Have you ever wondered how to cook with or substitute shoyu, a traditional Japanese condiment made from soybeans, wheat and salt?
Many wonder what the best substitutes for shoyu are and how to incorporate it in their cooking.
Functional ingredients like miso, tamari and tahini can be used as replacements for shoyu.
But have you ever thought about why Shoyu is such a unique and versatile addition to any meal?
Let’s take a look at what makes Shoyu so special – its uses, flavour profile, health benefits and the five best substitutes.
Shoyu, or Japanese soy sauce, is a flavorful condiment and cooking ingredient popular in Japanese cuisine.
It is made from fermented soybeans and wheat with added flavorings such as salt and spices.
Shoyu has a rich and savory taste that adds depth of flavor to many dishes.
Shoyu is most commonly used as a seasoning for sushi but it can also be used as an accent to soups, stews, stir-fries, marinades, sauces, dressings, dipping sauces and even as an ingredient in baked goods.
It works well with both salty and sweet flavors so it can be used in a variety of recipes.
The flavor of shoyu can vary greatly depending on the maker’s recipe so it’s important to taste test different options before deciding which one you prefer.
In addition to the variations in flavor between brands, there are also several different types of shoyu available on the market ranging from traditional light soy sauce to black soy sauce which has been aged for three years resulting in a complex yet rich flavor profile.
The 5 BEST Substitutes for Shoyu
Not everyone has access to Shoyu, so they need a substitute.
Fortunately, there are several options that can provide the same flavor and consistency as traditional Shoyu.
We have compiled a list of five of the best substitutes for Shoyu below:
1 – Coconut Aminos
Coconut aminos is made from the fermented sap of coconut palms and sea salt, then blended with spices.
It is completely gluten-free, soy-free, and contains less sodium than shoyu.
Its flavor is slightly sweet and tangy and pairs well with almost any type of dish.
This versatile sauce can be used as a marinade, glaze, or component in salad dressings or sauces.
For example, it can be used in a stir fry to provide a sweet and savory flavor to vegetables or cooked meats.
2 – Tamari
Tamari is a close cousin of shoyu that has a very similar flavor profile.
It’s made with 1 part soybeans, 4 to 7 parts wheat, and stir-frying the mixture with salt.
Tamari tends to have a deeper flavor than shoyu, due to the addition of wheat during its production, and the increased salt during fermentation.
Additionally, while shoyu contains some type of colorant like sesame oil or bonito flakes, tamari does not.
This makes it an ideal substitute for those watching their intake of artificial flavoring or additives in condiments.
People also generally like tamari for its mellow umami taste, which can be likened to natural miso paste.
3 – Fish Sauce
Fish sauce is an Asian condiment made from fermented fish.
It has a strong, salty and sometimes sweet flavor that is commonly used to season and enhance dishes.
Some chefs refer to fish sauce as “liquid umami” since it can bring out the savory elements of both Asian and Western recipes.
Use this ingredient if you are in need of a substitution for shoyu, and aim for a 1:1 ratio with the shoyu it is replacing.
Fish sauce has a significantly more intense flavor than shoyu, so you might consider diluting it with water when adding it to a dish.
4 – Worcestershire Sauce
This savory and complex condiment is a popular Worcestershire sauce, which is made from anchovies, tamarind, vinegar, molasses or sugar syrup, salt and various spices.
It gives a salty and tart flavor to dishes.
Worcestershire sauce is common in dishes such as Caesar salad dressing and Bloody Marys.
It is also used for marinating fish and poultry or for adding some flavor to soups or stews.
Worcestershire sauce contains more acidity than shoyu so adjust the amount you use accordingly.
Also note that many varieties of Worcestershire sauce are not vegetarian/vegan as they may contain anchovies or fish/shellfish products such as shrimp paste or oyster extract.
5 – Miso Paste
Miso paste is another great substitution for shoyu, particularly when added to soups and stews.
It’s a thick paste made from fermented soybeans, and it’s an important part of Japanese cuisine.
Most miso pastes are seasoned with salt, so check the label of your miso paste to ensure that you’re not adding too much sodium to your dish.
When substituting with miso, look for mild white or yellow varieties – they will have a slightly sweeter flavor than darker red miso pastes.
As a rule of thumb, use one tablespoon of miso for every tablespoon of shoyu.
In conclusion, shoyu is a type of Japanese soy sauce created from a blend of soybeans, wheat and salt.
It is typically fermented for several months before being aged and bottled.
Shoyu can be used as a condiment in many dishes, in sauces or as a key ingredient in marinades.
If you’re looking for an alternative to using shoyu, there are several options to choose from, including tamari, hoisin sauce and miso paste.
Depending on the dish you are preparing, any one of these substitutes could make an excellent substitute for shoyu.
Whichever you pick will depend on your individual tastes and preferences.