Fans of Japanese cuisine will know that lots of traditional Japanese recipes call for a rich, delicious sauce called tamari.
If you can’t find this fantastic ingredient, don’t worry. There’s a tamari substitute for every occasion. Some you’ll find in just about every supermarket and grocery store. Others are a lot harder to come by, but taste incredible.
Let’s take a look at the very best tamari substitutes.
What is tamari?
This delicious sauce is very similar to soy sauce, but with less of a salty taste. It’s a very versatile ingredient that adds a big kick of umami flavor, typically to meat, fish, rice or noodle-based dishes.
Its lip-smacking flavor is similar to that of soy sauce, albeit with less salt. It also has a slightly thicker consistency than soy sauce.
Tamari is a vegan, gluten-free condiment, which can make it hard to replace.
Where is tamari from?
Tamari is a staple of Japanese cuisine, where its use dates all the way back to the 7th century AD.
It is thought to have been brought to Japan from China, although today tamari is pretty much exclusively used in Japanese cooking, while soy sauce is favored throughout the rest of Asia.
How is tamari made?
Tamari is actually a by-product of the miso-making process. The liquid that drains from miso paste is pressed to create tamari.
Tamari only contains water, soy beans and salt, which gives it a rich, balanced taste.
How is tamari different from soy sauce?
Soy sauce is made by combining soybeans with wheat, normally at a 1:1 ratio. Tamari, on the other hand, is almost always 100% wheat free.
This makes it less sweet and salty than soy sauce, with a stronger, smoother umami flavor. It also means it’s suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.
As it’s a lot simpler and more balanced than soy sauce, it works better as a dipping sauce, as its flavor doesn’t overwhelm other foods.
More substitute guides
Do you often find yourself caught short when trying out a new recipe? Check out Greedy Gourmet for my regular guides on the subtle art of substituting ingredients. Here are just a few of my most recent guides: