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Difference Between Tamari and Soy Sauce

fish-sauceTamari vs Soy Sauce

Tamari and soy sauce are similar, but there are some differences as well. Firstly, soy sauce can be made from wheat as well soy beans, while tamari is always made from soy beans. As a matter of fact tamari is only one of the many types of soy sauces. Soy sauce is composed of fermented soy beans and some kind of grain. In the case of tamari sauce this ratio is different because it consists of little or no grain resulting in a darker color and a flavor that is richer.

To be more precise soy sauce is made from soy beans, wheat, water and salt. Tamari on the other hand consists only of soy beans, water and salt. Unlike soy sauce tamari is used mainly as a dipping sauce than a cooking ingredient. Some chefs are of the opinion that soy sauce goes well with protein dishes while tamari jells well with a starchy dishes.

So far as the origin of the two sauces goes soy sauce is undoubtedly a product of China going back a hoary two thousand and five hundred years. Tamari as we know it today was evolved from soy sauce by the Japanese. Tamari is known to have a rich, soft, smooth and balanced taste. Soy sauce on the other hand has a sharper taste due to the difference in the raw material used and is also an alcoholic fermentation that is stronger than soy sauce.

What is wonderful about tamari is the fact that it retains its full flavor after cooking. Soy sauce on the other hand looses most of its essential flavors when exposed to high temperature. That apart, tamari has 37% more protein than soy sauce which gives the former unique flavor enhancing properties. Moreover, because tamari has a lighter taste it can be easily used with sauces, gravies, casseroles and stir-fry dishes. What’s more it’s a great marinade as well.

Thus we can see that something as basic as soy sauce and a tamari can have so much said about them. From a rich past to a very exciting present, these two humble cooking ingredients spawn so many subtle differences in taste, texture, flavor and aroma and you are but impressed by the sheer number of ways these can be used. What stands out however is that tamari wins hands down not only in terms of taste and texture, but also in terms of what you can achieve from it. It is amazing sometimes that the progenitor of something is left leagues behind by the successor, in this case tamari. What the Japanese coaxed out of the basic Chinese import soy sauce resulted in nothing short of a gastronomical miracle. It is really surprising to think that for most of us soy sauce and tamari was the same thing. Now in light of what we know that would be plain gastronomical blasphemy. So the next time somebody asks you if there is a difference between soy sauce and tamari let them know where you are coming from.

Summary:
1.Soy sauce is made from wheat as well as soy beans, while tamari is always only made from soy beans.
2.To be more precise soy sauce is made from soy beans, wheat, water and salt. Tamari on the other hand consists only of soy beans, water and salt.
3.Soy sauce is undoubtedly a product of China going back a hoary two thousand and five hundred years. Tamari as we know it today was evolved from soy sauce by the Japanese.
4.Tamari is known to have a rich, soft, smooth and balanced taste. Soy sauce on the other hand has a sharper taste due to the difference in the raw material used and also an alcoholic fermentation that is stronger than that of soy sauce


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5 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for this great explanation!

  2. I think that Tamari will have wheat in the ingredients, unless you see Gluten-free on the label.

  3. I’m very confused – you said:
    “Soy sauce on the other hand has a sharper taste due to the difference in the raw material used and is also an alcoholic fermentation that is stronger than soy sauce.” Are you meaning that soy sauce is sharper and alcoholic than tamari!? Or vice versa? It needs a bit of editing for clarification!
    Thanks!

  4. not true…tamari does contain wheat unless specifically stated…as both soy sauce and tamari are by products of miso…which usually contains wheat….tamari just tends to have less wheat…..just go to your local asian market to see the countless tamari bottles using wheat

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