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Soy Sauce Desserts

Sweet Uses for Salty Condiment

Soy sauce is a versatile traditional condiment used in a wide range of Japanese dishes. Made by slowly fermenting and aging soybeans, it has a rich flavor and distinctive aroma. Although it has a famously salty taste, chocolate and other sweets flavored with soy sauce have hit the market and are enjoying something of a boom. These treats have a flavor that is best described as being “salty-sweet.” The combination of sugar and soy sauce is not unusual in Japanese cuisine, and the innovative use of soy sauce in sweet desserts is garnering many fans.


Soy sauce gelato with soy sauce wafers. ©kamebishi Co, Ltd. (Lamaison kamebishi)

Established Producers Branch Out
Kagawa, a prefecture on the island of Shikoku, is dotted with soy sauce breweries, and recently even long-established producers from the region have been putting new soy sauce products on the market. Kamebishi Co., for example, has been in business since 1753. The company’s new product, Soy Chocolat, has stirred considerable interest since going on sale. It combines Belgian chocolate with a light, freeze-dried soy sauce that has been aged for three years. The company also makes several unusual flavors of gelato, including soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and moromi (unfiltered soy sauce produced during the manufacturing process). It also sells parfaits made with these gelatos, which can be topped with soy sauce-flavored wafers in the style of rice crackers.


Heiwado Shodoshima Crème Caramel.

There is also an experiment underway to spur economic development in rural communities with soy sauce sweets. Shodoshima is a small island that is part of Kagawa Prefecture. In the course of a nationwide campaign to publicize the soy sauce for which it is known, the island initiated a project to develop soy sauce-flavored crème caramel, which has now hit the market. Heiwado Shodoshima Crème Caramel was created through a process of trial and error as the participants in the project attempted to figure out how to preserve the aroma of soy sauce and temper the salty aftertaste. The soy sauce used in the pudding is a low-sodium variety from an established maker founded more than 100 years ago. The product’s reputation grew via the Internet and word of mouth, and at peak periods 5,000 of the crème caramels are ordered in a month.

Soy Sauce for Ice Cream
There are many other kinds of soy sauce confections, including soy sauce specially brewed for use on ice cream. Simply by pouring this sauce over your ice cream, you can enjoy an entirely new flavor. Several companies make this type of sauce, such as Yamakawa Jozo, a soy sauce manufacturer based in Gifu Prefecture. The company’s ice cream sauce has become a big hit among consumers nationwide, who can order it on line. The thick syrup is poured on top of ice cream; when it is mixed in, the ice cream takes on a caramel-like flavor. Another popular production is an ice cream soy sauce made by Yamato Soysauce & Miso Co., a manufacturer established in 1911. With sugar and thick malt syrup for extra sweetness, it is perfect for those who are fond of a rich textured soy sauce flavor.


Nanaotorii Soy Sauce Roll Cake.

Chef Tsujiguchi Hironobu, a renowned pastry chef at a Japanese sweets shop of Waraku Beniya has created the Nanaotorii Soy Sauce Roll Cake, made with a heavy two-year-old soy sauce, a soft spongy dough, and custard cream. The cakes have a delicate soy sauce aroma that, combined with their mild sweetness, yields a subtle taste reminiscent of caramel.

Soy Sauce has become one of essential kitchen items along with Japanese cuisine; it is already a familiar flavor to many people outside Japan. Perhaps soy sauce desserts, too, will one day enjoy the same level of popularity. (October 2008)