Despite being diagnosed with a likely soy allergy and confirming it with a food challenge, I also challenged gluten-free tamari separately and decided I could handle it. But paying a little more attention to the fact that I felt lousy the day after Denise and I would have sushi, and also when I’d make stir-fry, I started experimenting with making my own soy sauce substitute. I did try coconut aminos. I didn’t like them. Your mileage may vary, but coconut aminos can also be a bit on the pricey side. Regardless of what you find that works for you, I think that soy sauce is a handy flavor to have in your arsenal for so many uses.
I looked at and tried a variety of recipes online, but none were quite exactly what I wanted, taste-wise. This recipe is my version — I’d suggest trying it in this size (makes a little less than a cup) and then seeing what you might want more or less of in your own final version. Then, if you find you use it regularly, double it. So far, it seems to last safely about a month in the fridge. None of mine has made it past that.
This sauce works best, in my opinion, in cooked or mixed recipes, so stir-fry, teriyaki, marinades of all sorts (like jerky), rather than as a dipping sauce for sushi. Although, hey, it works there, too, but it shows its differences a little more.
Soy-free, gluten-free Tamari Sauce
- 1 cup of beef or mushroom stock*
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (be sure this is free of “caramel coloring”)
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (free of sweeteners)
- 3 teaspoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns (lightly smash one or two if you really like pepper flavor)
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic or one large clove, smashed
- 1 large chunk of ginger — approximately 1 inch square, but chopped into 4 or so pieces
- 1 pinch of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon (or so) of salt
In a saucepan, mix all the ingredients except the salt. A fork or whisk seems to work best to incorporate the onion powder and fully blend the molasses.
Bring to a boil, then turn down to a high simmer (it should still be bubbling briskly) and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until reduced by 1/3 in volume.
Remove from heat, whisk in salt. Allow the mixture to cool, then strain and bottle. Store in the fridge.
*I would not highly recommend veggie stock for this, although if you really roasted the veg good and brown, it might be okay. Mushroom broth or stock has a richer flavor in the right direction for a soy sauce replacer, though, so if you want to make this vegan or vegetarian, and you’re not allergic to mushrooms, check out that option. There is at least one boxed brand on the market, or Vegetarian Times has a recipe.
If you tweak this to your tastes, please let us know! Post your recipe or a link below in the comments.