Celebrate Chinese New Year with an Eastern cupboard staple

 In Ask Margaret

Soya sauce might just be seen as a little bottle of liquid you casually pull out to pep up your Chinese stir fry on a weekday evening, but did you know it’s actually really good for you? That’s why it’s been billed by retail and foodie experts as a hot trend for 2017.

Traditionally used in Chinese and Japanese cooking, soya sauce is a brewed condiment loved the world over. To make it, soya beans are blended into a paste with wheat, salt and water and then formed into ‘cakes’ that are left to ferment to allow bacteria to do their job. The result is the rich liquid that can be used to flavour a range of dishes.

Fermented foods, such as naturally brewed soya sauce and miso paste, are claimed to aid digestion, which gives them superfood status. The science behind the headlines is that fermented food contains probiotics which help to repopulate the gut microbiome damaged by the western diet, pesticides in food and an over-reliance on antibiotics.

And as more and more people become health savvy and conscious of their diets, fermented foods have been tipped by experts as a group that will continue to grow in popularity this year.

Macrobiotic, Margaret Gambardella, is delighted with the news. She said: “I’m so pleased that the western world now seems to be cottoning on to the fact that soya sauce can be so good for you. I’ve been extoling its virtues and using it as a base for my food and products for years.

“With a pure base, soya sauce is a really adaptable ingredient that can be used to flavour so many dishes – from a lovely marinade for a tofu starter, to a beautiful Chinese noodle main course. I’m not surprised it is gaining superfood status.”

The mum of two added: “It contains the elusive so-called 5th taste sensation – umami.”

However, the focus really is on the ‘naturally brewed’ element – some of the soya sauce on the market is not traditionally brewed but instead manufactured by using sugar as a caramel base and adding other ingredients.

Margaret’s business, Gambardeli’s produces a range of meat-free steaks and medallions that can be used in all forms of cooking. The homemade recipe, which Margaret has taken three decades to refine, includes sugar-free, naturally brewed soya sauce.

For further information, please visit www.gambardeli.co.uk.

To celebrate Chinese New Year, Gambardeli’s is offering every customer two free packs of their meat-free sausages with every multi-pack of steaks purchased. For further information or to place an order, please visit www.gambardeli.co.uk. Valid until 31st January 2017.

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