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Ingredient Spotlight: San-J Reduced Sodium Gluten-Free Tamari

March 26, 2012 by brett

Today’s Ingredient Spotlight shines the light on my favorite gluten-free (not to mention dairy-, egg-, tree nut-, peanut-, and sesame-free) soy sauce substitute, San-J Reduced Sodium Gluten-Free Tamari.
San-J Gluten Free Reduced Sodium Tamari
What It Is
San-J Reduced Sodium Gluten-Free Tamari is a tasty and reliable gluten-free substitute for soy sauce. Both tamari and soy sauce are made by fermenting soy beans. Soy sauce is made from soy and a bit of wheat. Technically speaking, tamari is made from only soy, making it gluten-free. According to San-J, their gluten-free tamari contains no wheat.

 
(Please note that while tamari, by definition, does not contain wheat, it appears some products labeled “tamari” in the United States do contain wheat, a source of gluten. As always, read your labels carefully and when in doubt, contact the manufacturer and cross check your findings with reputable online sources.)
 
San-J sells both gluten-filled sauces as well as non-gluten sauces. Be sure to double check the labels when shopping.
 
Why I Like It
San-J Reduced Sodium Gluten Free Tamari’s flavor is sharper, more intensely soy, and more intensely salty. Mellow is not in its vocabulary.
 
While I admit this is not my ideal soy sauce flavor profile (I prefer the mellower notes of comparable Chinese soy sauce products), San-J Gluten Free Tamari definitely does deliver the salty soy flavor needed in some of my dishes and is gluten-free.
 
The pronounced flavor of San-J’s Reduced Sodium Gluten Free Tamari makes sense, since San-J’s heritage is Japanese, and Japanese soy sauces, in my experience, tend to be sharper, more intense, and saltier than comparable Chinese soy sauce products (think Kikkoman, a Japanese-style soy sauce vs Pearl River Bridge, a Chinese-style soy sauce). Well, the cuisines are different, so it makes sense the soy sauces used would be different.
 
San-J, which brews its tamari in Virginia, where it is headquartered, has a long history and is reputable. According to its website, its gluten-free products are made in a plant certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization. Cool, eh?
 
How I Use It
In any dish requiring soy sauce, I use San-J’s Reduced Sodium Gluten Free Tamari and have been extremely satisfied doing so. It’s still sharper and saltier than I prefer, but I simply add less gluten-free tamari for the amount of soy sauce I’m substituting. Occasionally, additional minor adjustments, such as further reducing the amount of tamari and/or adding other ingredients, come into play.
 
I have been using this product for over a year now, and my son has not had any reactions to this product. (YMMV.)
 
Where To Buy It
San-J Reduced Sodium Gluten-Free Tamari as well as its regular sodium version is sold at Whole Foods and selected Ralph’s in the Los Angeles region. It’s probably also sold at health food stores and other outlets I have yet to visit.
 
Sadly, I have not yet found this product on Saipan. I rely on my awesome friend Ayako to buy this stuff in California and ship it a gazillion miles over to the Asia Pacific region. Thank you, Ayako!!!
 
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3 Comments »

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