January 4, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Tamari

A friend lent me a cookbook that features a lot of Asian-inspired recipes.

I noticed that many of the dishes call for tamari, but there is no glossary defining it or explaining what it is.

Was wondering if you knew?

-- P. Baldwin
Virginia Beach, VA

Tamari is a thicker, condensed form of soy sauce.

Traditional soy sauces are made from either hydrolyzed vegetable protein or a soybean and wheat combination (with approximately 40 to 50 percent of the product being wheat.)

Tamari, meanwhile, consists almost entirely of soybeans. Although most commercial varieties also contain wheat -- albeit in much smaller percentages than traditional soy sauce -- you can also find wheat-free varieties of tamari.

This high soybean percentage results in a richer flavor as well as the need to use lesser amounts of tamari than traditional soy sauce when cooking.

From a nutritional standpoint, this means less sodium in your meal.

Traditional soy sauce and tamari both contain 340 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon, but you may need three or four teaspoons of the former to match the intense flavor in just one of tamari.

1 comment:

Corey said...

Is this similar to miso? I've seen miso listed as an ingredient before, but I have no idea what it is.