The two soy sauces used in soy sauce chow are dark and light. Both are available at the Asian grocery store and we started to see them pop up at mainstream grocery stores as well. Firstly if you are making this dish or any other Chinese dish, you will want to be using Chinese soy sauce. You can use any soy sauce you have at home (even you can use those little packets of Kikkoman that you get with sushi), but if you want a reliable tasting dish, source some Chinese soy sauce, it may do not disappoint you!
Although 3 decades of knowledge pouring soy sauce and it newly got called out for using the wrong type of soy sauce. While writing recipe for Kari’s Shiitake Mushroom Meat Sauce, it started on me that the difference between the dark and light soy sauce is indistinguishable to most people who did not grownup eating Chinese food. Let’s dismiss the unknown and help you figure out whether to the usage of dark or light soy sauce or both.
Light soy sauce is thinner, saltier, and more refreshing than dark soy sauce. Light soy sauce is normally used for dipping sauce and Cantonese-style stir-fries, such as sauce for fried tofu and sushi.
What is “light soy sauce”?
A recipe calls for soy sauce without specifying which type, it mostly like to be light soy sauce.
Light soy sauce is easy to get in non-Asian stores.
- It is used in Cantonese cooking where rich flavors, heavy are de-emphasized in favor of seasonal ingredients and fresh vegetables.
- It is ideal for seasoning eggs, silken tofu, stir-fries, porridge, and other dishes where you want to put salt and some umami flavor without masking another delicate flavor.
- Light soy sauce is thinner and lighter brown than dark soy sauce
- Light soy sauce does not have a rich caramel flavor.
What is “dark soy sauce”?
- Dark soy sauce is designed for heavy stir-fries (for example the Northern Chinese-style stir-fries), stewing (e.g. pork belly), and braising.
- Dark soy sauce deals a bold taste, full-bodied; dark soy sauce is similar to a cabernet sauvignon, and light soy sauce is similar to a pinot grigio.
- Dark soy sauce is denser than light soy sauce and deep brown.
- Dark soy sauce is less salty than light soy sauce with similar to sweet molasses flavor (it typically has sugar added but it is not sweet, just a smaller amount salty than light soy sauce).
Dark soy sauce is flavorful, sweeter, and thicker related to light soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is used for the addition of color to a dish rather than for flavor. You are like to eat dark soy sauce in Northern Chinese stir-fries or Shanghai cooking with cooked “red-cooked” meats.
Advantages of the Jolionfoods’ dark soy sauce
Researchers in Singapore have faith in dark soy sauce that may contain significant health benefits. At the National University of Singapore, scientists initiate that dark soy sauce may contain up to 10 times the antioxidants found in red wine. Dark soy sauce also recovers blood flow, meaning it could help slow down the rate of certain deteriorating diseases. (However, it is better to remember that dark soy sauce don’t have high sodium content, however not as high as light soy sauce).
When do you use both light and dark soy sauce?
The Jolionfoods mushroom sauce recipe is made from both light and dark soy sauce. In roasts, braises, and marinades, it can be usually seen both light and dark soy sauce in the recipe.
You can use both light and dark soy sauce if you want the caramelization and richness of dark soy sauce to give the dish a full-bodied punch. It is a similar effect when you add red wine to braise and stews.
But if you are also looking for the salty umami, crisp that light soy sauce contain. If you have excessively much dark soy sauce, you end up with a heavy sauce that feels devastating after just 3-4 bites.
These soy sauce rules of thumb are made to be broken. I love to add more dark soy sauce to my stir-fries because I love rich and salty flavors.