Soy sauce is one of the most important ingredients in Japanese cuisine. This umami-rich and salty sauce comes in many different varieties. Depending on the production, ingredients or region, numerous nuances can be tasted.
The production of soy sauce
Soybeans and roasted wheat are inoculated with mold cultures (Aspergillus or Koji) and then mixed with water and salt to form a paste. The mass is fermented in large wooden compartments and bottled after many months of rest. This manufacturing process is already over 2,000 years old.
The differences between Koikuchi and Usukuchi
Soy sauce is called shoyu in Japanese. This is used for cooking various dishes and should not be missing in any kitchen. The color is usually dark and the taste is intense. Most often you can buy Koikuchi Shoyu. This soy sauce has a strong flavor and translates to "dark mouth". Koikuchi is a classic and is traditionally aged in wooden barrels for about a year. The sauce can be used for cooking, as a dip and for marinades. Usukuchi Shoyu is often lighter in color, but very salty and also very popular in Japan. This soy sauce is also best for cooking hot dishes.
Pure soy sauce
Tamari looks similar to the other sauces, but has some special features: it contains no wheat, thus no gluten, and is rather thick and even darker than classic shoyu. Due to its slightly milder flavor, it is often used as a dipping sauce or as a finishing touch to dishes. Tamari originated as a by-product of miso and is now popular in European kitchens as well. Nitto Jozo's white tamari sauce, on the other hand, is so special because it was actually made entirely from wheat, giving it a light amber color and making it suitable for people who are allergic to soybeans. Also the golden color does not treat the dishes with dark color.
Which soy sauce suits me?
Do you like soups and hot dishes more? Or can it be a quick chilled bowl? Maybe you just want to dip sushi? In any case, you can use your own special soy sauce for every dish. Ideally, you'll have at least two varieties in the house - one for cooking and one for garnishing. Morita's dark Koikuchi, for example, is ideal for hot dishes. You can't go wrong with it when cooking. When it comes to enhancing dishes, especially vegetables, tofu and salads, Fujishokuhin's Kombu Shoyu is our favorite. This soy sauce was aged for three years in wooden barrels and contains, as the name suggests, Kombu seaweed. The balanced taste is convincing.
Which soy sauce is your favorite? Feel free to let us know!