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Soy sauce (US) or soya sauce (UK) is a fermented sauce made from soybeans (soya beans), roasted grain, water and sea salt (US will use salt unless otherwise stated). Commonly used in Asian cuisine and in some Western cuisine dishes, especially Worcestershire sauce or Maggi. Authentic soy sauces are fermented with (the mold Aspergillus oryzae or A. sojae), and other related microorganisms. Virtually all soy sauce has some alcohol added during bottling, which acts as a preservative to protect against spoilage. Accordingly, soy sauce should always be kept refrigerated and out of direct light.
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. Although it originated in China, it is used in various cuisines across Asia. In particular, it is an important flavoring in Japanese cuisine. However, Chinese and Japanese soy sauces are substantially different, and it is rarely appropriate to substitute one for the other.
Soy sauce does not contain the beneficial isoflavones associated with other soy products such as tofu or edamame. Soy sauce contains a small amount of naturally occurring MSG. It can also be extremely salty, so it is not a suitable condiment for some people, and should generally be taken in moderation. Low-salt soy sauces are produced, but it is impossible to make soy sauce without using some quantity of salt.
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