Chinese Soy Sauce



Chinese Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a fermented liquid made from soybeans, wheat, salt and water. It is an essential ingredient in Chinese cuisine and is used both as a condiment and during the cooking process. It gives depth of flavour to marinades, stir-fry sauces and slow-braised meat dishes. This beginner’s guide will explain what Chinese soy sauce is, how it can be used, and how to find the right soy sauce for the dishes you make.

Types of soy sauce

The most common types are light, dark and sweet soy sauce. Light soy sauce has a salty, savoury taste that is rich in umami. It is typically used in dipping sauces, marinades and to season stir-fries and noodle dishes. Dark soy sauce is thicker than light soy sauce and is used to add colour to slow-cooked stews and braised meat dishes. It can also be combined with light soy to find the perfect balance between flavour and colour for your dish. Sweet sauce is thicker in texture and has a sweet-salty flavour that works well in fried rice, noodle dishes and dipping sauces. It is known as kecap manis in Indonesia and black soy sauce in Thailand.

How to use soy sauce in cooking

Soy sauce is a staple in many Asian kitchens. It can be used both as an ingredient and as a condiment. In addition, soy sauce has a long shelf life, so it doesn't need to be refrigerated and can last for years. When cooking with soy sauce, you should use it sparingly because it is very salty. Here are some ideas for using soy sauce in your kitchen:

- Season stir-fries, fried rice and noodle dishes
- Combine with vinegar and chilli oil for a tasty dumpling dip
- Use dark soy to add colour and depth to slow-cooked pork and beef stews
- Add a dash to soups and Asian-inspired salad dressings
- Use light soy in marinades for meat, fish and vegetables before grilling
- Mix with honey to glaze barbecued meat or pan-fried fish

Learn more about how to use soy sauce in cooking in our South East Asian recipes.

Difference between Chinese and Japanese soy sauce

Japanese soy sauce is also called shoyu. It has a thinner consistency than Chinese soy sauce and a lighter, sweeter taste. This is due to the fact that it uses the whole soybean whereas Chinese soy sauce only uses the bean’s hulls. Due to this difference, Japanese soy sauce is perfect for dipping sushi while Chinese is more commonly used in cooking sauces and marinades. Learn more about the difference between Chinese and Japanese soy sauce.

Read our buyer's guide to discover the perfect soy sauce for whatever you're cooking.