Everyone around the world loves to eat their favorite cuisine depending on their culture and the ingredients available to them. One region with a distinct culinary flavor is the Asian region where colorful and vibrant ingredients are commonly used to make their dishes stand out and taste delicious. One of the staple ingredients for Asian Cuisine or cooking is Soy Sauce. But what is this soy sauce and how can it possibly benefit (or adversely affect) individuals? Is it possible to come up with a sugar-free soy sauce recipe? In this article, we attempt the aforementioned questions so read on to find out more!
Soy Sauce: A General Overview
Soy sauce is an ingredient that is flavorful and is created through the fermentation of wheat and soybeans. It was first used in China and is utilized in the preparation of food items for thousands of years. At present, soy sauce is one of the most recognizable products that is made from soy. It is used for most Asian cooking and is also utilized by people around the world. How it is created or developed can have variations that can alter its potential risks and benefits. But what is soy sauce really?
Soy sauce is a condiment in liquid form that is salty and is produced using traditional methods of fermentation for wheat and soybeans. It is believed to have come from the item known as “Chiang” as far back as 3,000 years ago in China. Soy first touched European soil in the 1600s when Japanese and Dutch traders started trading with Europeans. The term soy originated from the word “Shoyu” which is a Japanese word meaning soy sauce. The main ingredients of soy sauce are composed of four (4) components- fermentation agents such as yeast or mold, salt, wheat, and soybeans. Varieties from different regions can lead to different levels of these ingredients resulting in varied flavors and colors.
Different Soy Sauce Variations
Some of the different variations of soy sauce are based on the preparation processes and the ingredients used. The two most common ways to prepare soy sauce are:
- Traditional Production- The first process used in the production of soy sauce is to have the soybeans soaked in water and having the wheat crushed and roasted. Both wheat and soybeans are then combined in a culturing mold such as aspergillus and left to develop for around two (2) to three (3) days.
- Chemical Production- On the other hand, chemical production is a process of production that is cheaper and faster in terms of creating soy sauce. This process is also referred to as acid hydrolysis and can lead to the production of soy sauce in just a matter of days instead of a number of months.
Japan has a number of different variations for soy sauce which include the following:
- Dark Soy sauce- This type of soy sauce is also referred to as Koikuchi Shoyu and is the variant most commonly sold the world over. It has a distinct and strong aroma and has a color described as being reddish-brown.
- Light Soy Sauce- This variant of soy sauce is referred to as Usukuchi and has less wheat and more soybeans. It also has an aroma that is milder and an appearance that is lighter.
- Tamari- This kind of soy sauce variant is composed mostly of soybeans and only small amounts of wheat (around 10%). It also has a color that is dark and it also does not have a distinct aroma.
- Shiro- Shiro soy sauce is made of just a few soybeans and mostly wheat. It also has a color that can be described as very light.
- Saishikomi- This soy sauce is formed through the breakdown of wheat and soybean enzymes using an unheated soy sauce solution compared to just using water with some salt. It has a taste that can be described as heavier and individuals usually use this soy sauce as a form of sauce for dipping.
It must be noted though that the more modern method of preparing soy sauce will utilize wheat bran and soybean meal which can undergo the fermentation process within weeks (three weeks to be exact) instead of taking a number of months. This kind of more modern method can result in flavors that are different from the kinds of soy sauce that are traditionally produced.
Possible Health Benefits of Soy Sauce
While soy sauce can have some downsides such as being high in MSG, it contains amines, contains high levels of sodium, it can also have some possible health benefits which include:
- It can aid in the reduction of allergies
- It can help in enhanced digestion
- It can enhance gut health
- It can provide antioxidants
- It can also promote an improved immune response
It must be noted though, that the said health benefits were observed in animal test subjects and only limited studies have been conducted on human test subjects. As such, while soy sauce can have health benefits that seem promising, the data to support such claims of findings are still limited.
Top Ten Best Sugar-Free Soy Sauce Recipes
Enumerated below are ten (10) of the best sugar-free Soy sauce recipes you can try at home:
- Chicken Adobo (Chicken Cooked in Soy Sauce and Vinegar)– A unique dish popular in the Philippines which is slightly sweet and sour due to soy sauce and vinegar
- Quick-Roasted Broccoli with Soy Sauce and Sesame Seeds– Those who wish to enjoy soy sauce with a crispy veggie such as broccoli can try this out
- Garlic-Butter Soy-Glazed Mushrooms– This recipe combines the health benefits of mushrooms with the flavorful taste of soy sauce
- Soy Sauce Butter Cabbage– Cabbage can rejoice with this simple recipe
- Honey Soy Chicken Breasts– A tasty and convenient chicken recipe made better with soy sauce
- Spicy soy Sauce– Individuals who want to try something spicy can also try this soy sauce mix
- Homemade Soy Sauce– Those who wish to make their own soy sauce can try this recipe out
- Mushroom with a Soy Sauce Glaze– Another healthy recipe to try out for those who love mushrooms.
- Shoyu Tamago– A delicious recipe that uses eggs and soy sauce
- Soy Sauce Roast Eggplant- An eggplant-based dish that uses soy sauce to enhance the flavor of the recipe.