Shoyu - usukuchi
Usukuchi Shoyu is different from the usual Kikkoman-style shoyu (koikuchi) that you're used to. Usukuchi shoyu is meant for cooking, not dipping, and is a le...
Usukuchi Shoyu is different from the usual Kikkoman-style shoyu (koikuchi) that you're used to. Usukuchi shoyu is meant for cooking, not dipping, and is a legacy of Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, etc) cuisine. Kansai food is generally seasoned very lightly and reveres subtle flavors that don't mask the flavor of the ingredients. Kanto-style food (representing Tokyo and its surrounding regions) is more seasoned and rich, favoring strong, heavy flavors (relative to Japan). If I had to generalize, I'd say usukuchi shoyu is more aromatic and salty while koikuchi shoyu is more flavorful and umami-rich. Which one is better? Don't ask a group of people from Kansai and Kanto or you'll probably instigate a fight lol, but I like to think they both have their strengths and contexts :) *full disclosure, my family is from Kanto... ;)
Usukuchi shoyu works really well for simmering. The finished product will be imbued with all the flavor of shoyu while retaining its natural color. It's also commonly used for takikomi gohan (rice steamed with veggies), chawanmushi (savory egg custard) and in Kansai, is used to flavor all the soup broths like udon and soba. In general, you can use it to season anything though! Add a splash to chicken stock to really make it sing, add to sautéed veggies to give them a little pop, its perfect to use in marinades too. Using usukuchi shoyu in the place of salt (yes, it has a lower sodium content than salt) will give your food a complexity that will leave your friends wondering when you became such a good cook!
Suehiro shoyu is brewed in the birthplace of the usukuchi style shoyu and their commitment to tradition shows. They use only Japan-grown wheat and soy beans, adding only sea water and koji besides. What makes usukuchi different from koikuchi is the ratio of soy beans to wheat. Usukuchi shoyu are made with more wheat, which results in their lighter color. In order to arrest fermentation earlier (about 3 months in), they add sea water, which is why its a little saltier than a koikuchi.
In general, in Japan, shoyu is used in the place of salt; it's sort of an umami-rich salt. So definitely adjust the amount of salt you add to your dishes if you plan to use shoyu.
From Tatsuno City, Hyogo, Japan
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