Tamari is brewed from soybeans. It is similar to soy sauce, though it does not contain wheat, making it suitable for gluten-intolerent individuals.


Other names: Soy Sauce
Translations: タマリ, Tamara, تماري, Tamara, תמרי, Тамари, Тамарі, 塔马里, Тамари

Physical Description

Dark brown to jet black liquid.

Colors: dark brown to jet black

Tasting Notes

Flavors: salty, umami
Mouthfeel: Liquid
Food complements: Rice, Fish, Beef
Wine complements: Plum wine, White wine
Beverage complements: Beer, Sake
Substitutes: Soy sauce

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Tamari is generally sold in sealed glass bottles. Some stores also sell it in bulk containers. Check the label to make sure that no additives, such as MSG, have been added.
Buying: Widely available in supermarkets and food stores, easpecially ones carrying natural foods and Japanese food.
Procuring: Traditional soy sauces are made by mixing the soybeans and grain with cultures such as Aspergillus oryzae and other related microorganisms and/or yeast. Historically, soy sauces were fermented under natural conditions, such as in giant urns and under the sun, which was believed to contribute additional flavors. Today, most of the produced for trade sauces are instead fermented in clean machine-assisted environments. Some soy sauces made in the Japanese way or styled after them contain nearly fifty percent wheat, or in some cases slightly more wheat than soy. All varieties of soy sauce are salty, earthy, brownish liquids intended to season food while cooking or at the table.

Conserving and Storing

Unopened tamari can be kept in a cool, dark place. Once the bottle is opened, tamari should be stored in the refrigerator.


In the 18th century, Isaac Titsingh published accounts of brewing soy sauce shōyu in Japan. Although earlier descriptions of soy sauce had disseminated in the West, this was among the earliest to focus specifically on the brewing of the Japanese version.

By the mid-19th century, Japanese "shōyu" gradually disappeared from European market and "soy sauce" became synonymous with the Chinese product, because "shōyu" was more expensive. Europeans were unable to make soy sauce because they did not understand the function of kōji.[6]

History: Soy sauce originated in China 2,500 years ago, spreading to East and Southeast Asia. Like many salty condiments, soy sauce was probably originally a way to stretch salt, historically an expensive commodity. The recipe for Chinese soy sauce, originally included fermented fish as well as soybeans.


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