When we are asked to describe how food tastes, it’s easy to say salty, sweet, sour or bitter. But there is a fifth taste, the other thing we didn’t even know existed. It’s the experience felt through taste that hits the back of our throats, leaving us wanting more. That fifth taste is called umami.
In Asia, soy sauce has been used for centuries as an umami seasoning. The dark, rich sauce is created from a fermentation process in soy beans as it sits in large traditional vests, stirred throughout its two year long fermentation process creating that distinctive, delicious taste.
Today, chefs often mix it with various ingredients such as garlic, ginger and sweeteners such as sugar, honey or fruit extracts giving it depth and richness. You can add scallions, pepper flakes or anything that comes to mind. For over 20 years, I’ve been experimenting with how to make soy sauces more interesting for different cuisines. You can use it to marinate thinly sliced rib eyes, to grill tofu steaks or even use a sweeter but savory version of it to make an Asian fusion pasta. We can use it to create new dishes, sparking curiosity and new found joy for cuisines we didn’t even know we would enjoy.
We invite you to try my Jipbap’s Sauce as we will be sharing more recipes on how you might be able to use it to bring joy and excitement to your home cooking!