What is Soy sauce?

Soy sauce is one of the most popular condiment of Southeast Asia and East Asia. People call it shoyu in Japan. It mainly have two ingredients which are Soybeans and Wheat. Further there is salt and a fermenting agent. The fermenting agent is mainly Aspergillus sojae molds or Aspergillus oryzae. The sauce has a salty and savory taste to it. It goes appetizingly well with almost all kinds of typical Asian dishes.

There is a strong belief that soy sauce originally came from China around 2,000 or 3,000 years ago. Also it has a long history from Japan, Korea and some other Southeast Asian countries. Moreover there are few records that it came in Europe in 1730’s from Japan. You can add shoyu in food directly or as a dip. Usually shoyu sauce is eaten with  rice, noodles, or sushi. Many restaurants commonly serve it with their dishes. Also you can easily store it at room temperature. There are also three different types of it. Light, dark and thick soy sauce.

Soy sauce

How do they make soy sauce?

There are mainly two varieties of shoyu out there. One, they make it through traditional method and the other one by chemical method. Let’s go through both of them!

Traditional Process

The makers of this food item firstly, soak the soybeans in water and boil them until they are cooked. Further, they roast the wheat and crush it. Next, they make a mixture of the boiled beans and the wheat. After that is the culturing process in which they add a culturing mold. And that culture is mostly Aspergillus. There is another name for this culture i.e. Koji mold. Afterwards they leave it for three days to develop. Thereafter that is the mixing of salt water with the mixture.

Later they leave the mixture in fermentation tanks for around six months. The enzymes, yeast and lactic acid bacteria that in present in it do their jobs. That is how we get the different tastes and flavors in it. After the fermentation, they place the mixture on a cloth and then they press it to separate the solids from the liquid soy sauce. Next is the process of pasteurization, it is important to sterilize it. That would kill the bacteria which we don’t need. Finally the soya sauce is filled in plastic or glass bottles. That’s how we make the naturally brewed shoyu.

Chemical Process

This is a very cheap and fast method of making soy sauce. That is because it makes the sauce in a few days instead of months. This method is known as non-brewed method (or chemical hydrolysis). So in this method, first they boil the soyabeans in hydrochloric acid for 15-20 hrs. This helps in the break down of soybean protein into amino acids. After the cooling, they mix sodium carbonate in it to neutralize it.

Afetr that, press it through a filter and mix it with active carbon. Next goes the process of filtration. This complete solution is also known as hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Additional colors, flavors, corn syrup and salt are added to it. Finally they do the process of refining and packaging. And that is how we make the chemical one. Although it is cheap but we can’t compare it to the authentic taste of the traditional one. You can commonly find it in the Western and Asian takeaway food items. Nowadays you can make an alternate version of soya sauce in your kitchen too!

Soy sauce can be helpful in your digestion because we make it through the process of fermentation. It might be anti-allergic and rich in antioxidants. That’s a good point. It can also prove to be anti-inflammatory. Also it may have some anticancer effects and may reduce blood pressure.

Nutritional Content of soy sauce (amount per 1 tsp):

  • Calories : 3
  • Fat : 0 gram
  • Protein : 0.4 gram
  • Sodium : 291.1 mg
  • Carbohydrate : 0.3 gram

Is soy sauce bad for you?

Yes, at some point it can be bad for you. Therefore you should eat it in less quantities. Now following are the reasons. It may increase your thyroid, the risk of breast cancer and of cardiovascular diseases. People with wheat and gluten allergies should definitely avoid this. Too much shoyu can become harmful for your kidneys too. And it will always be recommendable to consume the original soya sauce. Stay healthy, stay safe!

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