Thursday, 12 June 2014

S is for Soy Sauce

When I am writing recipes, I specify the type of soy sauce I use.  However lots of recipes don't and the people don't understand why their recipes aren't quite right.  It may be down to the soy sauce.

I only keep three types of soy sauce.  I keep two Chinese soy sauces (light and dark) and a bottle of Kikkoman.

I tend not to bother with the flavoured ones as I am using soy as a base and prefer to add my own fresh flavours through the ingredients.

Dark Chinese soy sauce is used for dishes where the sauce will caramelize.  Think hoisin ribs, char sui (barbecued pork)... It's also found in lots of Shanghainese (red) dishes.  You can use dark soy sauce when stir frying rice but I often finds it overpowers more delicate flavours like egg.

You need to cook dark soy sauce to get the flavour going and so while you do see dark soy sauce in some dipping sauce recipes, again I find that it overpowers the dumpling/roll you're dipping without really bringing out the correct flavour.

Light soy sauce is a younger, less fermented version. It is also saltier than its dark sibling which is already pretty salty.  If a recipe doesn't cite which type of Chinese soy sauce to use, I would always use light.

Both of types of Chinese soy sauces have bran when being made to add to depth of taste.  This is where my bottle of Kikkoman comes in.  As it's a lot more expensive, I tend to reserve this one for my sushi (where I'm only mixing in a little wasabi) and in broths where I want only a very light touch of the salty soy taste to come through.

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