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What is tamari and how does it differ from soy sauce?

Tamari is a special ingredient widely used by food enthusiasts in their day-to-day culinary quest. It works like a fish sauce and conventional soy sauce in which you can incorporate umami flavors in many dishes. 

You can use tamari, whether as a condiment, as a base for other sauces, or a seasoning, to enhance the complexity in your marinades, gravies, and soups. 

This Japanese-style condiment is also frequently compared to light soy sauce, often found in Chinese cuisine. 

But there’s a big difference between the two ingredients when it comes to flavor. So if you want to figure out how these two sauces differ, then hop on!

This essential guide also tells you everything about tamari, from its flavor profile, usage, and tips on how to store the sauce properly so you can extend its shelf life.

What is tamari

Tamari is a Japanese-style soy sauce made from a high concentration of soybeans. Unlike light soy sauce, tamari doesn’t contain wheat, so it’s gluten-free and calls for fewer ingredients to put together! 

The condiment also has a rich and deep umami flavor with a rich, thick textural nuance.

These characteristics make tamari popular throughout the globe. Many cooks use the condiment to season Asian-inspired dishes such as sashimi, noodles, tempura, dumplings, or dipping sauce.

What does tamari sauce taste like

Because tamari contains twice the amount of soybeans, the sauce tends to have a richer and deeper soy flavor than the regular soy sauce, which offers a thinner and more salt-forward taste. 

However, you can always use the latter in your recipes as both ingredients are relatively interchangeable. And when using tamari as a substitute for soy sauce, ensure to add a little extra salt to your recipes.

Is tamari sauce gluten-free

Unlike the light soy sauce, made from a blend of cooked soybeans and roasted wheat grain as staple ingredients, tamari doesn’t contain wheat, making it an ideal sauce for those on a gluten-free diet.

How to use tamari sauce

There are many ways to make use of tamari sauce. You bring its rich and deep umami flavor to marinades, gravies, and soups, or season it to some of your Asian-inspired favorites like sashimi, noodles, tempura, and dumplings. 

Tamari also has a rich and thick textural nuance, making it an ideal choice as a condiment or dipping sauce.

Tamari vs soy sauce

Tamari is a special sauce that’s being used in many Asian-inspired recipes. Just like the Chinese-style soy sauce, it’s also a result of soybean fermentation. However, both ingredients aren’t the same products. 

Here are some differences between tamari and soy sauce:

  1. Tamari is made from a high concentration of soybeans, so it’s richer and deeper in flavor than the light soy sauce. 
  2. The majority of tamari sauces sold in the market today are made without wheat, making them completely gluten-free. 
  3. Apart from its deeper umami flavor, tamari tends to have a rich and thick texture ideal for sauces and soups. 
  4. The traditional soy sauce is mainly made in China, while tamari comes from Japan. 
  5. Traditional soy sauce is derived from a mixture of cooked soybeans and roasted wheat grain fermented. 

How to store tamari sauce

Storing your tamari sauce shouldn’t be complicated. If it’s newly bought and unopened, you should keep it in its original container and place it in a cool, dry, and dark area like the pantry. 

If you’ve already opened the bottle, the best place to store it is either in the pantry or the fridge. Storing the sauce in the fridge will help retain its flavor and texture. Just make sure to seal the container tightly to lock out air, moisture, or insects.

The bottom line

Due to its incredible taste and textural nuance, tamari sauce is bound to continue to flavor many recipes, not only in Asian cuisine but throughout the world. 

Now that you’re already equipped with what tamari is, you must learn how to make use of the condiment so you can bring its rich umami flavor to your prized dishes!

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