I’ve been on somewhat of a condiment-making mission this week. What started as me just making my own sriracha and ranch dressing has now morphed into trying to make gluten-free and paleo-friendly versions of everyday sauces.
That’s where I happened across this homemade gluten-free paleo soy sauce recipe.
Soy sauce is a staple in many Asian cuisines, and is a common accompaniment to dishes like sushi, Chinese dumplings and tofu. In fact, many Chinese and Japanese restaurants will be stocked full with soy sauce packets, and for good reason: It’s delicious.
The dark sauce is beautiful in all its salty goodness. However, when following a strict gluten-free or paleo diet it can be difficult to know if it falls within the diet OK-List, or firmly outside of it.
Part of what causes the confusion is that soy sauce can actually be made in a few different ways, and comes in different forms and varieties:
#1. Traditional Soy Sauce
The daddy of them all. Traditional soy sauce takes a very dark form and is made from fermented soy beans. It’s fermented in a brine for months, which is what gives it its characteristic brown color.
#2. Modern Soy Sauce
A contemporary twist on traditional soy sauce, the modern variety is pasteurized instead. This actually kills the healthy bacteria in it that fermentation promotes, while lengthening its shelf life so that it can be consumed months after purchase.
Unsurprisingly, modern day manufacturers aren’t keen on fermenting foods for months, so instead they adopt a process called acid-hydrolysis, which removes the proteins from the soy and instead adds colorings and flavorings.
A lot of modern soy sauce are also made with wheat. This involves a mix of half soy bean and half wheat, which is then cooked and fermented. This adds a lot of gluten to the sauce.
#4. Added Sugar
Yep, even soy sauce isn’t safe from added sugar. This variety is often meant for use with meat, and usually contains some form of caramel or molasses in it.
So is soy sauce Paleo?
The honest answer is no. While not all forms of the sauce contain gluten, all of them do contain something which goes against Paleo principals. Unfortunately this also includes traditional forms of soy sauce.
So I’ve taken it upon myself to make a Paleo and gluten-free version that cuts out the wheat, colorings and sugar and gets straight to what makes soy sauce so great: Its unmistakable flavor.
What really drew me to making this is the challenge of trying to recreate soy sauce’s signature taste. This manages to do just that, while serving as a great allergy and diet-friendly alternative for those keen to have the perfect compliment to their Asian dishes.
This recipe certainly packs in quite a lot of ingredients, but it does indeed manage to recreate the original’s flavour. What’s particularly great though is that it offers a fairly neutral base for you adjust according to just how salty you like it. If you like it salty, then be generous with your beef broth and add a dash of table salt in there.
The key here really is how much you reduce it while boiling it, so make sure you do get it down to ½ cup before serving.
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 tsp cider vinegar
- 2 tsp molasses/black treacle
- 1 pinch garlic powder
- 1 pinch onion powder
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1 pinch black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and boil until reduced to ½ cup
- Store in refrigerator
- Shake before use