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What Is Light Soy Sauce?

Soy beans.
Sushi is often served with light soy sauce.
Bacon-wrapped scallops with a light soy dipping sauce.
Light soy sauce imparts flavor to Asian noodles and stir-fries.
Light soy sauce has a thinner consistency than dark, and is more commonly used in dipping sauces.
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  • Written By: D. Coodin
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 09 August 2014
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Light soy sauce is a condiment of Chinese origin that is made with fermented soy beans, water, salt and other ingredients. Unlike dark soy sauce, which is a thick variety of soy sauce typically made with caramel and molasses, light soy sauce is thinner and is more commonly used as a dipping sauce than the dark variety. Although light soy sauce usually has a saltier flavor than dark, this is sometimes due to the other ingredients rather than the salt content itself. Consumers who are concerned with sodium intake should always read the nutritional information on soy sauce before purchasing. In addition to acting as a dipping sauce, light soy sauces can be used as seasoning and as a marinade for sushi and other foods.

One of the most common uses for this condiment is as a seasoning in stir-fry dishes. It is typically added to a wok full of stir-fried vegetables such as carrots, broccoli and snow peas, as well as meats, with the amount depending on a cook's particular taste. Light soy sauce can also be combined with other sauces such as oyster, plum, or black bean to make a thicker and more flavorful stir-fry seasoning. Another common use is to sprinkle a few drops over a bed of steamed white or brown rice before serving, giving it some extra flavor.

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Due to its salty and full taste, light soy sauce is a popular choice as a marinade for tofu or noodles. Cooks typically cut tofu into thin strips and soak it in soy sauce either overnight, or few a few hours before cooking. The tofu will absorb the sauce, giving it the salty flavor that many desire. In the same fashion, steamed noodles can be soaked in light soy sauce before being added to a wok or frying pan along with vegetables and meat.

Perhaps the most common use of light soy sauce is as a dipping sauce, in part because it has a smoother, less pungent flavor than its dark counterpart. Diners often dip dumplings in light soy sauce with a small amount of chopped garlic added for flavor. It is also a standard dipping sauce for sushi, a Japanese dish of vegetables and fish wrapped in rice and seaweed. Typically, the soy sauce is combined with a small amount wasabi before a piece of sushi is dipped into it generously.

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Discuss this Article

Wisedly33
Post 2

@Scrbblechick -- I'd say it's a safe bet that the soy sauce we usually find is the light kind.

When I think of "light" soy sauce, I usually think of the lower sodium kind. Kikkoman makes a great low-sodium soy sauce that I use all the time. I like it because the lower sodium content allows the other flavors to come through. I've seen other low-sodium varieties and I think they're becoming more popular as more people are watching their sodium intake for health reasons.

Scrbblchick
Post 1

I wonder if most commercial soy sauce is the light kind, because I don't ever recall pouring anything out of the La Choy bottle that was thick!

If that's the case, I'd like to try dark soy sauce, then. It sounds like it would be good for stir frying. I'll have to get some advice on what to purchase the next time I go to an Asian grocery store, which will certainly have both kinds of soy sauce.

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