With simple ingredients and know-hows, people in Dong Tai hamlet, Thong Kenh commune, Gia Loc district, have made soy sauce with typical tastiness.
Dong Tai soy sauce in Thong Kenh commune, Gia Loc district, is preserved by Pham Thi Tuyen (left)
All processing stages of Dong Tai soy sauce are important, as negligence in any step may spoil the entire batch of soy sauce.
With many years of experience in making soy sauce, 84-year-old Dang Thi Luy said to make good soy sauce, you must choose good rice first. Previously-used hom rice has been replaced with glutinous one, and some choose cai hoa vang glutinous rice.
Rice is thoroughly soaked, aired after steaming to cool down, and covered with washed and dried banana leaves. The drier steamed glutinous rice is, the better soy sauce is.
After 2-3 days, the banana leaves are overlaid with a clean moistened mat to make the steamed glutinous rice hot and moldy.
These days, frequent checking is required to dry wet banana leaves or else water running down will affect the mold quality.
The molded glutinous rice will turn yellow in around 4-5 days and green in 1-2 more days. At that time, it will be turned over so that the other side of the steamed glutinous rice will be evenly moldy. If the mold turns black, the batch of steamed glutinous rice is definitely spoiled and cannot be used to make soy sauce.
Also carefully selected, soybeans must be plump. After many trials, Luy learnt from experience that soybeans roasted in a cast iron pan with a wood stove are the best.
To thoroughly cook soybeans without burning, sand should be roasted to become really hot, then mixed with soybeans, and stirred well. Well-cooked soybeans are of dark color and crispy when being crushed by hand.
After separate processing of each ingredient, rice, soybeans, and salt are mixed together in appropriate proportions and then soaked in jars.
Jars of soy sauce are exposed to the sun, and sometimes a ladle is used to stir it evenly. Soy sauce can be savored after 5 – 6 days of staying out in the sun depending on eaters' preferences but is really delicious after 3 – 4 months of exposure.
Savory soy sauce must be very thick, yellow or red, and naturally sweet.
Though being assessed as a famous delicious product forever remembered by anyone who eats it once, the number of soy sauce makers in Dong Tai has significantly reduced because of many changes in life.
"With a desire to restore the traditional trade of the village and develop a typical agricultural product, we are encouraging people to make soy sauce again, and there are some young people maintaining and sticking with the profession," said Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Thong Kenh commune Vu Viet Lich.