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Using soy sauce (instead of salt?) in non-Asian dishes.

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I used to sometimes add soy sauce when I made spaghetti sauce. (These days, I tend to use Worcestershire sauce). More recently, I decided to add soy sauce instead of salt in making polenta. It was a tad darker, but not so much. I thought it tasted better. I thought maybe I was just being weird, but then I saw the Momofuku cookbook recipe for shrimp n grits, which includes adding soy sauce when cooking the grits (which, I know, are not the same thing as polenta, but close enough that you can compare). OK, maybe David Chang is just a weird dude, too, but it makes me feel like my impulse was not that crazy.

I regularly use soy sauce and cheap sherry when making sauteed mushrooms for any purpose. I've added it to onions that were being prepared for French onion soup. I'm always trying to figure out how much I need to cutback on salt in the recipe or if I need to eliminate it altogether. I'm making it up without measurements, so I have to taste as I go.

Do you have any non-Asian dishes that you have modified by adding soy sauce? If so, how did you adjust the salt you would normally use?

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  1. I always use it in place of salt in mac and cheese and like you, I season to taste.

    1. I use soy sauce instead of salt to brine pork tenderloins.

      1. I put a little teriyaki sauce or Bragg Aminos into the cooking water for beans, rice, and pasta. When deglazing a pan to make sauce/gravy, if it needs something I add T or BA rather than salt.

        1. we keep a container of sauteed mushrooms in the fridge for quicker eggs in the morning. i use some soy sauce when cooking those up. soy sauce has that umami quality that mere salt does not.

          also usually add some to braising liquids for beef and pork, when i've got it just about reduced down.

          1. I put soy sauce on my fried eggs.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ipsedixit

              I put soy sauce (and ground white/black pepper) on my soft-boiled eggs.

            2. For frying, Broiling or grilling - On hamburger, steaks,
              with mushrooms, peppers, and onions (saute)
              In stews and soups

              1. Not strange..both worcestershire and soy sauce contain natural MSG as does Braggs I believe..which adds umami flavor wherever used..but judiciously of course.

                1. I use soy sauce all the time when I'm looking to deepen flavor whether I am making soup, a marinade or even a tomato sauce. Like others I season to taste and sometimes may need to still use salt if I'm not getting the desired level of salinity as compared to soy flavor.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JungMann

                    I was thinking the same thing - I still salt when cooking with soy sauce, because I feel as though they have different sorts of saltiness.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      I generally don't use soy sauce with soups - whether while cooking it or afterwards. However, with certain braises or stews it often goes in when it is cooking. Beef short ribs - yum. Sort-of "Irish Stew" - sometimes. Etc etc.

                    2. I just used soy sauce (instead of salt) on my omelettes yesterday!

                      1. Kikkoman now has a reduced sodium soy sauce, but it is not available yet in volumes as large as a 1/2 gallon as far as I know. I use about a tsp. of the original product when I make soup with surimi (fake crab or fake lobster) and ramen noodles.

                        1. Actually, I sometimes use a few splashes of soy sauce rather than salt IN some Asian dishes like various fully-spiced curries but would skip it in more delicate or defined-spice curries.