{ebony and ivory} Black Rice Salad with White Soy Sauce

Have you ever heard of white soy sauce? I hadn’t, but when I saw this box at my local store I found myself shielding my eyes from the $18 price tag and bringing it home, eager for a soy sauce unboxing.

If you’ve ever read a tech blog, then you are surely aware of the tech blogger’s absurd fetish for unboxing. Unboxing, which is the act of videotaping oneself taking a new gadget out of a box and putting it on the internet, has been referred to as “geek porn”. You may not know this about me, but I used to write for a geeky techie blog called Technabob. So I think there’s a little bit of that geeky unboxing drive still left inside, although since this is soy sauce and not an iPhone, I opted for a few still shots instead of a video. Inside the box was a pretty brown bottle that kind of looked medicinal, like a hydrogen peroxide bottle. Food geek porn?

I looked up white soy sauce on the trusty internets to try to learn more about it, but mostly found conflicting information. Here is what I do know: It’s a Japanese product, called shiro shoyu (shiro=white, shoyu=soy.) This website says that dark soy sauce is made from 80% soybeans and 20% wheat, while white soy sauce is the opposite–20% soybeans and 80% wheat.

But is the soy sauce really white? No. More like the color of a nice amber ale. And a little fizzy too.

So what about the taste? I think the white soy sauce is more subtle, less salty, with less umami, and a little sweeter. I wanted to experiment so I thought that it would be fun to pair white soy sauce with black rice.

Why? Well… it actually came to me because when I was a kid I used to love the Paul McCartney/Stevie Wonder song “Ebony and Ivory” A LOT. I was 6 years old when it first topped the charts, and it really made a lasting impression on me. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I can share this message of racial harmony and bad hairstyles with you. I also very much appreciate how Stevie Wonder has on a black shirt and white vest, while McCartney is sporting a white shirt and black vest. They didn’t miss a single opportunity to highlight the song’s theme, did they?

One more thing: if your local store doesn’t happen to carry things like $18 soy sauce, you can buy it on Amazon. Of course, you could also just make this recipe with regular soy sauce, and I bet it will still taste good.

Black Rice Salad with White Soy Sauce


  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, cored and sliced thinly
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil, divided
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped in small cubes
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped finely
  • 5 cups cooked black (forbidden) rice
  • 2-3 Tbsp white soy sauce
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 Tblsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted cashews


  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the cabbage and a large pinch of salt and saute for 3-5 minutes, until cabbage is softened but still bright purple and with a slight bite. Turn off heat and toss with rice vinegar. Spread around the rim of a large serving platter.
  • In the same pan, heat 1 tsp sesame oil. Add the carrots and cook about 5 minutes, until they start to brown. Add the shallots and cook until carrots are soft and shallots are translucent.
  • Add the cooked rice, 2 tsp sesame oil, the white soy sauce, the chopped scallions, and the sesame seeds. Cook for about 5 minutes to heat through.
  • Arrange the rice in the middle of the cabbage and garnish with cashwews. Serve immediately.

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1 Response

  1. Dana says:

    Whoa! Food geek porn for the win! I’ve never heard of unboxing before. I’m going to have to keep an eye out for this soy sauce.