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Soy sauce

Soy sauce (Mandarin: 醬油 pinyin jiàngyóu , Cantonese: 豉油 see yau, Japanese: 醤油 shoyu) is an Asian cooking ingredient made from fermented soybeans. Although there are many types of soy sauce, all are salty and earthy tasting brownish liquids used to season food while cooking or at the table. Soy sauce forms an important part of many Asian cuisines. Different countries make very different soy sauces, and it is rarely appropriate to substitute, say, Chinese soy sauce for Japanese soy sauce. Japanese soy sauce is called shoyu.

Soy sauce comes in two varieties - 'light soy sauce' (生抽), which is a thin lightbrown liquid, and 'dark soy sauce' (老抽) which is essentially the same thing only with caramel added for colouring and thickening. Dark soysauce is used when it is desired that the dish be coloured, or for a dipping sauce.

Soy sauce contains a small amount of naturally occurring MSG. It is also extremely salty, so it is not a suitable condiment for some people. Low-salt versions of soy sauce are produced but it is impossible to make it without using salt in some quantity.

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