THERE ARE SIX MAIN EFFECTS
Soy sauce is not just for Japanese food, it’s used for all kinds of cooking. Whether it’s for precooking, cooking, or finishing touches, adding just a little soy sauce makes a meal taste far better. It’s surprising that there is a solid scientific basis for that fact, and that the cooking methods passed down through history are all justified. These are the main effects of soy sauce, which you can use to make it even more powerful.
1. Deodorizing effect
Putting soy sauce on sashimi before you eat it is not just for the taste. It is also very effective in eliminating odor. The “soy sauce rinse” that is a precooking technique in Japanese cooking makes use of this effect to remove the odor of fish and meat.
2. Heating effect
The appetizing smells of broiled eel or yakitori skewers come from the aromatic substance aromatic substances, produced by an aminocarbonyl reaction on heating. In this reaction, the amino acids in soy sauce react with sugar, and with the sugar content of mirin and other ingredients. The aminocarbonyl reaction also helps to produce beautiful browning. Teriyaki and other dishes produced by the color and fragrance of soy sauce do actually make use of this reaction.
3. Disinfection effect
Soy sauce includes appropriate amounts of constituents such as salt, alcohol, and organic acids, so it has the effect of killing coliform bacteria or stopping their reproduction. Soy sauce pickles and ingredients boiled in soy sauce make use of this effect to stay fresh longer.
4. Contrast effect
For example, a little soy sauce as the finishing touch to sweet boiled beans really brings out their sweetness. The contrast effect means that if one taste is strong and the other is very faint, the dominant taste is felt much more strongly. It’s the same effect as a pinch of salt on sweet bean desserts.
5. Inhibiting effect
Adding soy sauce to strongly salty foods like oversalted pickles or salted salmon can suppress the salt taste. It works because the organic acids contained in soy sauce have the effect of softening the salty flavor. The inhibiting effect means that when two tastes are mixed, one or both of them is weakened.
6. Synergistic effect
When the glutamic acid in soy sauce works together with the inosinic acid in shaved bonito, they generate a deep umami. The synergistic effect means that when two tastes are mixed, both tastes are greatly reinforced. Tsuyu sauces for soba (buckwheat noodles) and for tempura are examples.