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Butter & Soy Sauce?

I thought I'd read it all, but today I find myself 6+ years behind! at least.

From an article in today's NYT Dining & Wine section: "Who knows who first mixed soy sauce and butter and discovered the pleasures the combination provides. Try the mixture on warm white rice, a steaming pile of greens or an old sneaker — regardless, the taste is a sublime velvet of sweet and salty, along with a kind of pop the cognoscenti call umami, a fifth taste beyond bitter, sour, salty and sweet. Soy butter provides warmth and luxury, elegance without pomp. It raises recipes to heights almost indescribable in the telling. Jean-Georges Vongerichten cooks thin steaks sautéed in butter with a hit of soy and a shower of ginger."

To me, a revelation, so I went searching; I found a number of old threads about the combo here on Chow, and any number of recipes online.

My question concerns proportions: I've seen ratios of 1:1 all the way to 3 parts butter to 1 part soy. If I'm going to try this over warm rice as a starting point, where should I begin, low or high?

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  1. Sorry your first reply will not be directly responsive, but I love a similar combination of stir fried snow peas tossed in butter and oyster sauce.

    As for your question, I start with the maxim that soy sauce is an accent and should be used judiciously, but butter is a way of life to be embraced. I'd use no more soy sauce than you'd need for a light sprinkle and as much butter as Paula Deen or Julia Child would use.

    Also, try scallops seared and finished in a pat of butter and a few drops of miso. Mmmmm

    2 Replies
    1. re: tim irvine

      "Butter is a way of life to be embraced." Love it!

      1. re: tim irvine

        Also, this is so good on kasha (buckwheat groats). For breakfast.

      2. I've been cooking professionally for over 20 years and I've just recently discovered this delicious combination.
        More butter than soy,a drop of sesame oil and some toasted sesame seeds on steamed baby bok choy= yum!

        1 Reply
        1. re: petek

          Thanks for this; I feel better. I've been cooking (non-professionally) and reading about food for over 40 years. Glad to know I wasn't the only one late to this particular party. :)

        2. You are not alone. I recently tried this recipe for roasted asparagus with balsamic browned butter (with soy). The sauce is sublime but it did overpower the roasted asparagus flavor which I love. So I would like to find something else to use the sauce on. Hmm, maybe rice. I know, not exactly what you were talking about but thought you might be interested. I think the ratios were 2 T. butter, 2 tsps. soy and 1 tsp. balsamic.

          12 Replies
          1. re: MrsJonesey

            I'm not a huge asparagus fan, but I might try this with roasted broccolini. Thanks.

            1. re: MrsJonesey

              sorry, but i think the issue here is balsamic + soy. blech.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                actually it works. try it, you might like it. :-)

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  I've been combining soy + balsamic for a long time. It's effectively a lazy man's approach to soy + mirin + rice vinegar, which I doubt anyone would think twice about.

                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                    i rarely like balsamic and the cheap stuff is appalling. i don't even have any in my house. i don't see how it's an even swap for rice vinegar and mirin. sorry. glad it works for you.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      How do you know whether they use "the cheap stuff?"

                      You don't. People like different things.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        i can only hope they're not using $100 balsamic to mix with soy. then again, it's not my money, lol.

                        " People like different things."

                        right. and i expressed my opinion. which differs.

                      2. re: hotoynoodle

                        What kind of mirin do you like? Anyhow, Mrs. Jonesey likes balsamic and soy and butter. So what? I was enraged at first myself ;-) But then I got over it.

                        But it might make sense. Balsamic is acidic and sweet at the same time, the soy contains salt and umami, and then there's the butter. Might be a good flavor profile. I will try it.

                        1. re: rudeboy

                          Soy sauce, olive oil & balsamic are good as a salad dressing, too. Hold the butter, tho :-)

                          1. re: rudeboy

                            Enraged, huh? lol. Then I probably shouldn't tell you and hotoynoodle about my marinade of equal parts balsamic, soy and Worcestershire sauce, garlic, s & p for cheap steaks. It's mighty fine.

                          2. re: hotoynoodle

                            Since when is lazy equivalent with even?

                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                              lol, erm, equivalent pretty much means even?

                      1. This topic is so funny to me because I've enjoyed butter and soy sauce together on rice since I was a child. I think I started doing it because my mother would serve plain white rice as a side starch on occasion, and always with butter, s & p. Then during one of her 1970s La Choy-based "Chinese dinner" nights I buttered my rice out of habit before adding some soy and discovered my new favorite way of eating plain rice. I remember my mother being horrified at the time (which is supremely ironic, since she was serving La Choy canned chop suey, but I digress...it was the 70s).

                        As for ratios, as an adult and home cook, I treat the combo for veg like I would any fat and seasoning. In other words, enough fat to impart the umami and treat the soy sauce much like I would salt in a dish. Usually I'll toss veg in enough butter to gloss, and then a few dashes of soy. I suppose you could mix the two first, I just haven't.

                        Even though I've graduated to better soy sauce in my life since the 1970s, it's still a salty seasoning. Treat it as such. For my taste, per cup of cooked white rice I personally wouldn't go over 1 T. unsalted butter (likely less) and maybe 2 t. soy sauce (depending on type). So I suppose that's a 3:2 ratio in teaspoons, butter to soy sauce. The butter really carries the sauce, like oil carries the sharp acid of vinegar in a vinaigrette dressing. Btw, I don't mix the two beforehand. From childhood habit I stir the butter into the rice first and then follow with a little soy.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: team_cake

                          Sounds like what I' do; I've frequently eaten plain buttered rice, so I'll probably take your approach. Thanks.

                          1. re: mcsheridan

                            I frequently eat red lentils on top of rice and have been putting soy sauce on both of them, mixed in with butter. Or just the butter and soy if I have the rice on their own. I have been doing it for at least 25 years so didn't know it was a thing.

                          2. re: team_cake

                            I feel the same way. II generally used butter on rice as an unadorned side dish, adding soy only when I put stir-fried stuff on top. Today after reading the NYT article I tried their mushroom/garlic/butter/soy/thyme combination in their recipe on some leftover rice for lunch. While it wasn't over-the-top great, it was good enough to keep in mind for future meals.

                          3. This is funny to me as well- when i was in first grade (!!) i became very close friends with a girl and her family had immigrated from china a few years before. She stayed over and for dinner we had some rice, as usual i put butter on mine yet my friend asked for soy sauce instead! I of course wanted to do what she was doing as well and added soy to my buttered rice......for the rest of my life.
                            Don't worry about measuring, just add to taste, its too individual- maybe start with 3:1?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Ttrockwood

                              For the first trial over rice, measuring will likely not be involved - thanks for the ratio tip.

                            2. Good Lord. It turns out my 7 year old is on the cutting edge of foodie trends. It's a good thing she doesn't read CH, there'd be no living with her if she found this out.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: P_penelope

                                Japadog in Vancouver does a butter and shoyu "shaked" fries -- aka French fries that is a serious guilty pleasure for me.

                                1. re: P_penelope

                                  She'll be posting here in a few years if she's on the cutting edge - probably before she gets her driver's license! :)

                                2. Steamed rice with butter and soy sauce sustained me back when I was too poor to afford much else. Haven't had it in years and years. As to proportion, put a big pat of butter in your bowl of hot rice, stir it up to melt and distribute the butter, then sprinkle on as much soy sauce as you care to. Proportions don't matter. Let your palate be your guide.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: janniecooks

                                    Thanks! I'm going to be trying this in between bouts of snow-shoveling after the storm hit Sunday night.

                                    1. It wasn't until I moved to Japan I discovered this combo. Haven't had it on rice yet but sauteed mushrooms in butter with a but of soy is great.

                                      1. I was very interested in that recipe...might try it myself, but over mashed potatoes...don't like polenta. I'd probably put in a little less soy sauce...I don't really like it and find it an overpowering flavor normally, but I think in this combination it might work.

                                        1. I love butter and soy sauce on popcorn. But I'm a gal who can consider popcorn and a glass of wine dinner.

                                          If you want to get fancy, try this tofu with butter/soy sauce/white wine: http://guiltlessplate.com/featured/le...

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: miss louella

                                            How do you put soy sauce without the popcorn becoming soggy?

                                            1. re: miss louella

                                              I mix soy sauce into butter for my popcorn all the time. Will often add a squirt of sriracha, too.

                                              I also love to saute mushrooms in butter, then add a bit of dry sherry and soy sauce and saute until the 'shrooms soak it all up.

                                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                                I already sherry my sautéed mushrooms; now I'll have to try this variation. I'm gonna be soooo busy with soy-butter.

                                              2. re: miss louella

                                                That is completely a dinner (my mom does a martini rather than wine with her popcorn if my dad is sick or otherwise not having dinner). I haven't tried soy sauce on mine but that's now on the list for the next time I make it-currently I'm on a coconut oil/sriracha kick but it may be time to mix it up.

                                                1. re: ErnieD

                                                  Oh, I pop my popcorn in coconut oil, *then* drizzle it with butter, soy and sriracha. Goooooood...

                                                2. re: miss louella

                                                  I do butter + soy sauce + brown sugar. I don't really measure - I just put in a hunk of butter into a little pyrex mixing dish to melt in the microwave, then add maybe a tablespoon of soy sauce (it turns a lovely dark glisteny brown) and then about a tablespoon of brown sugar and stir to mix. I drizzle it over the popcorn in a large bowl, tossing ~ 10 times to mix. It's heavenly. It is a little bit soggy, but I don't even care. I imagine to make it perfect I should then spread it on a cookie sheet and bake briefly in the oven (like caramel corn) but by that time the smell drives me crazy and I have to eat it immediately.
                                                  Recipe may also be enhanced by adding small chipped up pieces of nori and/or sesame seeds.

                                                3. I've been using this combo on steamed green beans for years. More butter than soy sauce, maybe 2:1 or 3:1? I eyeball.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                    I do green beans with bacon grease and soy sauce -- delicious! Same for mushrooms.

                                                  2. i love it with mushrooms as well as shellfish. with shrooms i use a bit more soy than i do on the sea critters, but i go by taste, not measure.

                                                      1. re: fourunder

                                                        Been there, read that. :). It's where I decided to date myself as at least 6 years behind the butter-soy curve.

                                                        1. re: mcsheridan

                                                          I surmised as much....it was for the benefit of others.

                                                          When I first read your post, it immediately brought to mind a condiment mixture for the following from the earlier thread....

                                                          Fried Egg atop Rice Bowl.

                                                          1. re: fourunder

                                                            I knew you were doing a PSA here.

                                                            I like spinach, and rice is a given, but egg? Much as I like eggs, I never got on board with topping things with them, and never runny eggs on anything, even a plate.

                                                            Back to the butter & soy combo, I'm intrigued with the idea of using it on greens, especial baby bok choy, and I must try preparing Jean-Georges Vongerichten's recipe for rib-eye. I snagged it from a blog earlier today.

                                                            1. re: mcsheridan

                                                              Egg on spinach is one of the greatest combos ever. Sautéed spinach with a soft-boiled or fried sunny-side up... with steamed new potatoes?

                                                              Oh. My.

                                                                1. re: RUK

                                                                  Is that a traditional meal for that day? I had no idea!

                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                    It always was in our family and to this day! :-)

                                                      2. Thank you for starting this topic. I will be using these suggestions for rice and all sorts of vegetables.

                                                        1. My mom used to feed us freshly steamed rice with butter and soy sauce when we were little. If I remember correctly, it was 2 pats of butter and a drizzle of soy sauce for about a cup of rice.

                                                          Disclaimer: my mom has been known to eat pats of butter straight off the knife so her proportions might be skewed a bit. But try it. You'll like it!

                                                          And if you like that, try subbing out the butter with a raw egg. Yum!

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: soypower

                                                            You're lucky- I grew up on margarine ;-(
                                                            But, I forgive my mom for that- she was a good home cook and God bless her for pulling dinner together most every night, even after a long day at work.

                                                            1. re: monavano

                                                              I too grew up on margarine. When I struck out on my own I switched to butter and never looked back. :)

                                                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                Me too.
                                                                I used to envy my neighbors as a kid- their mom used to bake Bavarian pretzels and they'd eat them slathered with salted butter.
                                                                It was sort of cruel, really.

                                                              2. re: monavano

                                                                For a long time margarine was "healthier" than butter.....and therefore our fridge had country crock-although it was largely ignored since there was always Challenge butter in the house as well.

                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                  I was very lucky. My Mom made sour cream butter every week; can't get butter the way she made it. It was delicious. Soypower, when the butter was just fresh and right after Mom salted it, we would always eat a bit by itself. Yummmm.

                                                              3. Well, I'm glad the "discovered" it finally. Go to Hokkaido and there's all sorts of butter combos. butter, corn ramen is a big one.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: trolley

                                                                  Yes, indeed. I've been busy doing research for my trip to Japan and am surprised to learn about the use of dairy in Hokkaido (where I start the 6 week trip of eating and drinking).

                                                                2. Oh yeah! Butter & soy. Sublime. "Warmth and luxury, elegance without pomp." A nice turn of phrase, that.

                                                                  I agree with the others that 1:1 is likely way too strong, and a small drizzle of soy over already-buttered rice would be a good place to start. Probably the first experience of that combination for most of us, after all.

                                                                  Of course to me butter combines magnificently with just about anything. Garlic butter, whaaaa... Butter & hoisin, mmmm... Butter & Worcestershire. Honey butter. Chive butter, or any kind of herbed butter. Actually I never met a compound butter that didn't send me a little closer to heaven. Butter & Maggi on steaks or greens, the deliciousness defies description. My favorite for popcorn is butter with a couple splashes of Louisiana sauce or sriracha.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                    Mmmmmmmm....Butter. Comedian John Pinette would relate. Speaking about the French and their cooking, he said: "Their reckless disregard for how bad butter is for you never failed to impress me."

                                                                    1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                      I've done both butter and soy sauce and butter with sriracha on popcorn. Both good, but I think the sriracha is a little more addictive.



                                                                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                        I'm convinced that the flavor combination of butter and Maggi is the linchpin that holds up the entire Japanese steakhouse industry in America.

                                                                      2. One of my favorite ways to eat plain rice is with butter, Sesame Oil and a touch of Soy sauce

                                                                        I learned this from my dads Korean GF many, many years ago.... not surprised it's a trend. I do recommend.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: sparky403

                                                                          My mom used to make me the exact same thing. Throw an egg in it for extra deliciousness!

                                                                          1. re: sparky403

                                                                            We did this, too! (I'm half-Korean).

                                                                            Also, we would have Sesame oil on a plate, mix it with a lot of coarse sea salt and dip meat into it.

                                                                            To answer the original ratio question, we never really worried about ratios when we ate this when I was growing up. We'd a generous spoonful of butter in, mix it thoroughly, then add in a little soy sauce, mix it again, and then add more if we needed. It's really up to your individual taste for butter and salt.

                                                                            Awesome, joonjoon! We would do eggs, too! :)

                                                                            We would also sometimes add black pepper, crushed red pepper gochujang (a korean red pepper paste), and/or sometimes canned tuna.

                                                                            1. re: JenBak

                                                                              This sounds amazing! Top with a little kimchi and it sounds like a great little meal!

                                                                              1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                Oh, yeah! I forgot to mention the kimchi! Sorry, I just always assume "and kimchi".

                                                                                One way we would prepare it would be to mix all the stuff I listed above (and kimchi, too) then cover the bowl with a plate and microwave it for a minute or two. The heat does amazing things for mixing the spices with the tuna, rice, kimchi, and egg (use raw egg, not cooked egg).

                                                                              2. re: JenBak

                                                                                I can't believe I forgot about it in my original response but my mom used to also melt a slice of American cheese into this mixture making it an awesome Korean American comfort dish. Mmm now I want some!

                                                                                1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                  wow. this is what i call true fusion. the natural melding of food from different cultures. this is from one who worries whenever she hears the word "fusion" regarding a restaurant.

                                                                            2. I read the article this morning and wondered about the recipe mentioned for beef satay with a soy butter sauce. I am making a pot roast tonight....any one have a suggestion of how I might use a soy-butter sauce? I was wondering if it could be spread on the roast before roasting or ?

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Tripper

                                                                                Ive been dousing my pot roast in soy sauce for years now. Makes a very rich gravy but you can't tell its soy sauce.

                                                                                1. re: daislander

                                                                                  Yes my DD goes on and on about the beef stew at daycare (they have a full kitchen and a cook). I make a few variations on beef stew so I was curious about what made theirs special - the daycare cooking tends to be decent but certainly not exotic or complex. Eventually they posted the recipe and it involves marinating the beef in soy sauce, vinegar and oil for 24 hours... after that it is a simple basic stew even featuring some root veg my kid disdains at home!

                                                                              2. This has been our standard way of seasoning green veggies for quite a while but we have subbed Tamari for Soy Sauce and sometimes I spray my buttered veg with Bragg Liquid Aminos (a "gourmet alternative to soy sauce and tamari from soy protein ").

                                                                                1. I just sauteed/quick braised up some rainbow chard and cremini mushrooms with soy sauce, butter and chicken stock.
                                                                                  Verdict? Yeah, this is good!

                                                                                  1. This was a game-changer for me too~! so simple, but so incredibly good takes no time at all! :) i use this mostly to drizzle on steak or salmon over mixed veggies.

                                                                                    quickly salt&pepper my protein, cook through then keep warm. in the same pan, quickly saute veggies (i love asparagus, green beans, mushrooms, onions), garlic, hit it with some sake or mirin (or both!), then add a quick turn of soy sauce. throw in cold pats of butter until sauce has thickened and doesn't taste too salty. (i'm guessing ratio ends up being about 1 part soy to 3 parts butter). make sure the sauce doesn't break! serve steak or salmon over the veggies and drizzle sauce on top :) yum!

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: roolala

                                                                                      Another great idea! And I love the single pan use for the whole meal.

                                                                                    2. Like others in this thread, I like butter and soy sauce on rice. Also on pan-fried mushrooms.

                                                                                      Butter and oyster sauce are also an excellent combination, particularly on the mushrooms.

                                                                                      If you're feeling fancy-pants, a dash of worcestershire sauce enhances either of those combinations.

                                                                                      1. I've never done this with butter, but my mom used to make us lard rice - which was, yes, pork lard with rice and soy sauce. She only made it for us once a year, if that, but boy did we look forward to that meal. I liked it heavy on the lard, light on soy.

                                                                                        1. I make "goop" (Hubster calls it) for grilled meats. 2 parts butter to one part soy sauce and some fresh garlic. Melt and brush on grilling meat.

                                                                                          1. I've tried it on roasted chicken. The idea came from a recipe I saw in Saveur. It called for equal part butter and soy and was then brushed on the bird. It was basted with the same mixture a few additional times while roasting. You wind up with a crisp dark skin that quite good. I would not follow the temp\time in the recipe if you happen to look it up. You will probably wind up with an over cooked bird if you do.

                                                                                            1. I first had it a few hears ago as a dipping sauce for panko-coated fried salmon fingers. Yum. With pickled ginger on the side.

                                                                                              1. i grew up in japan in the 1960s. my father and the other men on his ship were white americans. the wives were japanese. i remember backyard bbqs where the dads were manning the grill, basting meat with some kind of a soy sauce based marinade and i remember seeing entire sticks of butter melting into the sauce. i still wonder at what the actual recipe for that delcious basting sauce might have been.

                                                                                                1. fry 2 eggs sunny side up in lots of butter, put eggs over hot white rice, pour the melted butter over it, then sprinkle some soy sauce over the entire thing. best breakfast in the world. :-D

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                    Just cooked and ate this after seeing your concoction. Delicious and taste totally different than you would expect.

                                                                                                  2. Cajuns around the world may faint and turn over in their graves, but... when I make a gumbo I always use a dark, butter roux. Near the end of cooking I will almost always use soy sauce to season. So that's a combo of butter and soy that hasn't been discussed yet. The soy just adds a deeper flavor and salt to the gumbo. I also sometimes use oyster sauce, if I have it.

                                                                                                    Maybe not what you're concerned with but thought I'd throw it out there.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: thymetobake

                                                                                                        Interesting. I make a dark roux with clarified butter, and I always put worcestershire for an accent. I'll try soy next time. Maybe the fermentation is what does it.

                                                                                                      2. Last night I was feeling pretty uninspired for dinner. Whereas I might have made fried rice, I ended up using previously-cooked rice sautéed quickly in lots of melted butter and soy sauce. A bit of sesame oil at the end. I told the fam it was butter fried rice and they gobbled it all down. It was really good!

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                          adding sesame oil to a finish is always making me happy!

                                                                                                          1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                            i like that. butter fried rice!

                                                                                                          2. It's amazing on pork as well - I emulsify it with an egg yolk to keep it from separating.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                              Same idea for Kaya toast -- cook egg in butter.

                                                                                                            2. Had it on skirt steak last night - like I died and went to heaven.

                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: radworsky

                                                                                                                In her cookbook "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen" Andrea Nguyen features Garlic Noodles with Maggi Sauce and Butter. That's pretty much the list of ingredients as well. I reluctantly made it once, doubling the garlic and adding a lot of black pepper and it was unbelievably delicious, for such a simple ingredient list. Sometimes the simplest things are the tastiest. I don't recall whether I bothered to seek out the Maggi Sauce or not. I may have just used soy sauce with a dash of fish sauce, which I love.

                                                                                                                1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                  Wow. You doubled the amount of garlic??

                                                                                                                  I've made these before and they are indeed super-simple, fast and delicious. I'm a garlic lover, but I thought the amount in the recipe was enough.

                                                                                                                  I did use the maggi sauce, though. Love it.

                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                    Yes, but we were in the mood for a garlic fest. It's absolutely unnecessary, just delicious! The pepper addition was killer.

                                                                                                                    1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                      I love the recipe. Really oughtta make it again next time I need to satisfy a garlicky pasta craving!

                                                                                                                  2. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                    When we were young, back in Vietnam, we would often eat our rice with just butter and fish sauce: a dollop of butter on hot steamy rice and a drizzle of fish sauce.

                                                                                                                2. Inspired by the same article, I added a little soy sauce to the butter I was melting for my steamed artichoke the other night (maybe about 1.5 tsp soy to 2 tbsp butter?) So good!

                                                                                                                  1. It's amazing on shrimp. I'd just eyeball it and adjust for taste. Melt the butter first then add soy until it tastes how you want it.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: mrPalomar

                                                                                                                      Sounds like there's hardly a foodstuff short of ice cream this mixture doesn't work with. For the record, I dipped a toe in the water, so to speak, and drizzled a bit of soy on my buttered rice the other night. It was the side to a roast lamb shank.

                                                                                                                      I like it! And all these great ideas mean I'll be using a lot more of it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mcsheridan

                                                                                                                        Soy sauce on buttered rice is clearly the "gateway" dish for this combo! I've been eating it for many years.

                                                                                                                    2. I'm one of those who has been an intrepid cook and reading of cooking stuff, for years and years, and this was a revelation. I pulled up CH while some tiny potatoes were boiling, read this, and went immediately to melt a stick of butter and I guess about 2 tbls soy sauce. Used about 1/4 shaken up with the potatoes. Heaven. OMG. Popcorn, rice/egg - I know what I am eating the rest of the week!

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: saticoy

                                                                                                                        Another longtime favorite of mine is to fry sliced potatoes and onions in plenty of butter, then when the potatoes are just right I'll break in a couple of eggs, fold it with a spatula till they're cooked, douse with some good soya and finish with more butter and a bit of sesame oil. A great breakfast or dinner.

                                                                                                                      2. I've been putting soy sauce on rice forever but never thought to combine it with butter, even though I do make buttered rice. So thanks. Also, Mark Bittman came out with 2 tablespoons of soy and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil to drizzle on tomatoes; I've had it with cherry tomatoes and Campari tomatoes for the past few days. Tasty.

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Expat1234

                                                                                                                          That's the thing; there are still some people in this country for whom soy sauce is still exotic. And traditionally, you won't find dairy in Asian cuisine, so it's the blend of East-West that a) startles, and b) produces this amazing savoriness. Now that I tried it with rice, the gates are Open!

                                                                                                                          1. re: Expat1234

                                                                                                                            oh, sesame oil and tomato is just lovely. often i will "confit" grape tomatoes in butter with a bit of garlic and red chili flake. finish with sesame oil to make an easy/lazy sauce for shrimp or salmon.

                                                                                                                          2. (of plain rice)
                                                                                                                            " Dreaming up new combinations can be satisfying, like writing poetry, but nothing compares to the simplicity of a warm blue bowl of rice absorbing a yellow bit of butter, salt and pepper and a dash of soy sauce, with a cup of pale sweet tea, on a rainy day...."

                                                                                                                            43 years ago in _The Grub Bag_ by Ita Jones, 1971

                                                                                                                            the first book about food i picked for myself. it changed my life and still does.

                                                                                                                            1. On a riff of this one, I just tried equal parts oil and soy sauce and slightly less balsamic vinegar on pasta. Added some chopped chicken, julienned cucumbers and carrots, peas. Fantastic!

                                                                                                                              Gonna try it next with some cooked salmon instead of the chicken.

                                                                                                                              1. made this last night. Easy and delish.

                                                                                                                                Butter-steamed Broccoli with Soy


                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: bizkat

                                                                                                                                  Thanks for posting this; I just happen to have a full broccoli crown on hand, and will have this with dinner tomorrow night.

                                                                                                                                2. I can't believe this thread. I stumbled across this combo when making brussels sprouts for dinner, alone in my apartment, 30+ years ago when I was a young engineer. I couldn't get enough of it, but kind of forgot after years of being married to a veggiephobic guy. I've never heard it discussed before; It's perfectly matched to brussels, (which I now make often because my kids love them roasted, with evoo and salt) and I can't wait to have a soy+butter flashback. Popcorn, huh? I might have to try that.

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: mashemup

                                                                                                                                    I tried the popcorn thing after reading this thread - sounded counterintuitive, but I was feeling feisty. It does really work!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: mashemup

                                                                                                                                      Add a bit of balsamic toward the end of the cooking time to the Brussels sprouts and they get even better!

                                                                                                                                    2. For more than 15 years ago I´ve a Shitake with the same sauce was amazing.

                                                                                                                                      1. Start with a 1 - to - 1 ratio and then adjust it to your taste from there.

                                                                                                                                        I've got an old L.A. Times cookbook, probably from the late 70s or mid-80s, that is really quite good, tho' a bit dated nows. In it is a recipe for chicken wings in a soy and butter sauce. I am not necessarily a wing person, but I needed an easy appetizer for a party and this recipe was about as easy as it can get. Best wings I've ever made or eaten and they were positively inhaled by my guests.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                          How do you make it?
                                                                                                                                          I'm not much of a wings person, so I don't know the technique. But these sound really good!

                                                                                                                                        2. I made creamed chipped beef over toast this weekend and added soy sauce to the butter the beef was cooked in, and it just took it over the top.

                                                                                                                                            1. Wish these newspaper articles would give a little historical context when they rediscover such perennial ideas. (Not long ago I read some US chef claiming to've "invented" multi-generational chicken stocks, where you keep cooking more chickens in a stock to enrich it, while drawing off a minority, to use. A classic Chinese technique, probably for centuries, and already in mainstream print -- specifically to make chicken stock for cooking, as that chef did -- in the US for decades.)

                                                                                                                                              Yes Benihana has done this for decades but were hardly the first to popularize it in the US. Before Benihana, the soysauce-butter combo was in print in recipes for noodle dishes, and as a base for tossing "snack mixes," hugely popular around 50 years ago -- nuts and small pretzels, crackers, Rice Chex™ or whatever, tossed and roasted with fat-based flavorings, and served in bowls.

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                                                It is re-inventing the wheel. The chicken you refer to above is simply a poultry pot-au-feu as described in many 19th century French writings. I sometimes think that the Inventor just doesn't read...or maybe the inventor reads but knows his customers don't.

                                                                                                                                                I was amused recently when someone praised the historian Braudel for his revolutionary insight that France can be divided into realms of butter and of oil. He wrote that many years after Waverly Root did..and Root, for all I know, my have cadged it from Tacitus or another mouldy old writer.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, Root famously divided France up in his book by its cooking fats -- the Domains of Butter, Lard, and Oil; and he did credit classical antiquity a lot in his initial chapter. (Italy, by contrast, he divided up by the cultures that set the local gastronomic tone -- Greeks, Etruscans, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                  I will not here go into analogous experiences with "invention" of other kinds (the kinds that the USPTO deals with) -- for example, people claiming to've "invented" something widely published years earlier.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                                                    The inventor in these cases--an Ali Hakim of his tribe---relies on his customers' ignorance. This is often a sound bet.

                                                                                                                                                    Lots of Great Food Items are really Public Relation triumphs. The Great 19th Century Chefs were often Showmen (some would say charlatans).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                                                                                      Yet when that US chef a few years ago went on national media and explicitly sought attention for "inventing" a specific restaurant stock-making technique known already to thousands of Americans of all backgrounds who'd read the multiple existing books about Chinese cooking that described the same technique, he created a vulnerability.

                                                                                                                                                      Just as with scholarly work, or patentable inventions, if you recreate something that was already highly public, you establish that you were dishonest or lazy (even if it's never clear which).

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: hazelhurst

                                                                                                                                                    I once went to a Brazilian festival where they were claiming a new method of cooking, which was grilling meat over a wood fire. Seriously.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                        felt like it. My Wife actually pointed out, because I was simply salivating over grilled meat!

                                                                                                                                                2. Also -- I didn't see the original article, but "a kind of pop the cognoscenti call umami, a fifth taste beyond bitter, sour, salty and sweet" comes across dubiously food-literate, as if the writer was completely new to writing about food.

                                                                                                                                                  "Umami" is a borrowed Japanese buzzword, novel in the US 10 years ago but now increasingly mainstream, for a familiar _concept_ many decades old in the US, usually called flavor enhancers. Novel perhaps 50 years ago. A simple picture, clouded here by the knee-jerk insistence on quoting the Japanese "fifth-taste" cliché, as US journalists always do when new to this subject. (Actually if you look into it, something like eight taste categories are known to experts, with interacting effects, and the "fifth-taste" catch phrase, though fashionable, is distracting: the real point of flavor enhancers is the intensification of familiar tastes, not the creation of some kind of new one.) Umami is a novel WORD for something that always has been part of many natural food flavors.

                                                                                                                                                  Soy sauces are a famous ancient concentrated source of widely occurring natural flavor enhancers (especially l-glutamate), Soy sauces are among the strongest natural sources of the components of MSG.

                                                                                                                                                  THOSE are the sort of clarifying background facts that a knowledgeable food journalist might have helpfully cited.

                                                                                                                                                  1. This is the best thing that has happened to veggies in our house in a long time. Thanks for the idea!

                                                                                                                                                    1. Butter, soy sc & green onion:
                                                                                                                                                      make an amazing baste for corn on the cob especially when you baste while bbq'ing

                                                                                                                                                      I might try it on the bbq with chicken thighs tonight hmmm...

                                                                                                                                                      1. something i recently started doing with white rice: obtain some kind of butter spray, and spray a little less than half of your plate with it. Put rice on other side and add some margarine, soy sauce, sriracha hot sauce, salt and pepper. Then add about half of a beaten egg to butter sprayed side. Put some frozen peas on top of everything. Microwave for about 2:30-3:30 minutes until egg is thoroughly cooked. Mix everything up and enjoy! May be unhealthy or sound nasty to some but I love it!

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                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ilovefood313

                                                                                                                                                          Why not nix the spray and the margarine and use butter?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                            To riff on an old saying, "lips that touch margarine will never touch mine."