You can get just about anything in powder form these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. Eggs or milk, for example. Sometimes, however, you’ll discover a game changer, like powdered soy sauce. It’s no small-batch, handcrafted elixir served on tap, but its reconstituted form is technically fresher than the bottle with the sticky cap that’s been in your fridge door for two years.
Powdered soy sauce is soy sauce combined with maltodextrin powder, a flavorless starch commonly used in food preservation. Preserved fresh soy sauce stored in an airtight container actually reconstitutes into fresher product than what you’ll get out of the aforementioned crusty fridge bottle, which starts losing its pleasing nuances and takes on off-tasting metallic flavors after six months. This versatile substance is even crafted with highest-quality soy sauce, mixed with powdered yuzu and ground chilies and sold by a restaurant in Kyoto.
Reconstitute it with water to taste, or sprinkle it on rice, noodles, nuts, edamame, dumplings, fresh sliced vegetables or anything else that could use a salty umami kick. You can even sprinkle it on sushi — it’s a much easier way to keep the soy sauce on the fish and off the rice without risking losing your entire nigiri to the soy sauce dish. Buy a package and go to town, or just use the liquid stuff, which obviously also tastes great.
Soy sauce isn’t alone in the powdered Asian condiment game. Most wasabi you encounter is powder mixed with water to produce that sad blob in the corner of your plastic tray (extruded from a pastry bag with a decorative tip if you’re lucky). Had instant ramen lately? Enough said. Yes, Japan really has the just-add-water game locked down.