ALL ABOUT SOY SAUCE – history and production method

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Soy sauce is an East Asian liquid condiment, widely used in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other south-east Asian cuisines. The sauce is made from fermented soya beans. Soy sauce was first originated in China during the Zhou dynasty in around 1000 BCE. During that time it was known as jiang, and made from fermenting meat, fish or grain.

During the Han dynasty, the Jiang was only made of soybean, because of its wide availability, and it was more like a paste than a liquid sauce. It was known as douchi. This douchi evolved and came to known as jiangyou, during the Song dynasty in the 9th century AD. In the 13th century AD, Buddhist monks took this sauce to Japan. And Japanese food culture widely adopted it and even spread to other neighbouring countries like Korea and Vietnam. The word soy sauce also derived from the Japanese word, shoyu.

Meanwhile, in China, Jiangyou was more refined in the 12th and 13th century AD. By the early 16th century AD, soy sauce became one of the most important condiments in Chinese cooking. Furthermore, different varieties were prepared from light soy to dark soy and soy having molasses consistency (known as kecap manis). These varieties were used according to the food preparation all around east Asia. In the 18th century AD, European traders took soy to the western world and in the west, the soy sauce was blended to make more complex sauces like Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce and many more.

Fermentation tank of soy sauce
Fermentation pot of soy sauce | Source – Gettyimages


Making of Soy sauce 

1. Koji mixture

First, the soya beans are cooked properly, and malted wheat is mixed with the soya beans in an incubator. Then koji moulds (aspergillus sojae or aspergillus oryzae) are added to the incubator and the mixture is incubated for three days

2. Making Moromi

The koji mixture is then mixed with brine(concentration of 17-19%). This mixture is known as moromi, then the moromi is transferred to fermentation tanks. 

3. Fermentation and Maturation

The moromi is then fermented and matured in the fermentation tanks for about six months. During this time koji enzymes, yeast and lactic acid bacteria create various flavours and taste

4. Filtration 

After fermentation and maturation, moromi is filtrated by wrapping the mixture in cloth and pressed to separate liquid from solid soy mass. The soy solid is known as kiage and use as fodder. And the liquid goes to the heating tank for further processing. 

5. Heating treatment and Refining

In the heating tank, the liquid is heat-treated to create more complex flavours of the soy, also heat treatment enhances the aroma and colour of the sauce. And then it is sterilized. After the heat treatment is done, soy is inspected according to the standards. After inspection, it is ready for bottling. 

750 years old Production method of Soy sauce

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