Two versions of shoyu
According to Japanese regulatory body called JAS (Japanese Agricultural standard, the organisation which defines various standards and regulations of agricultural products), “shoyu” needs to use both soybeans and wheat. So strictly speaking, the formar one (fava) can not be called “shoyu”. On the other hand, fava shoyu-alike is regarded as a shoyu alternative in Japan for those who is allergic to soybeans. So I guess, being outside Japan, I am not likely to be pressed any charges by calling it “fava shoyu”. The taste and flavour of it is, without doubt, those of shoyu with some refresing element. I don’t know how to describe it precisely, but it has something like “sansho 山椒 (Japanese pepper)” like aroma.
How did I make it?
Well, I made this only from fava beans without wheat. Standard shoyu is made from soybeans and wheat. So I skipped grain bit from shoyu. Basically I kojified split fava beans and ferment it in 20% salt brine for 9 months.
The moromi didn’t look very promising. It looked like loose miso (or thickened shoyu). I doubted very much if I can get clear shoyu by pressing it. However, the flavour of it has always been wonderful. To my pleasant surprise, I was very wrong. This shoyu provided many merit points.
Firstly, umami level of it was as much as shoyu, if it is not more. Also it was quite easy to press as it is soft (Pressing shoyu is one of the hardest step in shoyu making). And the amount of shoyu-lees was much lesser than standard version. Shoyu-lees is useful for marinating base or pickling, but it takes ages to consume… It also takes valuable storage space. I made doubanjiang with it (with brined chilli)! Yum! Wow, this is a star ferment of the year.
For the latter one “scallop shoyu”, I used standard ingredients (soybeans and wheat), but added small amount of scallops for extra flavour. The resultant scallop shoyu doesn’t have very obvious scallop flavour, but it goes really well with seafood (it has something which reminds me of ocean, but if you are not told, you wouldn’t guess it is from scallop, perhaps you think it has extra umami in it). I had it with seabass sashimi tonight! Yum!
My koji teacher Nakaji once told me that he enjoyed the grilled scallops with a drip of scallop shoyu at one of the fine restaurant specialised in fermentation in Sweden. Every since, I was dying to try this. Mission completed!
Then what did I do?
I pasteurised half of each (hi-ire shoyu) and left half as raw (Kiage shoyu). So out of two, I had four version of shoyu to enjoy! Even better.
Shoyu is made from very simple ingredients, but the variation of it is limitless. You can change the legume side and you can change the grain side ( or skip it).
I feel like I got a new toy to enjoy for some time (if not forever!!)