Naturally brewed soy sauce adds that delicious fifth taste, “umami”, that holy grail of palates everywhere. ‘Umami’ enhances flavour adding a perfect balance and complexity to food. This ancient Chinese concoction comes in various tastes and flavours but the three most common are light, dark and thick soy sauce.

Light soy sauce is satisfyingly salty and with a thin, light red brown colour and opaque look. The Chinese usually use light soy sauce for dips, marinating ingredients, dressings and stir-fry food.

Dark soy sauce is dark due to a longer ageing process. The texture is thicker and it tastes less salty. Think of using dark soy sauce to “colour” your dish. The Chinese and Taiwanese tend to add it to stew style dishes, like red-braised pork. The dark soy sauce enriches the dish with a caramel colour and sweetness.

Thick soy sauce is the thickest in texture, with a sweet taste and great for stir fry food, braised dishes and even thicker stew like curries. Oyster sauce is a great as substitute if you can’t find the real deal.

Here are Served’s six ways with Soy Sauce. But don’t stop here. There are so many ideas out there some worth a try. So, start with these and then root around online for more inspiration.

1) Baste and roast

Use soy sauce as a baste for ribs or a beef roast to add a richer taste and deep colour. Brush onto a chicken before and during roasting to add flavour, crispy skin and the best browning.

2) Take stock

Use soy sauce in stock instead of salt – it’s a great way to create more depth of flavour in soups, stews and casseroles.

3) Pimp your pumpkin

Glaze wedges of pumpkin with a mixture of soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce. Bake until golden. Serve as an original side or on a salad bed.

4) Saucy white stuff

Add a splash of soy sauce when making a béchamel. That small amount will lift the nuttiness and creaminess of this classic white sauce.

5) Sticky saucy soy

Make marmalade with January oranges and mix it with soy sauce and brush the mixture over chicken or lamb. Roast, basting with the mixture, until cooked through.

6) Gravy giveaway

Add instant rich flavour to your gravy, with a good glug of soy sauce. Simply add 1/4 tsp soy sauce for every 1/4 cup of water.

Ok we couldn’t stop at six so here are another six

7) Not soy nuts

Try this for a quick tasty snack. Toss unsalted cashew nuts with soy sauce and chilli powder and roast until golden.

8) Pizza perfection

Apparently, soy sauce complements the yeasty flavour of dough. Brush it onto rolled pizza dough or bought pizza or focaccia base before adding toppings and baking.

9) Sauce for the brownies

Add 2 tsp soy sauce to a chocolate brownie mixture before baking to intensify the flavours. This is unbelievably true.

10) Grill till golden

Pineapple and savoury flavours enjoy a great marriage. Drizzle pineapple slices with a mixture of soy sauce and honey and pop under the grill until golden and just warm.

11) Poach January blues away

For a clean healthy meal after the Christmas debauchery, poach a chicken breast in a mixture of soy sauce and water using 1 cup soy sauce for every litre of water. Add ginger, kaffir lime and lemongrass and poach away.

12) Sweet sweet Soy

Enhance the sweet flavour of baked cakes and muffins by adding 2-3 tsp soy sauce to the mixture.

More food articles here