Soy Sauce and Tamari 101
Soy sauce is a common accompaniment to Chinese and Japanese food. But tamari? What is it made from and how to shop? Find out here
Both are made from miso (fermented soybeans), water, and, most often, wheat. High in sodium and used for seasoning, particularly in Asian cuisine.
Although originating in China, today’s Japanese producers are considered the premier tamari and soy sauce choices. Both are available in gluten free selections made without wheat but with soybeans; regular and low-sodium varieties, as well as a variety of sizes. For fuller, richer flavor choose tamari, considered a better balance of rich and salty. Tamari is thicker, naturally brewed and aged, and has less sodium and wheat. Avoid choices made with MSG. Buy in glass bottles, preferably without an overlay of plastic, for additional freshness. Many imported brands accent longer aging, which adds more complexity to the flavor.
Unopened bottles should be kept in a cool dark cupboard and refrigerated upon opening for up to six months.
Tamari and soy sauce can be used as a seasoning for all savory foods, combined with ginger and garlic for marinades or used in lieu of salt as a finishing touch.
Because of the high sodium content, tamari and soy sauce should be used sparingly by those with high blood pressure. It has 9 percent tryptophan, nearly 5 percent manganese, and modest amounts of protein and niacin. Very low in calories.