When it comes to cooking most delicacies condiments are needed. You need that taste, and aroma that you wouldn’t get without the condiments. One of the condiments that have become a staple ingredient for many delicacies is soy sauce. In Asian countries, soy sauce is unavoidable. It’s used in preparing a lot of their cuisines. This is an ingredient that’s very flavorful and gives your food a better taste. It’s made from wheat and fermented soybeans. Soy sauce is sure one good condiment for cooking. But for some time now, people are on the lookout for sauces they can use to replace soy sauce. Due to some reasons that we will be looking at later on.
Soy sauce originated in China. And this has been used for cooking for more than 1000 years. Now, it’s known to be one of the best soy products used for cooking. The thing though is that the way it’s prepared causes some changes in texture and flavor. Also, people say that there are certain health risks associated with consuming soy sauce. Well, we’ll be looking at the different health risks associated with using soy sauce over a long period. We’ll take a look at some of the risks involved in using soy sauce as we go on.
What is Soy Sauce?
This is a liquid condiment that’s salty. This is produced by fermenting wheat and soybeans. There are 4 basic ingredients used in making soy sauce and they are salt, wheat, soybeans and other fermenting agents such as yeast and mold. Different regions have different combinations as to the amount of these ingredients. And this is why there are different flavors and colors of soy sauce.
There are different types of soy sauce. And these different types are made in different ways. That’s why the taste and flavors of soy sauce differ. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of soy sauce.
- Dark soy sauce: This happens to be the most common type that is sold. It has a very strong aroma and is reddish-brown in color.
- Light soy sauce: This has more soybeans and a small amount of wheat. Its aroma is much milder and it is also lighter in appearance.
- Tamari: This type is made more form soybeans. Just about 10% or less is gotten from wheat. It’s darker in color but does not have an aroma.
- Sashiko: This is made by using enzymes to break down wheat and soybeans. It’s done in an unheated soy sauce in replacement of saltwater. The taste is heavier and many people use it as a dipping sauce.
- Shiro: This is made with a larger percentage of wheat. Just a small percentage of soybeans is used. And it’s really light in color.
How is Soy Sauce Made?
There are two known methods for preparing soy sauce. The first one is the traditional production and the second is chemical production.
In this method, the soy sauce is made by first soaking soybeans in water. The wheat is then roasted and crushed. Then both the soybeans and the wheat are now mixed with mold. It is left for about 2-3 days for it to grow. After that water and salt are added to the whole mixture. And it is left in the fermenting tank for about 5-8 months.
During the fermentation process, enzymes begin to act on wheat and soy. Enzymes break them down into amino acids. Also, the starches present are broken down. They are first broken down into simple sugars. Then after that, they are fermented to form lactic acid and alcohol.
After waiting for months, the mixture is poured onto a cloth. And then it’s pressed down. This is to release the liquid from the mixture. After that, the liquid gotten is pasteurized. The purpose of this is to get rid of bacteria. Thereafter, it’s bottled up for use.
Soy sauces that are of high-quality use only natural fermentation process.
This process is a lot faster and at the same time cheaper. In this method, acid hydrolysis is used. And within a few days, you would be able to get soy sauce.
Soybeans are heated to about 80 degree Celsius and then mixed with HCL. This process helps break down proteins. The end result isn’t as nice as the one gotten from the traditional process. And the aroma and color aren’t as good. That’s why in this process flavor, salt and extra color are included in the end result.
Also, this process produces certain compounds. And some of these compounds are not suitable for the body. As they could harm the body.
The thing though is that this type is quite common. Many food stores use this when they provide soy sauce for customers.
What Can You Replace Soy Sauce With?
For some reason, people want replacements for soy sauce. One reason is that soy is a major component of soy sauce. And many people are allergic to soy. Also, it contains gluten. And many people are also gluten intolerant and have celiac disease. And the third reason is that it’s very high in sodium.
Here’s a list if you opt to replace soy sauce.
Coconut Amino Sauce
This sauce is gluten-free and soy-free. It’s one good replacement for soy sauce. It’s made from the sap of coconut trees. This sauce just contains 90mg of sodium which is lesser than that of soy sauce. It also contains almost all amino acids needed by the body. The only thing though is that it’s a bit expensive and not that easy to find.
Red boat fish sauce
It’s made from wild-caught anchovies. Red boat fish sauce is gluten-free and also doesn’t contain soybeans. It’s a good choice for enhancing the taste of your food. It’s quite high in sodium so it might be a good choice for you if you’re trying to reduce sodium intake.
This is one sauce that’s found in many stores. It also doesn’t contain gluten or soy. If you are using it as a soy sauce replacement make sure you mix it with water. You can mix 3 tablespoons of this sauce with a tablespoon for water. That would make about one-quarter of a cup of soy sauce.
Maggi seasoning sauce
Here is a sauce that is common in Europe. Many people use this sauce for just about any dish. But this also contains soy but doesn’t contain wheat. So if you’re allergic to wheat this would be a good option for you.
Soy sauce is a good condiment for making cuisines. It sure gives that aroma and taste that you want. But if you’re allergic to either soy or gluten then it wouldn’t be a good idea to opt for. Instead, opt for sauces listed above that you can use to replace soy sauce.