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Forget the Stir Fry! How to Cook With Soy Sauce

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Is soy sauce a puzzling ingredient for you? Do you save the one bottle you own for adding some flavor to one of your stir-fries? That seems like a shame because soy sauce can be more than that. It’s time to find out its potential. Unwrap its flavor. And then you’ll cook with soy sauce for the rest of your life.

When I first visited my boyfriend’s house, some years ago, he made the most delicious dip for fries. It was a flavor pack unlike any I had ever tried (making dips is one of his true talents in life). And that was mostly thanks to the soy sauce, which I had never tried in my life until then. And even after the fact I felt a little bit intimidated by that bottle. I didn’t know what to use it with.

Years later... It turns out there are plenty of options. Options of taste, flavor and causing “mmm” interjections after eating. Soy sauce isn’t just for Asian cuisine inspired dishes. Here are some of these options. Just remember when you cook with soy sauce that it's pretty salty, so don't use too much extra sodium.

5 ways to cook with soy sauce

1. In sauces

It can boost the flavors of so many different sauces. Like the dip previously mentioned, which had plenty of herbs, some yogurt, and mayonnaise. It works with the sauces for beef stew, beef stroganoff, and goulash. Are you a big fan of gravy? Then add some soy sauce to it, even if it’s holiday gravy. Dare and your taste buds will be rewarded. And on the gravy/dip note, you can use soy sauce for a new and improved routine.

2. In marinades

Soy sauce contains proteases, a type of enzymes which help break down tough proteins. Which means that the sauce is perfect for adding to your marinades for pork, beef, and salmon. Mix it with some brown sugar, garlic, lemon juice, and pepper. You definitely won’t be sorry! Once the meat finishes cooking, you can use the leftover marinade to make a sauce for it.

Thanks to its saltiness, soy sauce is perfect for marinades for meat and fish.

3. In salad dressings

If you want to cook with soy sauce, use it with lemon juice to make a vinaigrette for a wonderfully balanced salad. Add some garlic in there, vinegar, and olive oil or rapeseed oil and guess what? This is flavorful enough to be a companion piece for a simple bowl of lettuce or other leafy greens. You can also try the dressing with romaine, spinach or kale.

4. In soups

You can slip in a bit of soy sauce in cream soup, like ones made from mushrooms, chickpeas, and potatoes. Don’t forget that soy sauce goes great with meat so if you’re making some beef soup, you just have to add a bit of that sauce. If you’re not making your own soup, then use soy sauce to give some extra taste to blander varieties you buy in a store.

5. With meat

Soy sauce helps make meat taste even meatier. Because it’s rich in glutamates, a natural flavor enhancer. Which means that it’s great when combined with some pork ribs. Or added to chili con carne. Try it when roasting chicken in the oven. Mix it in with ground meat every chance you get. Name the meat and it’s pretty clear that soy sauce will do something good to enhance that meat’s flavor!

Soy sauce really enhances the flavor of any kind of meat you might want to cook.

I’m a pop culture nerd who thinks too much about fried bacon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and life, the Universe and everything. I love food and sometimes you can see that on my hips, but I don't care that much about that.
What I do care more about is trying to eat healthier, even though I admit that I like to indulge in my food fantasies. I’m addicted to puns, so forgive me for that when you read my articles. I now know too much about nutrition to be fun to hang out with. So long and thanks for all the fish-based omega-3 fatty acids.