Soy sauce and soya sauce – are they the same thing?
It’s a question that many people have asked, and the answer may surprise you.
While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there are some differences between them.
In this article, we’ll explore the origins of soy sauce and soya sauce, their production methods, and their uses in cooking.
So, whether you’re a foodie or just curious about the world of condiments, read on to discover if soy and soya sauce are really the same thing.
Are Soy And Soya Sauce The Same Thing?
Soy sauce and soya sauce are both liquid condiments that are used in cooking and as a condiment. They are made from similar ingredients, including soybeans, wheat, salt, and a fermenting agent. However, there are some differences between the two.
The term “soy sauce” is commonly used in American English, while “soya sauce” is used in British English. In terms of production, soy sauce is traditionally made in China and Japan, while soya sauce is more commonly associated with the United Kingdom.
One of the main differences between soy sauce and soya sauce is their taste. Soy sauce is known for its strong umami flavor, while soya sauce has a milder taste. This is due to the different fermentation processes used to make each sauce.
Soy sauce is made by fermenting a paste of soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds. This process can take anywhere from one month to four years. Soya sauce, on the other hand, is made using a quicker acid hydrolysis method that takes just a few days.
Another difference between the two sauces is their use in cooking. Soy sauce is often used in Asian cuisine as a seasoning for stir-fries, marinades, and dipping sauces. Soya sauce is more commonly used in British cuisine as a condiment for fish and chips or as a flavoring for gravies and stews.
The Origins Of Soy Sauce And Soya Sauce
The origins of soy sauce and soya sauce can be traced back to ancient China. The Chinese originally made a sauce called “jan” by pickling raw materials in salt to preserve them. This sauce had various types, including those made from fruit, vegetables, seaweed, meat and fish, meat only, and grains. The grain type, which used rice, wheat, and soybeans, is considered the archetype of soy sauce.
It is not clear when soy sauce was introduced to Japan, but it is known that “hishio,” a type of fermented and salted food midway between soy sauce and miso paste, was made from soybeans at the hishio institute belonging to the cuisine division of the Imperial Household Agency. The making of miso paste using the Kinzanji method was also begun in Japan during the Kamakura era.
In China, soy sauce was considered a staple condiment dating back to 500 B.C. The process of making soy sauce evolved from the need to preserve meats, vegetables, and grains with salt. Soybeans eventually became the primary ingredient in this combination that came to be known as soy sauce.
Soya sauce, on the other hand, is more commonly associated with British cuisine. The term “soya sauce” is used in British English, and it is made using a quicker acid hydrolysis method that takes just a few days. It is often used as a condiment for fish and chips or as a flavoring for gravies and stews.
Production Methods: How Soy Sauce And Soya Sauce Are Made
Soy sauce and soya sauce are both made from similar ingredients, but the production methods differ. Soy sauce is traditionally made by fermenting a mixture of soybeans, wheat, salt, and a fermenting agent in a process that can take up to six months. The first step in the production of soy sauce is to steam the soybeans, roast the wheat, and then mix them together to create a mixture called koji. Koji mold (Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae) is added to the mixture, and the mixture is incubated for three days to make koji.
Next, the koji is mixed with salt water to create a mash called moromi. Moromi is then transferred to a fermentation tank where it is slowly fermented and matured for a period of six months. During this time, enzymes from the koji mold, yeast, and lactic acid bacteria act on the mixture to create various tastes and flavors.
After fermentation and maturation, the moromi is wrapped in cloths and stacked into many layers. The moromi is then slowly compressed and filtered through the cloths to obtain raw soy sauce liquid called “Kiage.” The raw soy sauce is heat-treated for sterilization and then refined to enhance its color, aroma, and flavor.
In contrast, soya sauce is made using a quicker acid hydrolysis method that takes just a few days. The process involves mixing soy protein with hydrochloric acid under high temperature and pressure. This process breaks down the soy protein into amino acids and other flavor compounds, resulting in a milder taste than traditional soy sauce.
The Flavor Profiles Of Soy Sauce And Soya Sauce
Soy sauce and soya sauce have different flavor profiles that make them distinct from each other. Soy sauce has a strong umami flavor that is balanced with salt, sweetness, and a hint of bitterness. The umami taste comes from the free amino acids produced during fermentation, which combine to form natural monosodium glutamate (MSG). This intense flavor profile makes soy sauce an excellent seasoning for savory dishes.
On the other hand, soya sauce has a milder taste compared to soy sauce. It has a slightly sweet and salty taste with a subtle umami flavor. This is because soya sauce is made using a quicker acid hydrolysis method that doesn’t allow for the same level of fermentation as soy sauce. The result is a more subtle flavor that is well-suited for use as a condiment or in dishes where the deep umami flavor of soy sauce isn’t necessary.
It’s important to note that the type and brand of soy or soya sauce can greatly affect their flavor profiles. There are many varieties of soy and soya sauces available, each with their own unique taste and aroma. Some soy sauces are aged longer than others, resulting in a more intense flavor profile, while some soya sauces may have added ingredients like palm sugar or brown sugar to enhance their sweetness.
Uses In Cooking: How To Incorporate Soy Sauce And Soya Sauce Into Your Dishes
Soy sauce and soya sauce are versatile condiments that can be used in a variety of dishes to enhance their flavor. Here are some ways to incorporate soy sauce and soya sauce into your cooking:
1. As a seasoning for stir-fries: Soy sauce is a staple ingredient in many Asian stir-fry recipes. It adds depth of flavor and saltiness to the dish. To use soy sauce in a stir-fry, simply add it to the wok along with your other seasonings and toss with the vegetables and protein.
2. In marinades: Soy sauce is an excellent ingredient for marinades as it penetrates the food more easily than table salt. Mix soy sauce with other marinade ingredients like ginger, garlic, and rice vinegar to create a flavorful marinade for chicken, beef, or tofu.
3. As a dipping sauce: Soy sauce can be used as a dipping sauce for sushi, dumplings, or other Asian appetizers. Mix soy sauce with fresh ginger, scallions, and rice wine for a delicious dipping sauce that will impress your guests.
4. In gravies and stews: Soya sauce is commonly used in British cuisine as a flavoring for gravies and stews. It adds depth of flavor and a savory note to the dish. Add soya sauce to your favorite gravy or stew recipe for an extra kick of flavor.
5. As a condiment: Soya sauce is often used as a condiment in British cuisine, particularly with fish and chips. Drizzle soya sauce over your fish and chips for a delicious twist on this classic dish.
No matter how you choose to use soy sauce and soya sauce in your cooking, be sure to taste as you go to achieve the perfect balance of flavors. With these tips, you’ll be able to incorporate soy sauce and soya sauce into your dishes like a pro!
Nutritional Value: Comparing Soy Sauce And Soya Sauce
When it comes to nutritional value, there are some differences between soy sauce and soya sauce. Soy sauce is high in salt, providing 38% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) in just one tablespoon (15 ml). It also contains more than 300 compounds that contribute to its flavor and aroma, including alcohols, sugars, amino acids like glutamic acid, and organic acids like lactic acid. Soy sauce is also a source of manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B3, iron, potassium, and vitamin B2.
In comparison, soya sauce has a milder taste and lower sodium content. One tablespoon of soya sauce contains only 16 mg of sodium, which is less than 1% of the RDI. Soya sauce also contains fewer nutrients than soy sauce. It is a source of calcium and potassium but does not contain significant amounts of other vitamins or minerals.