soy sauce


This extremely important ingredient in Asian cooking is a dark, salty sauce made by fermenting boiled soybeans and roasted wheat or barley. Although there is essentially one main type of soy sauce widely made in the United States, China and Japan produce a number of varieties ranging in color from light to dark and in texture from thin to very thick. In general, light soy sauce is thinner and saltier than its dark counterpart. Its flavor and color is also lighter, and it may be used in dishes without darkening them. Dark soy sauce is slightly thicker than light soy sauce but generally not as salty. It has a richer flavor and color (which is usually darkened with caramel). Chinese black soy is extremely dark and thick, a result obtained from the addition of molasses. The Japanese tamari is very similiar—thick, rich and extremely dark. Unless otherwise indicated on the label, soy sauce may be kept for many months in a cool, dark place. There are also many low-sodium or "lite" soy sauces available on the market. Soy sauce is used to flavor soups, sauces, marinades, meat, fish and vegetables, as well as for a table condiment.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

Keep Reading

Next Up

New Spins on a Pantry Staple: 5 Uses for Soy Sauce

Get top recipes for soy sauce-based greens, salad, pulled pork and more dishes from the cast of Food Network's The Kitchen.

Soy: How Healthy Is It?

Soy isn’t just found in edamame and tofu, it’s in a variety of foods that you might not be aware of. Here’s some helpful info on the different forms of soy and why some kinds may be better for you than others.

Soy and Your Health

Discover the benefits and controversies surrounding soy.

Coconut, Almond, Soy or Hemp? Your Guide to Dairy Alternatives

A breakdown of the nutrients present in the various dairy alternatives, and some commentary on the continued increase in popularity of soy-free options like coconut milk.

Miso-Honey Glazed Salmon With Orange and Soy

Miso is a Japanese flavor base used in soups, dressings, sauces, marinades and glazes.Use it to make Robin Miller's Miso-Honey Glazed Salmon with Orange and Soy.

Food Fight!: Soy Nut Butter vs. Sunflower Seed Butter

Which of these alterna-nut butters is the superior pick? Just in time for the back-to-school season, two sandwich spreads battle it out.

The Soy Controversy: Is It Good for Your Heart?

Can soy be part of a heart-healthy diet? Our resident dietitian breaks down the latest news.

Get Sauced: Celebrate National Sauce Month

We’ve rounded up Food Network's favorite savory and sweet sauces, so that you can add finishing touches to your chicken, seafood and dessert dishes with ease.

Make a Boozy Sauce

You don't have to be a chef to look cool in the kitchen: Fire up your pan with these sauces.

Improve Your Sauce

Swirl a few tablespoons of cold butter into a pan sauce before you serve it—you'll be amazed by how it improves the texture.