Sweet, savoury and a hint of caramel. This is a simple Asian style dressing great with so many different hearty salads.
Different Types of Soy Sauce
Soy sauce. Who doesn’t have this condiment in their pantry? A very, very few, I suspect.
This dark liquid made from soybeans, wheat, salt, and water, originated from China over 2000 years ago, is a staple in many households today.
You may not always think of using soy sauce in salad dressings, but it’s a great flavour enhancer and adds wonderful caramel colours.
There are quite a few varieties of soy sauce available, but the three most common are light, dark, and thick soy sauce. I have 6 different types of soy sauce in my pantry. Some bottles of soy sauce I use nearly every day; some are for particular recipes only.
Common Types of Soy Sauce
First, we start with the all-purpose soy sauce. This is the light soy sauce you often see at the store. These two are interchangeable.
Light soy is salty, thin in consistency and has a lighter shade of black/brown. It is used mainly in cooking and dipping sauces for flavour. I use light soy sauce, possibly daily, as a flavour enhancer in all styles of cooking.
The next one is dark soy sauce. Like the name, dark soy sauce is darker in colour with a thicker consistency. Even with a higher salt content than light soy sauce, dark soy sauce tastes a little sweeter because of the added sugar.
Dark soy sauce is used to flavour dishes and to add caramel colour to the ingredients. Dark soy sauce is excellent in stews, braises, fried noodles and stir-fries.
The sweetest of the three more common soy sauce is thick soy sauce. This thick concoction is sweet, dark and salty with tones of caramel. It is sometimes referred to the caramel soy sauce.
You don’t need much thick soy sauce when cooking. I usually only use thick soy sauce when I want to colour but not a lot of salt.
What is Kecap Manis?
Originating from Indonesia, kecap manis is another popular type of soy sauce. It is a sweet aromatic condiment that is darker in colour and thicker in consistency. Kecap manis is not as thick as thick soy sauce but thicker than dark soy.
There is added palm sugar in kecap manis which creates a more syrupy consistency and darker molasses-like flavours in this sweet soy sauce.
It is a popular pantry staple in South Asian cooking and available in most large supermarkets or your local Asian grocery store.
Kecap manis: One of the more popular Indonesian brands, ABC Kecap Manis, is widely available in most supermarkets and Asian grocery stores. This sweet soy sauce keeps well in the pantry and goes a long way. We only use a couple of tablespoons each time.
Soy sauce: Quintessential in Asian cooking, soy sauce is a flavourful sauce made from fermented soybeans. For a gluten free option, you can use tamari.
Rice vinegar: Compared to white vinegar, rice wine vinegar is less acidic with a milder, sweeter flavour.
Sesame oil: The aroma of sesame oil is second to none. It adds a nutty fragrance to the overall balance of the dressing.
White sugar: Kecap manis is sweet already, but I like to balance the savoury flavours with a little extra white sugar.
In a small bowl, mix kecap manis, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.
Stir well until the sugar has dissolved.
Best Salad For This Dressing
Earthy mushrooms mixed with crunchy water chestnuts, fresh snow peas and cut chillies, served over crisp baby gem lettuce salad cups, this is a delicate Asian salad that looks and tastes fantastic.
Kecap Manis Dressing
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- In a small bowl, mix kecap manis, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.
- Stir well until the sugar has dissolved.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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