> Korean Fermented Foods > Stories of Korean Source
by Menufacturing Method
Traditional soybean sauce
To make traditional Korean soybean sauce,
meju (fermented soybeans) must be made first. To make meju,
boil soybeans and mash them before they cool down. Shape
mashed soybeans into round or rectangular lumps and dry
the lumps for 2-3 days. When cracks appear in the surface
of the lumps, tie them with rice-straw ropes and keep at
27-28degrees Celcius for 2 weeks. During this period, enzymes
multiply inside and outside the lumps (Bacillus subtilis
and Bacillus pumilus inside, Aspergillus and Mucor outside).
Thus, the soybeans are fermented. Dry the fermented lumps
under the sun. Wash dried meju lumps and drain off water
from them. Put them in an earthenware jar and pour brine
over them until the lumps begin to float. Filter out impurities
from the lumps. Put "soot" (Korean charcoal made by burning
wooden pieces), jujubes, and hot peppers into the jar. Keep
the jar in a place exposed to the sun so have the lumps
become more fermented. Wait 40-50 days for maturing. Ladle
the liquid out of the jar and boil it until it is reduced
to the desired volume. This final product is called "soybean
Improved soybean sauce
Pure micro-organisms are used for this
soybean sauce. Mix cooked, defatted soybeans and roasted
wheat flour in equal amounts and add Aspergillus oryzae.
Keep the mixture in a fermentation room at 30 degrees Celcius
(plus or minus 3). Control the temperature and humidity
for Aspergillus oryzae to grow and proliferate well. Mix
the mixture with 18-21 Be brine and put the mixture into
a tank. Keeping the temperature at a stable level, ferment
and mature the mixture for 6 months. Press the mixture using
a presser to separate the liquid from the solid. The liquid
is called "raw soybean sauce." Add saccharine, sterilize,
and filter out impurities to make "improved soybean sauce."
Chemical soybean sauce
Chemical soybean sauce can be made in a
short time by hydrolyzing protein with acid. Its taste and
flavor are not as good as those of regular soybean sauce,
but it is inexpensive.
Thick Soybean Sauce
Being preserved for over 5 years, thick
soybean sauce tastes sweet and has a dark color. It is used
in seasoning Yaksik (steamed glutinous rice mixed with honey,
dates and chestnuts) and Jeonbokcho (a dish of chopped abalones
boiled in oil and soybean sauce).
Medium Soybean Sauce
Medium soybean sauce is preserved for 3-4
years and is used in seasoning stews or vegetables.
Light Soybean Sauce
Being preserved for 1-2 years, light soybean
sauce is soft and light in color. It is used in seasoning
Japanese soybean sauce
This sauce is made from the mixture of
soybeans and starch. It uses fungi for fermenting.
Korean soybean sauce
This sauce is made from soybeans only,
without starch. It is fermented by enzymes growing in the
Fish soy sauce
This sauce is made from fish bodies or
intestines. It is fermented and matured by enzymes present
in itself, without using micro-organisms. Fish sauce is
little used in Korea, except for southern coastal areas,
but it is commonly used in South-east Asian countries.
Acid-resolved soybean sauce
Amino acid is produced by hydrolyzing gluten,
a by-product of defatted soybeans and wheat flour, after
adding a certain amount of hydrochloric acid to it. Amino
acid is neutralized to pH 4.8-5.2 with a neutralizer (Na2CO2)
and filtered to separate the liquid from the solid. This
liquid is "acid-resolved soybean sauce." These days, acid-resolved
soybean sauce is made by reducing MCPD, obtained by hydrolyzing
gluten, using low-density hydrochloric acid.
Enzyme-resolved soybean sauce
This sauce can be made in many ways. For
instance, fermented liquid is made by processing and fermenting
defatted soybeans and wheat and steeping the mixture in
cold brine (between -5 and 5degrees Celsius) for 2-3 days.
Another fermented liquid is made and enzymes are added to
this liquid. Then, both liquids are mixed together and further
fermented at 35-40degrees Celsius for 2-3 days. The mixture
is then steeped in cold brine and matured. This sauce is
not produced in Korea.
Mixed soybean sauce
This sauce is made by mixing brewed soybean
sauce, acid-resolved soybean sauce, and enzyme-resolved
soybean sauce in an appropriate ratio. This sauce combines
the advantages of the three sauces while supplementing their