Food Hack – How to Make Korean Style Soy Sauce!

When I was growing up in Korea, it was pretty common to see people making their own soy sauce including my mom, who used to have 3 barrels of soy sauce that lasted us about 10 years.   I used to wonder why it took so long to make soy sauce but it lasts a lifetime once you make it.

Soy sauce can be created along with fermented soy bean paste, which is another by-product while making soy sauce.

Soy sauce has scientifically been proven to help prevent Cancer and other diseases(One of the Top 10 antioxidants on Earth today).

Now, Korean soy sauce is pretty much same as Japanese soy sauce or Chinese soy sauce as far as taste goes but if you make your own soy sauce, it will be much fresher and every barrel will have a unique taste you cannot buy at your grocery market.

Well, I have always been fond of how long it takes to make soy sauce, a long fermenting process that can be comparable to making fine red wine.

Anyways, here’s how you can make Korean style soy sauce, I’ve translated one of the HOWTO soy sauce pages to English:

1. Choose the Beans

You need to find the right beans from a good organic source and make sure they are all fresh and throw away any “bad” beans in the batch.

2. Soak and Saturate Beans

You need to soak the beans in water for about 12 hours.

3. Boil the Beans in How Water

Once the beans are well saturated, heat the water until it boils.  Keep boiling the beans until they turn to a yellowish color.  You should expect to boil around 3 hours and make sure the beans are so soft if you touch it, they will easily break into pieces.

4. Smash Beans

Once boiling is done and beans are soft, you can get rid of the hot water and put it in a big pot while it’s still hot.  You can smash it now.  Of course, all this helps if you use authentic Korean stoneware as shown in below pics:

(Step 2-4 in old style Korean cookware Image Credit)

5. Make a Shape

One they are all smashed up nicely, you can make a rectangular shape with it somewhat like this pic:

(Step 5-6 Image Credit)

6. Hang It!

Now you have them in rectangular pieces, you need to hang it somewhere where there’s a lot of sunlight.  These rectangular pieces might get some fungus pieces, if that happens, try to let some wind cool to keep it drier.  Fungus isn’t too big a problem, you can always cut that piece out when they dry.

Once the rectangular soy blocks are dry, put them in a box in the shade.

7. Making Soy Sauce

Once the rectangular soy blocks are completely dry (and clean off any fungus on the surface), put the blocks inside a big Stoneware jar (here’s an example of how big) and fill it with water and salt.  Also put about 5 red Korean chilli peppers,

For the first few days, leave the jar lid open to sunlight.

8. Making Soy Bean Paste.

After 1-2 months, take the soy bean blocks out and and put it in another jar.  (After 5 months or so, the soy bean blocks will become soy bean paste)

The leftover water now becomes soy sauce.

Usually, Koreans will start making soy sauce in the winter as fermentation is best during winter and will be ready to eat in Spring.  You will probably do best to make soy sauce in your home if where you live has 4 seasons.  But if you in sunny state California like me, you can always fake the fermentation in a Kimchee fridge.  Of course, Kimchee is also best when fermented in such “cold” manner during snowing winters.

Well, there you have it, that’s how you make Korean soy sauce (sorta, my translation isn’t world’s top notch but you probably get a good idea now).

Now everytime you buy soy sauce, you will appreciate the efforts into making it.  Better yet, try making your own!

Translated from Korean Soy Sauce Company

9 Responses to Food Hack – How to Make Korean Style Soy Sauce!

  1. Wow, I had no idea regarding the lengthy process of creating soy sauce. Makes a person rather appreciate the product just knowing all the work it takes to produce it.

  2. Hong Lam says:

    i love this knowledge thank you.

  3. Ann says:

    I’d like to share my knowledge. To my knowledge, a fermentation process is missing. After you make the beans into rectangular shape pieces (step 5) you need to ferment the beans somewhere warm, just like you ferment yeast to make bread dough rise. The fermentation takes 1-2 months. The beans will get fungus, which is found to be good for cancer prevention and immune system. The fungus is the same kind one from which we make penicillin. Then you go to the step 6, dry them. The fermentation process is what distinguishes Korean soy bean paste from that of Japan and gives a very strong aroma.

  4. max says:

    Oh cool, thanks for the info Ann, very well appreciated it.

  5. Olen says:

    This was not a translation of a real “howto” article but, obviously, it is from a print or online tour of a manufacturer’s operation. There are glaring omissions…like proportions of salt and liquid to beans, etc, etc. Also, penicillin comes from a mold that often grows on citrus fruits. I think there is enough information in this article to enable someone to poison their whole family! Like picking wild mushrooms…this process takes for than a little rudimentary knowledge! Beware of Internet “experts” who, in reality, know very little!

  6. max says:

    Not to spoil your fun but I have personally grown up in Korea as a child seeing my own parents/grandparents make soy sauce, this won’t poison anyone, it’s a Korean traditional food that has been made for over centuries, please review your facts first before leaving a comment. 🙂

  7. anz says:

    There’s a specific mold that “makes” soy sauce, and if there happens to be the wrong one things could get very toxic. While your how-to is interesting it’s also very lacking and could get people in trouble.

  8. max says:

    True, I don’t think you should attempt making soy sauce yourself unless u have an experienced person teaching you how anyhow.

  9. Hi Max,

    Nice Article,

    Thanks for sharing info.

    Can you help me out in one thing, I am looking for cost comparision, between Using whole soyabean seed V/s Defatted Soya Flakes Toasted ,for producing soya sauce.

    1- In whole soy bean seed, protein is only 38 % where as in defatted flakes its upto 52%
    2- Whole soya bean seed has moisture and fat above 2 % where as in Defatted flakes it is only 1% around ,
    3- Above 2% fat means development of 3mpcd enzyme cause Cancer.

    Kindly provide some cost comparision for using both products.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check out more interesting categories: Consumer, Cooking, DIY, Educational, Entertainment, Featured Hacks, Food, Hack, Home, HOWTO, Misc.

Related News and Resources