Before I post the masterpiece that my husband whipped up a couple of nights ago, let me first write something about the seasoning that figures prominently in the preparation of that dish — sweet soy sauce. Thai sweet soy sauce, to be exact.
For the longest time, I have been using the kecap manis, the Indonesian sweet soy sauce. But I haven’t been able to find kecap manis in any supermarket for a long time. It just seems to have disappeared. In fact, there aren’t many Indonesian brands in the supermarket these days. What I see a lot of (aside from Chinese and Taiwanese food products, that is) are Japanese, Korean and Thai brands. Tired of not being able too cook dishes that require sweet soy sauce, I finally decided to try Thai sweet soy sauce.
What’s the big deal about sweet soy sauce? Why not just add sugar to regular soy sauce? Sweet soy sauce is a thin paste rather than a liquid. And it isn’t just sugar that’s added. Kecap manis, for instance, is flavored with star anise. And it isn’t sweetened with just any sugar — kecap manis is sweetened with palm sugar (I’ll post a photo of palm sugar next time — it’s after midnight here and too dark to do photography in the kitchen).
How is Thai sweet soy sauce different from kecap manis? Both are pastes but Thai sweet soy sauce is made from molasses. No spice is listed — it’s just soy sauce and sweetener but the label clearly says it is fat free.
Which is better? They’re not really the same but both go well in dishes that require sweet soy sauce.