Why You Should Steer Clear of Instant Soy Sauce

chemical soy sauceInstant soy sauce. Yup, that’s a thing now, and it’s every bit as horrendous as it sounds.

Many manufacturers are jumping on the instant bandwagon, using it as a faster, easier, and cheaper means to produce soy sauce. Instead of following the time-honored tradition of fermenting the soya bean for anywhere between 3 and 6 months, some soy sauce companies are creating a chemically-produced soy sauce that can be whipped together in mere minutes.

Before we talk about the taste – which, as you can imagine, is nowhere near as good as a carefully crafted, properly fermented soy sauce – you need to know the more serious problem with instant soy sauce. It can be hazardous to your health.

Instant soy sauce is produced by adding different chemicals to a mix with seasoning, sugar, and water. These soy sauces contain a chemical compound 3-MCPD (3-monochloropropane-1,2-diol or 3-chloropropane-1,2-diol). This chemical is known to be a carcinogen, and it has been shown that it can increase the risk of testicular cancer.

In addition to increasing the risk of testicular cancer, instant, chemically-made soy sauce can damage the kidneys, liver, and vascular system. Simply put, this type of soy sauce is toxic and has far too many health risks.

And if that’s not enough to scare you off of chemically-produced soy sauce, consider the taste. This soy sauce is mixed together in just minutes using carcinogenic chemicals and some seasoning, sugar, and water. It tastes every bit as bad as you’d expect it to. There’s no depth of flavor, no smooth, rich, umami taste.

At Little Soya, all of our soy sauce is made responsibly, using time-honored methods. Little Soya is a gluten-free soy sauce, and it’s low sodium for added health benefits. And of course, Little Soya is the best tasting soy sauce on the planet, used by some of the world’s top chefs for its rich, savory flavor that’s truly out of this world.

Remember, just say no to instant soy sauce!

Congratulations to Our Amazing Friends & Customers on their James Beard Award Semifinalist Nominations

JBF Award

We are in absolute awe of the immense culinary talent of Little Soya friends and customers. For years now, some of the world’s finest chefs have chosen to use our less sodium, gluten free soy sauce. It’s always truly amazing and a great honor to see and taste their remarkable creations. Each chef has his or her own unique signature style and vision, and it’s truly inspiring to behold.

That’s why today we are proud to announce that several of our dear friends and valued customers have been nominated as semifinalists for the James Beard 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award categories. These nominations are a testament to each chef’s phenomenal talent and ability.

Without further ado, here are some of the noteworthy nominees:

 

Outstanding Bar Program

Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston

 

Outstanding Restaurateur

Elizabeth Blau, Blau and Associates, Las Vegas (Honey Salt, Made. LV, Simon Restaurant and Lounge, and others)

Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurants, Philadelphia (The Dandelion, Talula’s Garden, Serpico, and others)

 

Outstanding Wine Program

Hugo’s, Houston

 

Rising Star of the Year

Mark Buley and Sam Hellman-Mass, Odd Duck, Austin

 

Best Chef: Southwest

David Bull, Congress, Austin

Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner, The Pass, Houston

Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Austin

Hugo Ortega, Hugo’s, Houston

Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston

 

Again, congratulations to all of the James Beard Award semifinalists! We are so proud of you all!

5 Unexpected Things You Didn’t Know About Valentine’s Day

Soya Valentine Pic

Right now, lovebirds everywhere are scrambling to make dinner reservations (you could also make your Valentine a Little Soya inspired dish), buy flowers, find the perfect Hallmark card, and top it all off with a box of delicious chocolates. The day of love is almost here, and while you could argue Valentine’s Day has become just another consumer holiday designed to make poor saps spend their hard-earned money, the truth is there’s a lot of interesting (and hotly debated) history behind it that often gets overshadowed by the commercialism.

Let’s take a look at 5 surprising facts you probably didn’t know about Valentine’s Day.

 

 

  1. A day of sex and excess—While many believe Valentine’s Day was inspired by a religious figure (more on that below), others argue that the real origin of the holiday extends further back to an ancient pastoral festival known as Lupercalia. Observed from February 13 through 15 each year, the purification and fertility festival was basically a 3-day feast where men would run through the streets drunk and naked in search of a female partner. Some might argue that indulging on delicious foods (with Little Soya, of course), drinks, and erotic conquests is more fun that chocolates and flowers, but to each their own!
  2. Born in blood—When we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we celebrate love and happiness. However, according to the Catholic church, the true inspiration for the holiday was the murder of St. Valentine. One account from the 1400s tells the story of Valentine as a temple priest who was beheaded by emperor Claudius II for helping wed Christian couples. So, if you subscribe to this origin of the holiday, Valentine’s Day was truly born in blood.
  3. “Wear your heart on your sleeve” is more than just a saying—We’re all familiar with the saying, “to wear your heart on your sleeve.” But how many of us actually know where it comes from? As it turns out, during the Middle Ages, men and women would draw names to determine who their Valentine would be. They would then pin this name onto their sleeve for one week so that everyone could see it. And thus, the saying was born.
  4. A foodie’s dream—In medieval times, women who were trying to lure a Valentine’s Day suitor had a truly unique (and tasty!) way to go about it. In an attempt to dream their future spouses into being, women would spend the holiday evening eating a variety of bizarre foods with the hope that they would see their soul mate in their dreams.
  5. A commercial bonanza—Despite its questionable beginnings, Valentine’s Day has become one of the most popular holidays over the last century. It wasn’t until 1913 that Hallmark even began producing cards for Valentine’s Day, but over the years, the holiday has gone mainstream. In the United States, it’s estimated that we spend about $448 million on candy while sending our 150 million cards and gifts the week before February 14. The average male shells out around $150 for the holiday, while females spend close to $75 celebrating the day of love.

 

No matter how you choose to celebrate the holiday, we wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day this year!

Little Soya’s Quirky, Convenient Fish Packets Featured in The Atlantic!

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Today, The Atlantic ran a story titled “The Mysterious, Murky Story Behind Soy Sauce Packets.” As the headline implies, the story provides an in-depth look at the popularity of soy sauce as a condiment and analyzes exactly how the popular to-go packets have evolved over the years. Anyone that has seen Little Soya’s single-serve, NASA-approved, fish-shaped packets knows you can’t tell the story of soy sauce packets without talking about us.

We are incredibly honored that Tanya Basu, editorial fellow with The Atlantic, reached out to us and learned all about the unique Little Soya packaging and our out-of-this-world flavor.

“But has the American public gotten sick of soy sauce packets? Sometimes they squirt their contents in unintended directions, and they’re fairly wasteful, often dispensing too much sauce, or not enough. But in the more than 50 years that they’ve been around, little has been done to change their design,” Basu writes.

“Can soy-sauce packets be made better too? Gary Murphy thinks so. Murphy, the founder and CEO of Little Soya, is an unlikely soy-sauce pioneer with a loud laugh,” she continues.

Basu goes on to tell the story of how Little Soya came to be and discusses with Gary how Little Soya’s rich, savory flavor and gluten-free formula has made it a popular premium soy sauce in a time when more Americans are seeking out high-end condiments to “replicate the experience of eating at a restaurant.” However, the primary focus is Little Soya’s quirky, cute, convenient packaging that Basu deems “the first meaningful improvement on the classic disposable soy-sauce packet.”

“The fish is not just a cute brand differentiator but also a means of avoiding waste. Its top screws back on to save soy sauce for later,” she notes.

We encourage you to check out the full story for a whole lot more information about soy sauce packets and Little Soya. Much thanks to Tanya and The Atlantic for the excellent coverage!

Little Soya Chicken Adobo Recipe

"Chicken adobo" by dbgg1979 on flickr

“Chicken adobo” by dbgg1979 on flickr

When your humble blogger married into a Filipino family, his eyes were opened to a world of culinary delights that would change his life forever. From pancit to lechon to sinigang, Filipino food perfectly captures the colorful history and dynamic culture of the more than 7,000 islands that make up the nation. But if you had to choose one dish that highlights what Filipino food is all about, it has to be adobo.

Adobo is a ubiquitous dish in the Philippines. While it takes its name from the Spanish, the cooking style is uniquely Filipino. Locals found that cooking meat (typically chicken or pork) in soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic and other spaces was not only tasty, but also a good way to preserve meat without refrigeration.

While exact chicken adobo recipes can vary by region in the Philippines, I’m going to share my favorite version with you here today, and it includes Little Soya. Remember, soy sauce is one of the key ingredients in adobo, so it really influences the overall taste of the dish. I’ve found that because Little Soya is lower sodium and has richer flavor than its counterparts, it really keeps the adobo from being overly salty and enhances the overall flavor profile to take this dish up a notch.

This recipe is simple, requires only a handful of ingredients, and doesn’t take long to prepare at all. And don’t forget to serve it over a nice bed of steamed white rice!

 

Little Soya Chicken Adobo

 

Ingredients

6 chicken drumsticks

Marinade:

½ cup Little Soya gluten-free soy sauce

¾ cup vinegar

¼ cup water

½ tsp sugar

3 bay leaves

4 cloves chopped garlic

2 tsp whole black peppercorns

 

Directions

Combine all marinade ingredients. Whisk until sugar has dissolved.

Arrange chicken in a single layer in a glass baking dish. Pour marinade over chicken. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Place chicken and marinade into a large pot. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce to simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes, turning the chicken halfway through.

Ensure thickest part of the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Discard bay leaves.

Serve immediately over steamed white rice.

 

 

 

 

Little Soya Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK

On Monday, the nation celebrated MLK Day, reflecting on the life and legacy of America’s most important civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This week, in honor of Dr. King, we’d like to pause for a moment and pay tribute to his extraordinary legacy and valuable teachings that are still relevant to this day.

Throughout his life, Dr. King exemplified courage and strength as he tirelessly fought for equality for all people. He was a constant champion for justice, and in the face of hatred, he challenged the nation to stand up for what was right and to make freedom a reality for every man, woman, and child.

As we reflect on Dr. King’s teachings, it’s clear that we all have a duty to fight for justice, liberty, and equality. By showing empathy, compassion, and love for one another, we can continue to bring Dr. King’s dream within reach and make America the best she can be.

Let us never forget the lessons Dr. King taught us all, and let us never forget all of those who have fought and sacrificed it all to continue carrying the torch so that we may all live in a freer society.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

5 Ways You Can Make Healthier Eating Decisions In 2015

Photo credit: @Cynthia_Ho on Instagram

Photo credit: @Cynthia_Ho on Instagram

 

It’s no surprise that the #1 New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. After all, more than 1 out of every 3 Americans is considered to be obese, and almost 75% of all men are at least considered to be overweight. So, in the season for goal setting, most people decide they want to lose weight and get healthier.

We’re here to cheer you on and give you some helpful tips for achieving healthier eating habits so you can improve your health and shed those unwanted pounds. Of course, you’ve probably heard it said that about 90% of all diets fail. That’s because most diets set a laundry list of oppressive rules that are practically impossible to stick with for an extended period of time. The real secret to losing weight and getting healthier is to make small, practical changes in your diet over time that you can stick with for a lifetime.

With that in mind, here are 5 simple ways you can start making healthier eating decisions in 2015 and beyond!

 

  1. Eat less sodium—The average American eats way too much salt. It’s hidden in just about everything we eat. The risks of consuming too much sodium are endless, including hypertension, osteoporosis, dehydration, kidney problems, hormone imbalances, and so much more. Try to cut back on salt whenever possible. One good way to do that is to use low-sodium cooking products when possible, like Little Soya low-sodium soy sauce which has a fraction of the sodium levels of standard soy sauce.
  2. Cut back on gluten—While not everyone needs to go on a gluten-free diet, the truth is there are a lot of benefits that can come with at least cutting back on how much gluten you consume. Many people report simply feeling better and having improved digestion after limiting their gluten intake. Try to become more mindful of your gluten intake, and when possible, consider using gluten-free substitutes, like Little Soya gluten-free soy sauce.
  3. Add fruits or vegetables to every meal—By adding a little produce to each meal, you can get more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to boost your overall health. Eating at least 5 servings of produce can help reduce your risk for stroke, heart disease, and some cancers. An easy way to do this is to add a serving of fruit to breakfast every morning and a couple of servings of greens to lunch and dinner. Check out our simple recipe for winter greens sautéed with Little Soya and garlic…it’s delicious!
  4. Make water your go-to drink—Its recommended that you drink at least 8 glasses of water per day so that you don’t become chronically dehydrated. Simply put, water is essential to health and should be a staple in our diets. Instead of always reaching for a calorie-loaded drink like a coke, try to make water your go-to beverage of choice. Don’t like the taste of plain water? That’s okay. Add some flavor with a wedge of lemon or lime, or infuse it with some fruits of your choice.
  5. Be more aware—Simply put, one of the best things you can do to reach your health goals for 2015 is to be more aware of what you’re consuming. Pay attention to everything you eat and drink. Write it down if you can. And try to slow down when you eat so you can naturally eat less while feeling fuller.

 

We’re here to support you in achieving a healthier, happier lifestyle in 2015! Let’s do this!

 

Warm Your Belly with a Little Soya Twist on These Winter Classics

Baby, it’s cold outside! There’s no better (or tastier!) way to combat the cold than with a delicious, belly-warming meal. Lucky for you, we’ve got a slew of Little Soya inspired recipes to help you satisfy your cravings on even the coldest nights this winter. Check out the delicious Little Soya twist we’ve put on these winter classics.

 

Ramen with Little Soya Broth

 Ramen Soya

There’s nothing quite as comforting on a brisk day as a hot serving of freshly-made ramen. This is one of those recipes you can really make your own, swapping in different vegetables or meats to your taste.

 

Ingredients

 

Broth

 

4 pounds chicken necks and backs

3-pound rack of baby back ribs cut evenly into 4 sections

3 ½ pound boneless pork shoulder butt

4 garlic cloves

½ cup sliced ginger

1 leek cut in half lengthwise

4 quarts water

1/3 cup Little Soya gluten-free soy sauce

1 tbs vegetable oil

Salt & pepper to taste

12-by-2 in. piece of seaweed

 

Ramen

Little Soya gluten-free soy sauce for brushing

24 oz. fresh chuka soba, boiled to al dente

5 oz. steamed baby spinach

4 large soft-boiled eggs (peeled & soaked in mixture of equal parts Little Soya and mirin)

2 sliced scallions

2 sheets dried seaweed

 

Directions

 

  • Boil chicken, pork ribs, ginger, leek, garlic, water, and Little Soya soy sauce in large pot.
  • While waiting for pot to come to boil, heat vegetable oil in a skillet. Season pork butt w/ salt & pepper, and brown on all sides for 10-15 minutes over high heat. Add to pot.
  • Simmer broth on low heat for 2 hours. Skim surface.
  • Transfer pork ribs and butt to separate platter and refrigerate.
  • Strain the broth. Throw away remaining solids.
  • Pour broth back into pot. Add seaweed and simmer for 1½ hour. After, let broth cool down. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat broiler. Skim fat from broth. Throw away seaweed. Simmer broth, seasoning with Little Soya.
  • Slice pork butt across the grain about 1/3 in. thick. Cut ribs between bones. Place pork butt and rib pieces on baking sheet, brushing evenly with Little Soya. Broil for 3 min, turning once.
  • Divide cooked noodles evenly across 8 bowls. Add 1½ cups broth to each. Drain soft-boiled eggs, halving each lengthwise. Place half egg in each bowl. Add spinach, pork butt, a pork rib in even amounts to each bowl. Garnish w/ scallions, dried seaweed, etc.
  • Serve immediately.

 

 

Winter Greens Sautéed with Little Soya and Garlic

 Soya kale

Calcium-rich, dark leafy greens (kale, collard greens, mustard, chard, etc.) are always a great addition to your winter meals. One easy, tasty way to spruce up your greens so even the pickiest eater will enjoy them is to sauté them with Little Soya and garlic.

 

Ingredients

 

Dark, leafy greens of your choice

Little Soya soy sauce

Minced garlic

Olive oil

 

Directions

 

  • Tear off bite-size pieces of leaves off the kale. Slice stems into pieces about 1 inch long.
  • Blanch stems for about 3 minutes. Strain. Rinse with cold water.
  • Blanch leaves for about 2 minutes. Strain. Rinse with cold water.
  • Heat olive oil and sauté garlic for 1 minute.
  • Add kale leaves and soy sauce. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring throughout.
  • Serve immediately.

 

 

Macaroni and Cheese with Little Soya

Mac n cheese

It’s the comfort food loved by kids and adults alike. This Little Soya twist on the comfort food classic is sure to become a staple in your winter dinner rotation!

 

Ingredients

 

14 oz. box elbow macaroni

10 oz. sharp cheddar cheese

2¼ cups milk

1 tbs Little Soya soy sauce

1 tsp onion seasoning

½ tsp salt

½ tsp dry mustard

¼ tsp ground black pepper

¼ tsp paprika

¼ tsp tabasco sauce

1 tbs cornstarch

2 tbs margarine

 

Directions

 

  • Bring large pot of unsalted water to boil. Add package of elbow macaroni and bring to al dente.
  • While macaroni is cooking, combine 2 cups of milk w/ soy sauce, dry mustard, paprika, onion, salt, pepper, and tabasco sauce over medium heat. Cook until sauce comes to gentle simmer.
  • In a bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining ¼ cup milk. Add mixture to cheese sauce mixture and stir. Simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove saucepan from heat. Stir until cheese is fully melted.
  • Add margarine to cheese sauce. Stir until melted.
  • Drain macaroni and place it back in the pot.
  • Pour cheese sauce over noodles. Stir thoroughly to coat all macaroni.
  • Cover pot. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s get cooking!

 

A Look Back at 2014 – The Year of Little Soya

Soya Pinky BrainAs 2014 comes to a close, we couldn’t be more proud of all that we accomplished over the past year, and we are thrilled for the big things we have planned for 2015. Way back at the beginning of this year, we told you that Little Soya had plans for worldwide domination in 2014. Over the course of the year, we achieved some major milestones for the brand, getting our best tasting, gluten-free soy sauce in more restaurants, homes, hotels, and other venues than ever before!

With that in mind, let’s take a brief walk down memory lane and recap some of the biggest Little Soya stories of 2014.

 

  • Little Soya launches a new websiteWe started the year off working hard to update our website, coming up with a fresh look and new content to truly capture the essence of our brand. The new website launched in the early part of the year, serving as a foundation for all the big things that were to come for Little Soya throughout the remainder of the year. If it’s been a while since you’ve browsed our main website, we encourage you to check it out!
  • Little Soya makes sushi history by co-sponsoring a free dinner at the “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” famed restaurant in JapanAs sushi fanatics, it was a tremendous honor for Little Soya to co-sponsor free dinners at the world’s most legendary sushi chef Jiro Ono’s restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro in Japan. Along with our great friends and co-sponsors Sushi Club of Houston and Kubo’s Sushi Bar & Grill, we were able to help sushi lovers grab one of those 10 coveted seats and enjoy a meal of a lifetime.
  • Little Soya launches to the International Space Station—It doesn’t get any bigger than this! On July 29, 2014 at 6:47 pm (CDT), Little Soya made history by becoming the first gluten-free soy sauce to be launched into space. And you’d better believe we celebrated in style. Friends, family, and the media gathered to watch the Ariane 5, ATV-5 rocket launch our gluten-free soy sauce packets into space, some 220 miles above the Earth. Those who couldn’t make it tuned in online to watch the launch from around the world. It still amazes us to think that right now, at this very moment, our soy sauce is being enjoyed by astronauts in outer space.
  • Top restaurants continue to choose Little SoyaIn 2014, Little Soya found its way into more kitchens of the nation’s top chefs. From New York to Las Vegas to Miami and everywhere in between, countless restaurants made the Little Soya switch this past year. We’re now in over 550 restaurants across the country!
  • Little Soya gets featured in Good Housekeeping magazineLittle Soya made a major media splash in 2014, earning coverage from a number of different outlets, primarily for the launch of our gluten-free soy sauce into outer space. The media frenzy was capped off by a feature in the October 2014 issue of Good Housekeeping where Little Soya was featured in the monthly Editors’ Picks section for our cute, convenient on-the-go gluten-free soy sauce packets that are perfect to drop in your purse for a sushi night out.

 

2014 was truly a banner year for Little Soya, but we believe the best is yet to come. Stay tuned to see what big things we have planned for 2015.

Thank you for all of your support, and a very Happy New Year from all of us to you!

Happy Holidays from Little Soya!

LS Christmas

As we celebrate the holiday season and prepare to step into the New Year, we’d like to take a moment to say thank you and to wish a happy holiday season to so many important people who have supported us and helped Little Soya grow in 2014.

To all of the restaurants and chefs around the country who use Little Soya, thank you. We are incredibly appreciative of your business, and we are constantly inspired and amazed at the unique, mind-blowingly delicious ways you use our soy sauce!

To all of the stores that stock Little Soya, thank you. Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to get our product out there to our customers. We are eternally grateful for the opportunity to share precious space on your store’s shelves.

To all of the people all across the world who have tried Little Soya, thank you. Whether you’ve sampled our product at an event, bought a retail pack at your local store, cook with it in your kitchen, or even carry a little fishy container in your purse everywhere you go, we are so thankful for your support!

Finally, a huge, heartfelt thanks to all of our great team members and family members here at Little Soya. We worked hard, played hard, and had one heck of a year in 2014. Together, we achieved some great things, like launching into space to become the first gluten-free soy sauce on the International Space Station, getting featured in Good Housekeeping magazine, and expanding our presence across the country and around the world. Each and every one of you has played an integral role in growing our brand, and this is just the beginning. Here’s to an even bigger and better 2015!

It’s been a thrilling, challenging journey so far, and again, we are extremely grateful for everyone who has helped Little Soya continue to become the greatest soy sauce in the universe!

Thank you all for your loyalty, love, and support this past year. From our family to yours, have a very happy and safe holiday season!