Soy sauce is a dark, salty fermented condiment made from soybeans, wheat, salt, and water. Originating in China over 2,500 years ago, it has become a staple ingredient in kitchens worldwide due to its rich, savory flavor that adds depth to many dishes. It is widely used in different cuisines and is now popularly consumed worldwide.
Tamari, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce are available varieties of soy sauce. Light soy sauce is thin and salty, while dark soy sauce is thicker and has a richer, more complex flavor. Tamari is a soy sauce made without wheat, and it has a milder, sweeter flavor than other types of soy sauce.
Soy sauce is not only a delicious condiment, but it also has some health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants and contains compounds that help reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol levels. However, like all condiments, soy sauce should be used in moderation, as it is high in sodium.
In this article, we’ll explore seven easy and delicious ways to cook with soy sauce to assist you in incorporating this adaptable ingredient into your culinary techniques.
1. Soups and Stews
Soups and stews are a comforting and hearty way to include soy sauce in your cooking. Soy sauce adds depth and complex flavor to soups and stews, which pairs well with other ingredients such as vegetables, meats, and grains. Additionally, soy sauce is a sustainable soy product that can be used in various soup and stew recipes, from classic chicken noodle soup to spicy beef chili.
Make a soup or stew with soy sauce, sauté onions, garlic, and other aromatics in a pot, add diced vegetables and protein and cook until they are softened and browned on all sides. Then, add stock or broth to the pot, along with any grains.
The combination should be simmered to allow the flavors to mingle and the grains and veggies to become fork-tender. Finally, add a few tablespoons of soy sauce to the pot and stir to combine.
Marinating is a simple and delicious way to cook with soy sauce, as it allows the soy sauce to infuse the meat with its rich, savory flavor. The soy sauce’s salt also aids in tenderizing the beef, making the meal more aromatic and juicy.
Mix soy sauce with additional spices like garlic, ginger, and brown sugar to make a marinade, and then cover the meat with the concoction. Let the steak marinade in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to allow the flavors to permeate the flesh completely. After marinating, the meat can be perfectly cooked on the grill, in the oven, or a sauté.
Stir-frying is a quick and simple method to prepare a nutritious and savory meal, and soy sauce is a key ingredient in many stir-fry recipes. Heat a wok pan over high heat, add oil, then add your preferred veggies and meats to make a stir-fry with soy sauce. Once the vegetables are cooked, add a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and other ingredients to the pan and stir everything together. The soy sauce will coat the vegetables and proteins, giving the food a richer taste.
Stir-fries with soy sauce are a fit and satisfying meal option that can be customized with your favorite ingredients. Whether you prefer a classic beef and broccoli stir-fry or a vegetable stir-fry with tofu, soy sauce is an essential ingredient that will take your dish to the next level.
4. Dipping sauce
Soy sauce can also be a dipping sauce for various dishes, including sushi, spring rolls, and dumplings. Combine soy sauce with rice vinegar, chili flakes and sesame oil to create a tangy and spicy dipping sauce that adds flavor and depth to your favorite appetizers.
In addition, soy sauce can serve as the foundation for dipping sauces like teriyaki or ponzu. Soy sauce dipping sauces are a necessary side dish for each dinner since they are easy to prepare and enhance flavor.
5. Grilled Vegetables
Grilled vegetables are a great way to incorporate soy sauce into your cooking. Soy sauce adds a rich umami taste to vegetables, which pairs perfectly with the charred smokiness from the grill. When making grilled vegetables with soy sauce, it is advisable to start by prepping your vegetables. Slice them into even pieces, brush them with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Then, heat your grill to high heat. Put the veggies on the grill and cook them until they are soft inside and out.
After that, remove the cooked veggies from the grill and put them in a bowl. Drizzle soy sauce over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly. The soy sauce will add a sweet glaze and flavor to the vegetables and help to bring out their natural sweetness.
Soy sauce is a great addition to noodle dishes, including stir-fried noodles, noodle soups, and cold noodle salads. Cook your preferred noodles following the directions on the package, and then combine them with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and other components for a soy sauce-based noodle meal. This results in a delicious meal that can be eaten hot or cold.
Moreover, soy sauce can be the foundation for noodle meals like ramen, udon, or lo mein. Noodles with soy sauce are also a terrific way to use leftover meats and veggies, making them a budget-friendly meal option. Soy sauce is an essential ingredient that will give your noodle dishes flavor and depth, regardless of whether you want spicy peanut noodles or sesame noodles with tofu.
7. Fried Rice
Fried rice is a traditional dish that is straightforward to make and can be tailored to your preferences with different ingredients. Soy sauce, which gives fried rice its salty, spicy flavor, is one of the main components. Start by cooking the rice per the guidelines on the package before preparing the fried rice with soy sauce. Before putting the rice in the fried rice dish, let the rice cool.
Heat a skillet over high heat and add some oil. Add diced vegetables such as onions and carrots, and cook until tender. Then, add cooked rice to the skillet and stir-fry until it is heated. Next, add a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce and mix to absorb. The soy sauce will give the food a deep, salty taste and color while enhancing the fried rice flavors.
Soy sauce is a versatile and delicious ingredient that can be used in various dishes. Whether you’re looking to marinade meat, stir-fry vegetables, or add flavor to your favorite soup or stew, soy sauce is a great way to enhance the flavor of your food. Experiment with these seven easy and delicious ways to cook with soy sauce, and discover new and exciting ways to incorporate this flavorful condiment into your cooking repertoire.