What to do with a lot of soy sauce
July 9, 2021 4:28 PM   Subscribe

I bought some off brand soy sauce. It isn't good. I've since replaced it with a decent brand, but I'm loathe to throw it away. Anyone have an idea for using several litres of soy sauce? I know about soy sauce pickled eggs (isn't that more of a marinade?). Is there some other kind of pickle? Can I transform it somehow into something usable?
posted by conifer to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's a decent addition to red sauce (e.g. spaghetti bolognese) in moderation as it adds salt and umami...but depending how bad it is, it might wreck anything you put it in.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 4:30 PM on July 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

It is amazing for cleaning copper!
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 4:39 PM on July 9, 2021 [6 favorites]

Transform it into something useable by giving it to people who will use it.
posted by aniola at 4:49 PM on July 9, 2021 [7 favorites]

If it sucks for whatever your current food use is for several litres of soy sauce, it will probably suck for most other uses too unless, like Sweetchrysanthem posits above, you use for something not food related.
posted by AugustWest at 4:54 PM on July 9, 2021 [6 favorites]

My default recommendation for "use a lot of soy sauce" is adobo, but making it with a soy sauce you don't like isn't going to do it any favors.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 5:04 PM on July 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

Pour it down the sink.
posted by kingless at 5:06 PM on July 9, 2021 [10 favorites]

In general, a bad product stays bad. That said, you can try using it in a pressure cooker and see if that alters the flavor in a way that you like - that can perform some alchemical magic. Or if something is merely "missing" from the flavor, you can try adding things like fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, mushrooms or mushroom sauce, ginger or citrus, etc. to get it to where you like it. But without knowing what's displeasing to you, it's hard to say.

If you mean bad like this I got nothing other than pouring it out.
posted by Candleman at 6:00 PM on July 9, 2021 [4 favorites]

I find that soy sauce really flavors beef well. I use it for a flank steak marinade: About 1 cup soy sauce, 1/2 c oil, and a smattering of other flavors: sesame seeds, ginger, brown sugar, cilantro, lime, sriracha.

Marinate for 1-24 hours and then grill it up.
posted by hydra77 at 6:20 PM on July 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Just a suggestion to see if you can donate it to a food pantry. Maybe you can find one that will gladly take an opened bottle of soy sauce. If not, how about peanut satay sauce?
posted by Champagne Supernova at 7:20 PM on July 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Someone on a Buy Nothing group or freecycle might like to have it. I've reached the point where bad ingredients, bad beer, bad coffee, are just not worth it, and I really hate waste, but it's okay to dump it.
posted by theora55 at 7:50 PM on July 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

Mostly, I agree with those above who say dump it.
Perhaps I would try how it works with this first: make a marinade of soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and lime and/or lemon juice and just a few drops of sesame oil. Put chicken wings in the mix and let them soak for half an hour, then grill the wings with some of the sauce under the broiler till they are cooked through. This is snack food and there is a lot of caramelization -- watch out it doesn't burn! -- so the quality of the soy sauce may well be unimportant. But try it with a small portion first. If it works, this is popular party food.
To prevent burning, I use a setting on my oven where it changes in intervals between normal oven and broiler, I don't know the name in English.
posted by mumimor at 9:40 PM on July 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

If you've bought replacements, you've accepted the sunk costs of this product being bad. You don't need to do anything more than dispose of it -- food bank or drain -- but if it's going down the drain, you might boil it to evaporate water and concentrate is flavours?
posted by k3ninho at 1:52 AM on July 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have tried to "save" bad foods before. You may end up paying more for other ingredients than the cost of the soy sauce itself - not to mention the time and effort involved. If you can tell the soy sauce doesn't taste good, it probably won't taste good to you no matter what.
I've given food away on NextDoor before. Someone would probably be grateful for your soy sauce.
posted by FencingGal at 5:06 AM on July 10, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers. I'm not in a location that has a food bank or NextDoor - I'm very very rural. I know deep down that the answer is pour it down the drain. I've learned a lesson (again!) about buying cheap foodstuffs.
posted by conifer at 8:17 AM on July 10, 2021

Best answer: You might be able to use it to make beef jerky. Zillions of recipes online; you basically marinate strips of beef in soy sauce + flavorings for 24 hours, then dry the beef in your oven. It uses a lot of soy sauce and is not subtle, so cheap stuff is fine. Mostly you just want the salt.
posted by Nelson at 8:24 AM on July 10, 2021

If you're somewhere very very rural and your neighbors don't want it, at the very least pour it in a compost heap?
posted by aniola at 8:46 AM on July 10, 2021

Try gently boiling it down, with additions of sugar, rice wine, garlic, ginger, maybe spices like whole cinnamon, star anise, cloves (or five spice powder if you have any). It can probably be reduced by up to half, and will thicken. Eventually you might get something with reduced volume, and that tastes a bit better, and you could use it as a marinade or sauce to go with meats or tofu.
posted by destrius at 2:24 AM on July 11, 2021

Actually scratch that, cheaper soy sauces will probably be a bit too high in salt to reduce it to something usable. Unless there's some way you can reduce the salt content...
posted by destrius at 3:41 AM on July 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

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