FUKUI – A soy sauce maker and a food company in Fukui Prefecture, along with Fukui Prefectural University, have jointly developed an alcohol-free soy saucelike seasoning with the aim of marketing it to Muslim consumers at home and abroad.
The new seasoning, named Fukumurasaki, has been approved as halal, which means that the product is processed according to Islamic law, which requires that food served to Muslims be completely alcohol-free.
Soy sauce usually contains a small amount of alcohol as it is made through the fermentation of soy beans via rice malt.
But a newly developed method of fermentation discovered by Takashi Utagawa, a specially appointed professor of applied microbiology at Fukui Prefectural University, led to the production of Fukumurasaki, which is alcohol-free.
When fermenting fish to produce the sauce that serves as the basic ingredient of Fukumurasaki, Utagawa, 66, used a degradative enzyme contained in fish entrails to reduce the fermentation time.
Since the fermentation was shortened to one day as opposed to the usual six to 12 months needed for to make regular soy sauce, Utagawa successfully produced a fish sauce that is completely free of alcohol.
The new fermentation method was prompted by a product development project launched in 2008 at the university. The project is aimed at developing new products using the internal organs of fish, which are usually disposed of when making Fukui’s local specialty, “heshiko,” or mackerel pickled in salted rice-bran paste.
Local soy sauce maker Muroji Co. will be in charge of production, while sales and marketing will be handled by Fukui BioTech Co., also based in Fukui.
Saeed Akhtar, 45, director at the Japan-based Nippon Asia Halal Association that issues halal certificates for food items produced in Japan, said Muslims around the globe will feel comfortable using Fukumurasaki.
The seasoning made its debut at an international food fair held in March at Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba.
“Soy sauce flavor is a basis of Japanese cuisine,” Utagawa said, adding he hopes people from around the globe will enjoy eating Japanese food during the 2020 Olympic Games, which will be held in Tokyo.
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