Before starting with soy sauce, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the basics of soy sauce production. Miyagi and Nomura founded Cabi Foods to make Japanese cooking more accessible to home cooks outside Japan. In doing so, they closely studied the practices of soy sauce makers to help preserve and use their traditional techniques. “We visited different parts of Japan to find different types of soy sauce,” Miyagi says. “Even if you have the same ingredients, the flavors will be different because of how they are made and the wood of the barrels.”

According to Miyagi and Nomura, the art of making soy sauce is not much different from making wine. “We talk a lot about winemakers but we don’t really talk about soy sauce makers,” Nomura says. In fact, there are many similarities – from selecting freshly grown ingredients to diligently monitoring the fermentation process over months. “Most soy sauce makers use a giant machine to steam toasted soybeans and wheat,” Nomura explains.

It’s not always possible to faithfully replicate traditional soy sauce making techniques at home, but there are simple steps you can follow that produce similarly delicious results. It all starts with koji, a type of mold. “Almost everything[in Japanese cuisine]contains koji, which is a beautiful yeast-like creature,” Miyagi says. “It has many health benefits, as it boosts metabolism and reduces stress.”

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