Soy / Soya - A Holy Food
Soya sauce is perhaps the most easily identified soy product ever perhaps even more than soya bean itself. It is an integral part of Chinese cuisine and adds its unique flavour to food.
As its names suggests soy sauce is made from soya beans. Soy sauce has a hoary past dating back to over two thousand years ago when it was a salty paste. It is one of the oldest known sauces worldwide.
Soya sauce is made using soya beans. Mixed grains like rice, wheat or barley are also used as ingredients. It is fermented for several months. It is inoculated with Aspergillus Oryzae. After it has aged sufficiently the mixture is strained and bottled. This is how traditional soy sauce is prepared.
It is also prepared by a shorter method called acid hydrolysis, where synthetic equivalents are obtained. These lack the unique flavour of the naturally fermented soya beans.
There are two types of soya sauce the light one and the dark one. The light soya sauce is lighter in colour and aged for a shorter period of time. It has a more salty flavour and is used in cooking. The darker sauce is used more to marinate and for meat dishes where a darker colour is more acceptable.
When mushroom or brine base shrimps are added two new flavours namely mushroom soya sauce and shrimp soya sauce are the resultant products. At present low salt equivalents of soy milk are also available.
Different counties in the far East have developed their own country specific sauce. Today the following countries have their own equivalents of the ubiquitous soy sauce.
Chinese Soya Sauce
Hawaiian Soya Sauce
Indonesian Soya Sauce
Malaysian Soya Sauce
Japanese Soya Sauce
Taiwanese Soya Sauce
Korean Soya Sauce
Vietnamese Soya Sauce
Filipino Soya Sauce
The best soya sauces are undoubtedly those that are imported from China.
Soy and its products are good for health. However as with other foods, it should be consumed in optimum quantities to maintain good health.