I remember when I was in elementary school, I would bring the lunches my mom made me in bento boxes decorated with Disney and Sanrio characters. These pretty plastic boxes were my pride and joy. But as I started eating, the comfort food I usually ate at home without hesitation became something I was hyper-aware of as those around me brought out their white bread sandwiches with chocolate toppings. cucumber and cheese.
They asked me what my food was. I would respond with an attempt to translate from Japanese to English. Why was my food different from other people’s? I remember coming home and crying to my mother because she wanted to have the food from the school cafeteria instead of what she was packing. I was embarrassed by her food, but she didn’t get mad at me. She agreed, even though it was more expensive, and I had school dinners for the rest of elementary and high school. It seems that when we are children, we easily become ungrateful for things we should value.
However, when I was in grade 12, the appreciation for Asian culture – and the food that went with it – became widespread. Those same people who had white bread for lunch would go to Chinatown on weekends and eat Dim-Sum. These same people now watch anime and ask me how to cook the Asian recipes I cook. And I feel happy and proud of my culture but also regretful that I was ashamed of it when I was younger.
I forgive myself my unreasonable shame by remembering that I never gave up my inheritance. Even though I desperately tried to hide it at school, at home, I was still in love with my culture. Although I ate cafeteria food for lunch, when I opened the kitchen cupboard to cook myself a meal at home, I knew I would always see a bottle of soy sauce for sure. The 1 liter bottle with the bright red cap was hard to miss when scanning my eyes over the contents of the shelf. It was and still is the holy grail of my cooking. My family took turns cooking meals for everyone, and that was the better feel when my parents told me that what I had cooked was good.
Does anything taste bland? Just add a drop of soy sauce. His versatility definitely saved me from starving in college.
Soy sauce costs around £7 for the liter bottle from Tesco. But buying an ingredient you’re not used to in bulk can be daunting, right? Don’t worry, after reading this article you will have 3 different meals to use soy sauce in.
List of ingredients :
- Chicken thighs (thigh meat is juicier and definitely better than breast when making teriyaki chicken!).
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (if you want an alternative, you can use apple cider vinegar.) I apologize if shopping for this ingredient can be intimidating, but it really is important! If you don’t know where you can buy it, they sell it at Seoul Plaza in Cannon Park.
- 1/2 tablespoon of honey or sugar!
- Oil (sesame is best but you can honestly use some).
- Garlic, ginger and spring onions for garnish (optional but really nice).
- I also like to put chili oil like Lao Gan Ma Crispy Chili Oil, but that’s optional too! It still gives depth to the dish!
Add whatever you want on the side! I usually eat it with rice and then fry or boil vegetables, so it’s a balanced meal.
The cooking method is really simple and quick.
- Add oil to the skillet.
- Cook the chicken with the garlic and ginger.
- When the chicken is cooked, add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Or however much soy sauce to evenly distribute over the chicken. However, note that sometimes too much soy sauce can be very salty!
- Add a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar and half a tablespoon of honey or sugar.
- Add 100ml of water.
- Simmer for 3-5 minutes. It should gradually become thicker and stickier.
- Finally, add the chili oil and spring onion!
Avocado Soy Sauce Salad
OK! Avocado can be expensive so it might be a bit overpriced. But I think when you feel like indulging, this is a great recipe to use.
- 1 avocado
- 1 cucumber
- Cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Black pepper
- Red pepper, spring onions, sesame seeds, mayonnaise, egg (optional)
I usually eat it with rice (because I love rice) but you can also put it on toast!
- First, we’ll start with the sauce. In a tupperware or dish add 1/2 cup soy sauce (8 tablespoons), 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon sugar, squeeze half a lemon (or 3 tablespoons lemon juice ), black pepper and (optional) finely chopped red peppers, spring onions and sesame seeds.
- Cut the avocado into strips, the cucumber into cubes and half of the cherry tomatoes.
- Add all three to the sauce and stir gently, making sure the sauce covers all surfaces of the vegetables.
- Leave to marinate for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Add it over rice, and you can also serve it with a fried egg and drizzle with mayonnaise!
Fried rice with soy sauce
It’s a quick and simple dish that can be used as a side dish or as a main course if you add vegetables and chicken.
- Rice – I use basmati because I didn’t particularly have sticky rice in college. It works just as well in my opinion.
- Soya sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- Butter (or sesame oil)
- 2 beaten eggs
- spring onion
- Optional ingredients that I think would blend well: cubed chicken, diced peppers, diced onions.
- Start by frying the cubed chicken, diced peppers and diced onion. Then put it aside.
- In the skillet, add the butter and brown the egg. Lightly scramble the egg until the bottom is cooked but the top remains runny.
- Add the cooked rice and add the soy sauce and a tablespoon of sugar. If you are unsure how much soy sauce to add, add enough to give the rice a medium brown color.
- Add green onions and cooked chicken, bell pepper and onion.
And There you go!
I encourage you to try these recipes yourself as they are really delicious and easy to make. Soy sauce is a staple in most Asian cuisines and if you don’t want to spend the money eating at restaurants like Wagamama, you should take the time to try these recipes! There are also plenty of recipes to find online so you can create authentic Asian cuisine.