A standard addition to stir fry and Chinese take-out, soy sauce is a great way to bring umami to the table. A little bit of soy sauce goes a long way in flavoring marinades, brines and all sorts of dipping sauces.
Soy sauce is a condiment that has been used since about 300 A.D. The standard bottle of soy sauce you’ll usually find in the international section of the grocery store is a Japanese “dark” soy sauce. Mirin, a sweet rice wine, is added to soy sauce to create a “light” variety which is slightly sweeter. There are also “light” and “dark” Chinese varieties of soy sauce that can be found in some specialty Asian markets.
Most soy sauce is made with wheat in addition to soybeans, but tamari is made with little to no wheat, and many brands offer completely gluten-free tamari. A gluten- and soy-free soy sauce substitute is coconut aminos, which tastes similarly to soy sauce but is made from coconut tree sap.
Store unopened soy sauce in a cool, dark place. Once opened, store soy sauce in the refrigerator. Because soy sauce (even the reduced sodium kind) contains so much salt, go easy on seasoning when you use it and make sure to taste it as you cook to avoid a salt overload.
Instead of ordering in this week get soy-sauce savvy with these 25 recipes.
- Try making your Chinese food craving at home. It’s healthier than ordering in and fun to experiment with new ingredients in the kitchen. General Tso’s Chicken, crispy and coated in a sweet sauce, is a great place to start.
- Soy sauce balances out a sweet BBQ sauce in Kelsey Nixon’s Roasted Pork Loin with Peach BBQ Sauce. Use fresh or frozen peaches depending on the season.
- Add tons of flavor to weeknight classic Tuna Noodle Casserole (pictured) by cooking mushrooms and onions with sherry and soy sauce, which brighten up a sometimes-flavorless dish.
- Eat delicious, fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs any time of year with the help of your slow cooker. After the Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Ribs come out of the slow cooker, crisp them up underneath the broiler or on the grill.
- Crunchy and slightly sweet, Coconut Shrimp with Peanut Sauce is irresistible. Use canola or peanut oil for deep frying, as they have higher smoke points than other oil like olive oil.