Unsalted Soy Sauce

I read a post on Sue’s blog the other day as she was making pithy observations about Ingrid Hoffman, a new Food Network show host.  At one point, she makes an entertaining and educational (yes…edutaining) digression into the use of salted vs. unsalted butter.  Her feeling is that one should never use salted butter except when buttering toast as unsalted butter allows the cook to control the amount of sodium in the dish.

That got me thinking back to a time when I proudly handed a tasting fork to my wife so she could taste the Asian noodles I had just made with salted soy sauce.  Her reaction: making the pucker face and proclaiming “Too Salty!”

Fast forward to this evening.  I am at Whole Foods picking up some food for an Asian chicken recipe I am developing and it hits me.  I need unsalted soy sauce for the same reason I need unsalted butter.  If I use unsalted sauce, I get to control the level of saline.

And it was a good thing I did, too.  I ended up reducing the soy sauce down by about two-thirds and even with the reduced sodium version, the dish was plenty salty for me.  And Tina had seconds.


  1. Have you tried Tamari sauce? I like it better than soy sauce and it’s not as salty. I personally think that low-sodium soy sauce tastes like unleaded gasoline. (Uh, how exactly would I know that? No comment.) I learned about Tamari sauce in the only cooking class I ever took. It was called “The Joy of Soy,” I kid you not. I was trying to go vegetarian so I was edu-ma-cating myself. (Just for the record, it didn’t take.) But the discovery of Tamari stayed with me. I recommend it!

  2. Yeah, I am starting to move away from soy sauce to tamari because of the more mild flavor. Though in cooking, I still tend to use them interchangeably (as in the case of the cooking I did for this post where I used tamari.)

    What I’ve found is that when I am in a normal grocery store, I buy soy sauce because that’s what they have. When I am in a more foodie-oriented store (Dean and Deluca, Whole Foods) they have tamari and that’s what I buy.

    What brands do you use?

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