Discover More about the Ingredients
Soy sauce (shōyu) is made from soybeans, wheat, salt and kōji mold (aspergillus oryzae). Steamed soybeans are mixed with roasted wheat, kōji mold is added and the mixture is left for two to three days to let the kōji culture develop. Salt water is then added, and the entire mixture is left in a fermenting tank for six months to two years to brew. The fermented mixture is pressed to separate the liquid soy sauce from the solids. Umami and aroma develop with the power of kōji mold.
Each type of soy sauce – koikuchi soy sauce (dark-colored), usukuchi soy sauce (light-colored), and tamari soy sauce (made using soybeans only) – varies depending on the ingredients and the length of the aging period. Koikuchi soy sauce is commonly used in cooking. Different regions in Japan prefer different kinds of soy sauce.
Tamari soy sauce, which has been aged for over a year, and koikuchi soy sauce, often used in cooking, go well with sushi. Tamari soy sauce is made only using soybeans and is characterized by its strong flavor and umami.
The first step is to make sake using polished and steamed rice, rice kōji and yeast. Rice vinegar is then made from the sake. Acetic acid bacteria (mother of vinegar) is added to the sake, and this mixture is fermented and aged for about 1 to 4 months. The longer the aging period, the more mellow the taste.
There are about 4,000 varieties of vinegar in the world, and vinegar can be made by fermenting any kind of alcohol. Grain vinegars and fruit vinegars are two typical examples. Wine vinegars use grapes instead of rice, and can be made from wine, similar to how rice vinegar is made from sake.
Vinegar Benefits Suggested by Fermentation Experts:
・Can be used as a preservative
・Improves liver and digestive health
・Helps with recovery from exhaustion
・Cleanses and tones the skin
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