viscosity), opaque, lighter brown soy sauce. It is the main soy sauce used for seasoning, since it is saltier, has less noticeable color, and also adds a distinct flavour. The light soy sauce made from the first pressing of the soybeans is called tóuchōu (simplified Chinese: 头抽; traditional Chinese: 頭抽), which can be loosely translated as first soy sauce or referred to as premium light soy sauce. Touchōu is sold at a premium because, like extra virgin olive oil, the flavor of the first pressing is considered superior. An additional classification of light soy sauce, shuānghuáng (雙璜), is double-fermented to add further complexity to the flavour. These last two more delicate types are used primarily for dipping.
- Dark and old soy sauce (老抽 lǎochōu), a darker and slightly thicker soy sauce, is aged longer, contains caramel, and may contain added molasses to give it its distinctive appearance. This variety is mainly used during cooking, since its flavour develops during heating. It has a richer, slightly sweeter, and less salty flavour than light soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is partly used to add color and flavour to a dish after cooking, but, as stated above, is more often used during the cooking process, rather than after.
- Mushroom dark soy (草菇老抽 cǎogū lǎochōu): In the finishing and aging process of making dark soy sauce, the broth of Volvariella volvacea mixed into the soy sauce and is then exposed to the sun to produce this type of dark soy. The added broth gives this soy sauce a richer flavour than plain dark soy sauce.
- Thick soy sauce (醬油膏 jiàngyóugāo), is a dark soy sauce that has been thickened with starch and sugar and occasionally flavored with certain spices and MSG. This sauce is often used as a dipping sauce or finishing sauce and poured on food as a flavourful addition, however due to its sweetness and caramelized flavours from its production process the sauce is also used in red cooking.
- Shrimp soy sauce (虾子酱油): Fresh soy sauce is simmered with fresh shrimp and finished with sugar, baijiu (type of distilled liquor), and spices. A specialty of Suzhou.
Japanese soy sauce
Buddhist monks from China introduced soy sauce into Japan in the 7th century, where it is known as shōyu (醤油 shōyu ). The Japanese word tamari is derived from the verb tamaru (溜る) that signifies "to accumulate", referring to the fact that tamari was traditionally a liquid byproduct produced during the fermentation of miso (type of seasoning). Japan is the leading producer of tamari.
Shōyu is traditionally divided into five main categories depending on differences in their ingredients and method of production. Most, but not all Japanese soy sauces include wheat as a primary ingredient, which tends to give them a slightly sweeter taste than their Chinese counterparts. They also tend towards an alcoholic sherry-like flavor, sometimes enhanced by the addition of small amounts of alcohol as a natural preservative. The widely varying flavors of these soy sauces are not always interchangeable, some recipes only call for one type or the other, much like a white wine cannot replace a red's flavor or beef stock does not produce the same results as fish stock.
Some soy sauces made in the Japanese way or styled after them contain about fifty percent wheat.
Soy sauce has a distinct basic taste called umami (旨味, "pleasant savory taste") in Japanese, due to naturally occurring free glutamates. Umami was identified as a basic taste in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University.
Soy sauce varieties
- Koikuchi (濃口, "dark color"): Originating in the Kantō region, its usage eventually spread all over Japan. Over 80% of the Japanese domestic soy sauce production is of koikuchi, and can be considered the typical Japanese soy sauce. It is produced from roughly equal quantities of soybean and wheat. This variety is also called kijōyu (生醤油) or namashōyu (生しょうゆ) when it is not pasteurized.
- Usukuchi (淡口, "light color"): Particularly popular in the Kansai region of Japan, it is both saltier and lighter in color than koikuchi. The lighter color arises from the use of amazake, a sweet liquid made from fermented rice, that is used in its production.
- Tamari (たまり): Produced mainly in the Chūbu region of Japan, tamari is darker in appearance and richer in flavour than koikuchi. It contains little or no wheat. Wheat-free tamari can be used by people with gluten intolerance. It is the "original" Japanese soy sauce, as its recipe is closest to the soy sauce originally introduced to Japan from China. Technically, this variety is known as miso-damari (味噌溜り), as this is the liquid that runs off miso as it matures.
- Shiro (白, "white"): In contrast to tamari soy sauce, shiro soy sauce uses mostly wheat and very little soybean, lending it a light appearance and sweet taste. It is more commonly used in the Kansai region to highlight the appearances of food, for example sashimi.
- Saishikomi (再仕込, "twice-brewed") : This variety substitutes previously-made koikuchi for the brine normally used in the process. Consequently, it is much darker and more strongly flavored. This type is also known as kanro shōyu (甘露醤油) or "sweet shōyu".
Newer varieties of Japanese soy sauce include:
- Gen'en (減塩, "reduced salt"): This version contains 50% less salt than regular shōyu for health conscious consumers.
- Usujio (薄塩, "light salt"): This version contains 20% less salt than regular shōyu.
All of these varieties are sold in the marketplace in three different grades according to how they were produced:
- Honjōzō (本醸造, "genuine fermented"): Contains 100% genuine fermented product
- Kongō-jōzō (混合醸造, "mixed fermented"): Contains genuine fermented shōyu mash mixed with 30–50% of chemical or enzymatic hydrolysate of plant protein
- Kongō (混合, "mixed"): Contains Honjōzō or Kongō-jōzō shōyu mixed with 30–50% of chemical or enzymatic hydrolysate of plant protein
All the varieties and grades may be sold according to three official levels of quality:
- Hyōjun (標準): Standard grade, contains more than 1.2% total nitrogen
- Jōkyū (上級 ): Upper grade, contains more than 1.35% of total nitrogen
- Tokkyū (特級): Special grade, contains more than 1.5% of total nitrogen
Soy sauce is also commonly known as shōyu in Hawaii.
Indonesian soy sauce
In Indonesia, soy sauce is known as kecap (also ketjap or kecap), which is a catch-all term for fermented sauces, and cognate to the English word "ketchup". Three common varieties of Indonesian soy-based kecap exist:
- Kecap asin
- Salty soy sauce, which is very similar to Chinese light soy sauce, but usually somewhat thicker and has a stronger flavor; it can be replaced by light Chinese soy sauce in recipes.
- Kecap manis
- Sweet soy sauce, which has a thick, almost syrupy consistency and a pronounced sweet, treacle-like flavor due to generous addition of palm sugar. In cooking, it may be replaced by molasses with a little vegetable stock stirred in.
- Kecap manis sedang
- Medium sweet soy sauce, which has a less thick consistency and a more saline taste than Manis.
Burmese or Myanmar soy sauce
Burma is a country with a high production of soy bean. Pickled bean curds (se-tou-fu), made from soy beans and usually more spicy than those in the neighbouring countries, is one of the staples in Myanmar. Export of bean is upwards of hundred tons a year. The Burmese soy sauce production dated back to the Bagan era in the 9th and 10th century. Scripts written in praise of pe ngan byar yay (ပဲငံပြာရည်, literally "bean fish sauce") were found. Production increased to its heights during the Konbaung dynasty, circa 1700, when there was a bolstered migration of ethnic groups from the north to boost and modify the production of silk in Amarapura. Thick soy sauce is called kya nyo (ကြာညို့, from Chinese jiangyou 醬油).
Malaysian soy sauce
Malays from Malaysia, using the Malay dialect similar to Indonesian, use the word kicap for soy sauce. Kicap is traditionally of two types: kicap lemak (lit "fat/rich soy sauce") and kicap cair. Kicap lemak is similar to Indonesian kecap manis but with very much less sugar while kicap cair is the Malaysian equivalent of kecap asin.
Singapore and Malaysian soy sauce
In Mandarin Chinese spoken in Malaysia and Singapore, soy sauce in general is dòuyóu (豆油), a Mandarin transliteration of the Hokkien term for the sauce; dark soy sauce is called jiàngyóu (醬油) and light soy sauce is jiàngqīng (醬清). Angmo daoiu (紅毛豆油, lit. "foreigners' soy sauce") is the Hokkien name for Worcestershire sauce.
Korean soy sauce
Korean soy sauce, (called Joseon ganjang, 조선간장, in Korean) is a byproduct of the production of doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste). They are mainly used in making soups, seasoning, and dip sauce. Joseon ganjang, thin and dark brown in color, is made entirely of soy and brine, and has a saltiness that varies according to the producer. Wide scale use of Joseon ganjang has been somewhat superseded by cheaper factory-made Japanese style soy sauce, called waeganjang (hangul: 왜간장/和: 간장). According to the 2001 national food consumption survey in Korea, traditional fermented ganjang comprised only 1.4% of soy sauce purchases.
Taiwanese soy sauce
The history of soy sauce making in Taiwan can be traced back to southeastern China, in the provinces of Fujian and Guangdong. Taiwanese soy sauce is known for its black bean variant, known as black bean soy sauce (黑豆蔭油), which takes longer to produce (about 6 months). Most major soy sauce makers in Taiwan, such as Kimlan (金蘭), Wan Ja Shan (萬家香), and President-Kikkoman (統萬), produce soy sauce made from soybeans and wheat. A few other makers, such as Wuan Chuang (丸莊), O'Long (黑龍), Tatung (大同) and Ruei Chun (瑞春) make black bean soy sauce.
Vietnamese soy sauce
In Vietnam, Chinese-style soy sauce is called xì dầu (derived from the Cantonese name 豉油) or nước tương. The term "soy sauce" could also imply other condiments and soy bean paste with thick consistency known as tương. Both are used mostly as a seasoning or dipping sauce for a number of dishes. Vietnamese cuisine itself favors fish sauce in cooking but nước tương has a clear presence in vegetarian cooking.
Philippine soy sauce
A soy sauce-based product popular in the Philippines is called toyo, usually found alongside other sauces such as fish sauce (patis) and sugar cane vinegar (suka). The flavor of Philippine soy sauce is a combination of ingredients made from soybeans, wheat, salt, and caramel, is interestingly milder compared to its other Asian counterparts—possibly an adaptation to the demands of the Filipino palate and its cuisine. It is thinner in texture and has a saltier taste compared to its Southeast Asian counterparts, much more similar to the Japanese shōyu. It is used as a staple condiment to flavor many cooked dishes and as a marinade during cooking, it is also a table condiment, and is usually mixed and served with calamansi, a small Asian citrus-lime.
A study by the National University of Singapore showed that Chinese dark soy sauce contains 10 times the antioxidants of red wine, and can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. (However, it is unlikely to be used in nearly as great a quantity as wine.) Soy sauce is rich in lactic acid bacteria and of excellent anti-allergic potential.
Soy sauce contains ethyl carbamate.
Soy sauce does not contain a level of the beneficial isoflavones associated with other soy products such as tofu or edamame. It can also be very salty, having a salt content of between 14%–18%. Low-sodium soy sauces are produced, but it is difficult to make soy sauce without using some quantity of salt as an antimicrobial agent.
100ml of soy sauce contains the following nutritional information according to the USDA:
- Calories : 60
- Fat: 0.1
- Carbohydrates: 5.57
- Fibers: 0.8
- Protein: 10.51
AllergiesFurther information: Soy allergy
Most varieties of soy sauce contain wheat, to which some people have a medical intolerance. However, some naturally brewed soy sauces made with wheat may be tolerated by people with a specific intolerance to gluten because gluten is not detectable in the finished product. Japanese tamari soy sauce is traditionally wheat-free, and some tamari available commercially today is wheat- and gluten-free. Kikkoman now make a gluten free soy sauce using rice flour instead of wheat.
A 2001 test of various soy sauces and related products by the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency (FSA) found that 22 out of 100 samples contained a substance called 3-MCPD (3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol) at levels considerably higher than those deemed safe by the European Union. About two-thirds of the 22 samples also contained a second chemical called 1,3-DCP (1,3-dichloropropane-2-ol), which experts advise should not be present at any levels in food. Both chemicals are carcinogenic, and 1,3-DCP can cause genetic damage to be passed on to offspring who never consumed the sauces. The FSA recommended that the affected products be withdrawn, and in June 2001 issued a Public Health Advice leaflet warning against a small number of soy sauce products that were found to contain high levels of potentially cancer-causing chemicals. The leaflet singled out brands and products (some by batch numbers) imported from Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Although the leaflet primarily looked at soy sauce, it also included oyster sauce, marinades and other types of sauces, that affected the brands Golden Mountain, King Imperial, Pearl River Bridge, Jammy Chai, Lee Kum Kee, Golden Mark, Kimlan, Golden Swan, Sinsin and Tung Chun. Despite these being small in number in the UK, they are the dominant brands in their respective nations.
In Vietnam, 3-MCPD was found in toxic levels (In 2004 the HCM City Institute of Hygiene and Public Health found 33 of 41 sample of soya sauce with high rates of 3-MCPD, including six samples with 11,000 to 18,000 times more 3-MPCD than permitted, compared to about 5,000 times in 2001) in soy sauces there in 2007, along with formaldehyde in the national dish Pho, and banned pesticides in vegetables and fruits. The newspaper Thanh Nien Daily commented: "Health agencies have known that Vietnamese soy sauce, the country's second most popular sauce after fish sauce, has been chock-full of cancer agents since at least 2001."
- Maggi sauce
- Fermented bean paste
- Yellow soybean paste
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