Soy Sauce-A A +A
By Artie Sy
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
THE triumvirate of the Asian woman's kitchen condiments, especially the Pinays, consists of soy sauce, vinegar and patis. And these three are more or less the basis of most Pinay recipes. With these three you can branch off and do a lot of things.
Soy sauce is a staple condiment and ingredient throughout Asia. Produced for thousands of years, soy sauce is a salty, brown liquid made from fermented soy beans mixed with some type of roasted grain (wheat, barley, or rice are common), injected with a special yeast mold and liberally flavored with salt. After being left to age for several months, the mixture is strained and bottled. The sauce's consistency can range from very thin to very thick. Flavors, too, vary by type and have very subtle differences.
Light soy sauce from Japan has a thinner consistency and a saltier flavor than the darker varieties. It is preferred when a darker sauce will ruin the appearance of a dish, or when a lighter flavor is sought, especially when serving seafood. Dark soy sauce is used throughout Asia and is a bit richer and thicker than the lighter varieties. It tends to have a chocolate brown color, and a pungent, rather than overly salty, flavor. It has a deep, rich flavor and can be used in place of other types of soy sauce in most recipes. It is especially nice as a table condiment where its unusual flavor can come through.
Soy sauced based marinade: Based on the first condiment, soy sauce, so many dishes can be derived. To begin with a marinade, usually a soy sauce of your choice, dark or light, chili pepper, the syrup of the pineapple slices and minced garlic will give you a most delicious marinade.
The base recipe:
• 1/2 cup of rich dark soy sauce
• 1/2 cup of pineapple syrup (from the juice of a tin of slices and you will use the slices in the finished dish)
• 1/2 tablespoon of finely minced garlic or garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon of finely minced onions or onion powder
• 1 teaspoon of chili powder
• 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce or catsup
This marinade will suffice for a kilo of chops of liempo or a cut up kilo of chicken breasts or thinly sliced beef strips or a kilo and a half of boneless bangus.
Marinade the meat or fish for at least an hour. Then either grill or pan-fry the meat or fish. If you wish, grill well and serve with the pineapple slices. That is the base dish.
To elaborate on the dish make the chinese asado. After grilling, set the meats aside and brown a block of soft tofu in hot lard. When brown and toasted, set aside. Slice onion greens and onion bulbs. In a tablespoon of oil brown both. Boil ten quail eggs until hard, peel and set aside. When done put together all the cooked meat, sautéed onions and boiled eggs. In a sauce pan pour in the extra marinade and deglaze pan with about another half cup of syrup. Be sure to adjust consistency of sauce and seasonings. Garnish with pineapple slices, cut up. Decorate the rim of the dish with the half slices and put the meats in the center.
FOR THE FISH
If you don’t want to grill the fish, this is what you do. Very lightly flour the fish and fry it in about an inch of cooking oil until brown and crisp. From there, proceed as in the meats. For the fish, you can also decorate the rim of the dish with the pineapple slices and serve the fish in the center of the dish. Garnish with dried shitake mushrooms (presoaked and sautéed), blanched snow peas and blanched julienned carrots.
This dish is based on the sauce soy marinade. You really can do a million dishes on soy sauce. Let us tackle vinegar and patis in our next columns.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 24, 2012.