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Japanese meals big Kikkoman desires soy sauce to be the ‘ketchup of India’

MUMBAI: Each dish tastes higher with a touch of soy sauce, even dessert: That is the formidable pitch of Japanese meals big Kikkoman, hoping to influence Indians to make use of it in curries, sweets and every thing in between.

Convincing 1.three billion folks so as to add a staple of East Asian delicacies to their butter rooster and samosas is not any cakewalk however it’ll doubtless be simpler than the model’s 1960s push into the USA.

“After we entered the US, folks thought we had been promoting bug juice due to its darkish color,” Harry Hakuei Kosato, Kikkoman’s India consultant, informed AFP.

In the present day the model’s funnel-shaped dispenser is a ubiquitous presence in US households, accounting for half of the agency’s US$4.Four billion revenues, and Kikkoman now hopes to duplicate that success in India.

Gross sales had been boosted by the West’s rising craze for Japanese delicacies because the 1980s, however the firm is taking a special method to India, which is dwelling to a big vegetarian inhabitants.

“It’s not about getting everybody to eat sushi. We wish our soy sauce to turn out to be the ketchup of India,” mentioned Kosato.

He hopes that the transfer to market the sauce as an endlessly adaptable condiment will ring a bell in a rustic the place culinary innovation is a part of road meals tradition.

As an illustration, Mumbai’s grilled Bombay Sandwich – a hawker staple – is a buttered British-style toastie, however with a filling that features boiled potato, onion, tomato, beetroot, and coriander chutney, topped with a sprinkling of “sev”, a crunchy deep-fried Indian snack.

So it’s maybe unsurprising that some Indian cooks started utilizing soy sauce of their dishes lengthy earlier than Kikkoman launched within the nation earlier this 12 months.


Restaurateur Prashant Issar first deployed it in a biryani six years in the past, whereas working Mirchi and Mime, a Mumbai restaurant showcasing fashionable Indian delicacies.

Since then he has added a touch of soy sauce to a variety of native dishes, from samosas to lamb keema.

“Once I tried it with keema pao, it was similar to ‘oh my god’. It was an explosion of flavours,” Issar informed AFP.

“It has this indefinable umami flavour, this tart, sharp high quality you possibly can’t discover anyplace else,” he defined, describing it as “a little bit of a chef’s secret”.

Kikkoman is now attempting to get the phrase out to atypical Indians and relying on social media influencers like Shalini Kapoor to drum up an urge for food for its product.

For Kapoor, a house chef who by no means appreciated the “artificial” style of locally-available soy sauces and could not think about utilizing the condiment in Indian meals, the outcomes have been revelatory.

She has even used it to make jalebis – a deep-fried pretzel soaked in sugar syrup.

“I feel it is superb in Indian desserts,” she informed AFP.

But it surely may take the remainder of India extra time to catch as much as the thought, she acknowledged.

“They only must get a style of it.”


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