Soy saucery: why Kikkoman is the ultimate store cupboard seasoning
Give your meals the umami factor with a splash of Japanese shoyu
Stir-fries. Rice dishes. Meaty glazes. If, like us, you consider yourself a bit of a soy sauce aficionado, you’ll be well aware these foodie staples (plus loads of other meals) can be made ultra-savoury and ultra-delicious with an added splash of the brown stuff. But did you know not all soy sauces are created equal?
It’s true. While most soy sauces are usually chemically produced and only partially brewed, Japanese soy sauce – that’s ‘shoyu’ to the linguists out there – is different.
Kikkoman is one such Japanese soy sauce. We’re sure you’ve noticed it around while browsing the aisles in the supermarket; it’s the one with the sleek glass bottle and easily recognisable red dispenser cap. Unlike other types of soy sauce, Kikkoman is naturally brewed for several months to help its flavour mature and develop like a fine wine. It’s also made with just four ingredients – soy beans, wheat, salt and water – with none of the artificial nasties you’re likely to find in cheaper sauces.
Thanks to the slow fermentation process used to produce Kikkoman soy sauce, it contains high levels of naturally occurring umami: the so-called fifth taste sensation, which detects savouriness. Umami also helps heighten the flavour of other ingredients. So, for example, if you add Kikkoman sauce to a bolognese, it tastes even meatier – and if you drizzle it over a tomato salad it brings out the tomatoey taste. It’s sheer soy saucery.
Not only is Kikkoman the perfect partner for sushi and stir-fries, but it’s also a great all-purpose seasoning; you can use it instead of salt in everything from shepherd’s pie and soup to sauces and salad dressings. Give it a try and you’ll see how the taste of each dish is elevated, without becoming overpowering.
Plus, Kikkoman can also be used in place of both light and dark soy sauces in recipes, which means you only need one bottle in your cupboard (score for space saving).
The history of Kikkoman soy sauce
Kikkoman’s story dates back to the 17th century, when the Mogi family started to make sauce from soy, wheat, water and salt in the Japanese town of Noda. Thanks to the town’s riverside location, the family had easy access to raw materials, and could promptly deliver its products to the expanding city of Edo (which is now known as Tokyo).
The sauce didn’t stay a secret for long, though. Dutch traders stumbled across the family’s “black gold” and brought it to Europe, where it quickly became an established brand.
In 1917, the Mogi and Takanashi families founded Noda Shoyu Co; the company name was changed to Kikkoman Shoyu Co in 1964, and to Kikkoman Corporation in 1980. Today, Kikkoman is the world soy sauce market leader, and the sauce’s special full-bodied flavour is appreciated in more than 100 countries around the globe.
Inspired to use a drop or two of Kikkoman in your next foodie creation? Let us help you get started with some mouth-watering recipes…
Vegan potato and tomato dal with mint chutney
Looking for a dinner to well and truly satisfy your appetite? Well, there's nothing like a thick, delicious dal to send those hunger pangs packing. This lightly spiced vegan dish is made with a not-so-secret ingredient – Kikkoman Soy Sauce – to really fire up the umami factor. And that's not all. It's also topped off with a punchy green chilli, mint and coriander chutney that's seriously moreish.
Halloumi and lentils with lemony soy dressing
It's fresh. It's zesty. It's packed with flavour. It could only be... this delectable halloumi and lentil dish from Kikkoman. If you're after a simple summer recipe that tastes as good as it looks, this wholesome sort-of-salad could well be your new favourite thing – so get your lemons at the ready and prepare to get juicy.
Salmon with soy butter and garlicky greens
During the summer months it can be hard to come up with light meals that don't skimp on flavour – but this salmon dish from Kikkoman ticks all the tongue-tingling boxes. Garlicky, delicious and enriched with traditional Japanese soy sauce, this one's a serious crowd pleaser. Serving suggestion: eat outside.
Spicy tomato and sausage gnocchi with fennel and spinach
Had a long day at the office? Need a good square meal to restore your inner zen? Well, there's nothing more comforting than a hearty, sausage-stuffed pasta dish – and this spicy gnocchi creation from Kikkoman is no exception. The magic ingredient, Japanese soy sauce, gives this Italian-inspired dish a real depth of flavour. And if you don't fancy gnocchi tonight, you can always swap it out for some trusty spaghetti. Trust us, it will be just as delicious.