Soy sauce

Before moving on to Tamari vs soy sauce, we should share some thoughts about its contemporary sauce, which is derived from soybeans and is called soy sauce. We obtain it by fermenting soybeans and then adding wheat, salt, and some water to it. After the mash has been left to age, concentrate, and strain for some time, it is bottled and packaged to serve the needs of the billions. It is part and parcel of nearly every Asian kitchen, and probably the most popular sauce used in the world.

As a rule, soy sauce is a brewed and fermented mixture of soybeans, wheat, and other grains.

Tamari, on the other hand, is often free from wheat and hence gluten. It also has fewer ingredients than tamari and contains water, soybeans, and salt only. Soy sauce containers usually list wheat as an ingredient with sodium benzoate as a preservative. Tamari has a rich flavor, thick consistency, and a dark hue as compared to soy sauce. Besides, you should remember that soy sauce is a Chinese spice while Tamari vs soy sauce is a Japanese one.

Tamari is not any less popular than soy sauce. You would find it in nearly every sushi restaurant, and nearly every Japanese kitchen. They both are found on the same shelves at a grocery store, come in almost the same bottles, are used alike in Asian cuisines, and many Asian restaurants offer both in their recipes.

Tamari

has seen a blow up in recent years and is treated as an alternative to traditional soy sauce. You can replace soy sauce with tamari because both have an almost identical taste for most people. But, why would anyone bother to consider replacing soy sauce? The reason behind this is the gluten-free nature of tamari. Soy sauce contains wheat as an ingredient, while tamari does not. This difference is well-known in the cooking industry and many other things set these two guys apart.

What exactly is tamari?

Tamari is pressed from the liquid draining from the fermented soybeans, also known as miso paste. Salt and water are added to this liquid miso paste and what we get is called tamari. Wheat is not part of tamari and so it is gluten-free. On the other hand, soy sauce contains almost 50% wheat in it and is sold at a higher price compared to tamari. Soy sauce can be used in almost any dish, but it is particularly relished with sushi. Tamari, on the other hand, is used as dressing, dipping sauce, stir frys, and so much more. So, if you have a gluten-free diet plan, tamari is probably the best option for you.

Ingredients & nutrition

When talking about ingredients, the main difference between the two is wheat. Some chemically produced soy sauces contain an additional dose of hydrochloric acid, caramel color, corn syrup, and other grains. So it is always essential to check the label to choose natural soy sauce with ingredients only water, wheat, sodium, and salt.

They are much like each other in terms of nutrition. Both are low carb, low calories, zero fat, and sodium-rich sauces.

Tamari is full of vitamins, minerals, and other compounds found in fermented foods. It is relatively low in sodium compared to soy sauce that contributes to its safety for long-term use as compared to soy sauce. It has many potential health benefits.

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Taste

Tamari is known for its bolder, less salty taste compared to soy sauce. The brine used to brew and ferment soy sauce is very salty so it gives soy sauce its salty taste. Tamari is also thicker in consistency compared to soy sauce.

Tamari is mellow, less salty, and more nuanced in taste than soy sauce. The wheat present in traditional soy sauce gives it a pungent, vinegar-like taste that is absent in tamari because of the absence of wheat. Tamari, on the other hand, is known for umami, a rich, savory, and meat-like flavor present in beef, dried fish, aged cheese, and cooked mushrooms. It can be used to create a meat-like taste in vegan dishes.

When should I use soy sauce?

The thin consistency and salty taste of soy sauce make it an important additive in salty dishes. Fried rice is a dish in which it finds its excellent use due to its thin consistency and salty nature, rendering it more tasteful without adding a sauce-like texture to the dish. It is also used as a part of stir-fry sauce in addition to sesame oil, orange juice, garlic, and ginger.

When should I use Tamari?

The thickness of tamari makes it ideal for dipping. It is also a better choice for sushi as it provides more in less. Dipping the fish in tamari gives you a unique umami flavor which is better than drenching sushi in soy sauce and making it salty. The thick consistency, savory umami flavor, and caramel undertone make it perfect to be used as a sauce base. It should be preferred over soy sauce in making noodle bowls.

Where can I find both?

Asian food has become mainstream thanks to globalization. You can find tamari vs soy sauce placed side by side in glass jars or large plastic containers in the Asian or International section of a reputed supermarket. On the other hand, if your local grocery store does not have it, you should be able to find it in some Asian/International food store or purchase it online.

Storage

Try to store soy sauce and tamari in a cool, dry, and dark place. They do not need to be refrigerated so there is no point in doing so. Opened jugs should be kept tightly capped to retain the original taste.