Sometimes there’s a flavor or taste that appears in many recipes as an underlying layer that adds a typical ethnic slant to a dish. In many Asian dishes that taste is umani, the savory flavor that is present in many fermented foods. Soy sauce often provides that umani taste in many Asian recipes. But sometimes you want an easily added extra depth to your recipe and that is where a recipe like this enters the picture. You could consider this soy sauce based recipe in almost the same way as a herb infused olive oil, where you take a much used ingredient and add extra flavors to it.
The recipe that turns up the most on the internet when you search for Jomi Ganjang or Sweet Soy Base Sauce is from the Korean Table cookbook which is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in Korean cuisine. The recipe I use varies slightly and you may want to try both to see which you prefer. Both make a slightly sweet flavorful sauce which keeps well in the refrigerator and is easy to keep on hand to add to other dishes, such as Dakjjim, vegetables, or your favorite bulgogi recipe.
First slice 4-6 cloves of peeled fresh garlic, then you need 6-8 thin slices of fresh ginger. Fresh ginger is irregularly shaped so maybe a nub the size of the end of your thumb. Peel the outer skin off the ginger before slicing. Use one tsp of roughly grated black pepper, or you can crush 1 tsp of peppercorns. You don’t want these ingredients to be too fine as you will be discarding them later. Place the garlic, ginger and black pepper in a small pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. You don’t want the liquid to boil off so make sure you keep an eye on it and keep it at a simmer.
Gather together some more of your ingredients, 1 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of a medium sherry, (or you can use wine) and 1/2 cup of light brown sugar. Add these to the pot, stir gently and then turn the heat up so the liquid comes to a rolling boil. Boil on high for 2-3 minutes. Take the pan off the stove and add 1 tablespoon of a good honey and 1 more tablespoon of the sherry, stir and allow it to cool down to room temperature. Once cool strain off the liquid and discard the rest.
Carefully place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. It should keep for 2 to 3 months.
Now I have this made and ready in the refrigerator it will be much easier to make other Korean recipes. (I also use it as a tossing sauce on roasted veggies such as brussel sprouts, carrots, or sweet potatoes.)
Have a great day everyone.