Ninniku Shoyu-Zuke: Garlic-Infused Soy Sauce

“Shoyu (醤油)”, known as soy sauce in English-speaking countries, is a quintessential Japanese seasoning, together with Miso fermented soybean paste. In recent years, the soy seasoning Shoyu is widely used in many countries and can easily be obtained even outside of Japan using online shopping sites.

Shoyu is one of the seasonings that are most commonly used in households in Japan, and many Japanese prefer soy sauce to any other seasoning and use it in almost any food, including Onigiri (rice balls), steak, and salad.

Additionally, since Shoyu is a basic and essential seasoning in Japanese cuisine, we sometimes use it as the base for home-made seasonings. When I think of such Japanese seasonings, what comes to my mind right away is “Ninniku Shoyu (にんにく醤油)”, also called “Ninniku Shoyu-zuke (にんにく醤油漬け)”.

Ninniku Shoyu-zuke (にんにく醤油漬け)

Ninniku Shoyu-zuke with Habanero Pepper

The word “Ninniku (にんにく)” means garlic in Japanese, so Ninniku Shoyu, or Ninniku Shoyu-zuke, is basically made only with 2 ingredients, garlic, and soy sauce. By the way, “Zuke (漬け)” is the Japanese suffix meaning to pickle or infuse food in seasonings.

In short, Ninniku Shoyu-zuke is garlic-infused soy sauce and it is a common, versatile seasoning in Japan. When garlic is infused in soy sauce for a while, the sauce can get a depth of taste and a nice aroma from garlic that stimulates the appetite.

Basic Recipe

Image and Recipe: Gurunavi

Actually, the basic recipe for Ninniku Shoyu-zuke is quite simple as follows. By the way, the resulting garlic soy sauce can be preserved for up to one month in the refrigerator.


  1. Remove the skin of garlic cloves, then cut off the root end of each garlic clove
  2. Put soy sauce (100 ml) in a jar sterilized by boiling and infuse the prepared cloves of garlic (one head) in it
  3. Close a lid and let the sauce rest for 2 weeks in the refrigerator
  4. Ready to use!

This is a basic way to make Ninniku Shoyu-zuke and you can add your own touches to it. For example, some Japanese make Ninniku Shoyu with the addition of mirin and sake rice wine. It is also good to infuse red peppers, herbs, or green shiso (perilla) leaves, with garlic.

How to Use Garlic Soy Sauce

The garlic soy sauce Ninniku Shoyu goes especially well with beef steak and hamburg steak. Not only that but as the sauce is a kind of versatile seasoning, it can be used in various ways and a variety of dishes, instead of regular soy sauce.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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