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Dec 14, 2011 10:19 AM

Soy sauce and sugar question

I'm following a Ming Tsai recipe for a slow cooked pork shoulder and it calls for 3 cups of soy sauce along with a pound of brown sugar, among other ingredients. My main concern is the salt and sugar levels in this recipe and know that the 3 cups of soy will reduce over the duration of the cook and be way salty and I'm sure the whole box of sugar was needed to balance that. I picked up some low sodium soy instead and was wondering what you guys would reduce the brown sugar level down to. The other liquids in the braise are water and balsamic vinegar, fwiw.

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  1. How much water is involved please?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robin Joy

      Believe it was a cup and a half of water, same amount for the wine, and 3/4 a cup of balsamic

      1. re: vchase

        OK., well if this is slow cooked, properly covered, for what, 4 hours (?), then you should have no issues with over reduction. The pork will produce plenty of juices which may even mean that the final liquid volume is more than what you started with and reduction may be needed. The total amount of sodium will of course never change. Low sodium soy works well, and the sugar amount looks fine to me.

        Maybe you could report back?

    2. So the total liquid you're using is a little over 6 cups (soy, water, wine and vinegar) to about 2 1/2 cups of brown sugar (1 lb). It's not bad. A bit on the sweet side for me, but you are cooking a pork shoulder (a big mass of meat versus a chicken with is hollow in the middle) so it will probably work in the long run.

      In regards to the liquid reducing, I agree with Robin. You're cooking in a covered pot at a simmer. The pork will release liquid. The end result you'll end up with more liquid.

      For your first go at the recipe, I recommend sticking with the amount of brown sugar called out.

      1. I'm pretty famous for not following directions. Even the first time, but this is one situation I think I would recommend following the recipe exactly for the first time. That way at least you know what your trying to reproduce. After that, you can start trying to reproduce the taste with low-sodium soy sauce.

        if you insist on using low-sodium soy sauce, I would start by reducing the brown sugar by one third.