Tamari Sauce – An Overview

Tamari Sauce – An Overview

Tamari is a sauce that is used as an alternative to soy sauce.

Types of Soy-Sauce

Five types of soy sauces are quite popular in Japanese households and restaurants:

  1. Tamari
  2. Koikuchi
  3. Shiro
  4. Usukuchi
  5. Sai-shikomi

The difference between them is their contents and fermentation process.

What is Tamari Sauce?

Most people think that soy sauce is just one individual sauce, but that is not the case. There are approximately seven types of soy sauce available in the Asian market. The difference in all of these sauces is the process of fermentation and their taste. The taste differs slightly, but it is still noticeable. The fermentation makes soy sauce of soybeans, water, salt, and wheat.

To put it simply, the sauce differs from all the other soy-sauces because of its wheat content. There is little to no wheat involved in the sauce’s preparation, which makes it better than its other sibling sauces.  Tamari has a darker color than soy sauce. It tastes better than soy sauce. Furthermore, the reason for its popularity is that it is gluten-free. People on a gluten diet or who have a gluten allergy can use the sauce instead of soy sauce.

The difference in Tamari & Soy Sauce

The fermentation process use koji(fungus) and moromi(brine) in both cases. The fermentation process of soy sauce uses soybeans, wheat, water, and salt. Wheat is responsible for the presence of gluten in soy sauce. The ratio of wheat in soy sauce is 1:1. This means that wheat makes 50% of soya sauce. All the ingredients are fermented for months in koji and more, and then this mixture is extracted to get the final product.

Tamari is also fermented just like the soy sauce, but it is the fermentation of miso paste. There is little to no wheat used in the fermentation process. Most of the time, the available sauce in the markets is gluten-free, but it is still a great practice to check the label before buying.

Taste of Tamari

It has a special umami flavor. In Japanese, umami means a ‘pleasant savory flavor’. Due to this unique and lovely flavor, it makes for a good dipping sauce. It is a better option to use this instead of soy sauce with sushi as soy sauce has an added saltiness that masks the taste of sushi. Not just sushi, but other dishes such as roasted tofu and stir-fry taste better when tamari is used. It is said that the sauce adds meatiness to vegan foods.

Why is Tamari great for a Gluten-Free Diet?

Most Asian recipes call for soy sauce, and that is not good if you are on a gluten-free diet. Soy sauce is made up of soybeans and wheat. Wheat is a product that you cannot eat when you are on a gluten diet. It is better not to use soy sauce or substitute it with some other sauce. Soy sauce also has other additives, such as caramel syrup or corn syrup.

Tamari is found in most stores labeled as ‘gluten-free soy sauce. There is little to no difference in the taste, and one can be used as an alternative to the other. Besides, many recipes online now have a side note that informs the viewer to substitute soy sauce with a gluten-free sauce. It also has a good amount of salt. After using the sauce, you should not add any additional salt. There is also low-sodium sauce available in the market for people who do not like the taste of salt. This sauce is also expensive than soy sauce.

The sauce also contains fewer ingredients than the typical soy sauce. This makes the sauce great in taste and provides a darker color.

It is also important to note that there is also gluten-free soy sauce available in the market. This sauce is not made with soybeans. This sauce is made by combining rice and soybeans during the fermentation process and then extracting the liquid. The taste of this sauce resembles the taste of soy sauce. It is best to know about this if your market does not have the sauce available.

How to Use the Tamari Sauce?

This sauce can be used as a dipping sauce instead of soy sauce. It can be used in the making of stir-fry, soups, and dressings. This can bring out a rich flavor, and it does not mask the flavor of other ingredients. Following are some of the recipes that need the taste of the sauce:

  • Glazed Salmon
  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Roasted Peanuts
  • Soba Salad
  • Root Vegetable Cakes

And, of course, it can be used as a substitute for soy sauce.

Where to Buy the Sauce?

Tamari is available in every big supermarket. The Asian/International section has a section dedicated to different types of soy sauce. It is better to read the label before purchasing because some sauces have a small amount of wheat. It is better to be safe if you have celiac disease or on a gluten-free diet. If the supermarket does not have the sauce, you can visit any Asian market to buy the sauce. It should be noted that this is a Japanese product, so you might visit a supermarket that has Asian food categorized.

Benefits of Tamari

The sauce has a lot of benefits. It is full of many vitamins and minerals, and it specifically has manganese with other nutrients present. It also has a great number of polysaccharides that are good for the cardiovascular and immune systems. It is also important to use the low-sodium version of the sauce as it is more beneficial.

Bottom Line

This sauce is better than soy sauce in many ways. The taste, the ingredients, and the benefits are more than the typical sauce. Though it is a little expensive, it is better. Suppose you are thinking of using this and dumping the other in the trash can, don’t. Keep both in the pantry as some recipes only taste good when soy is used.


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