Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Special Diets >
Apr 26, 2014 07:50 AM

Dark soy sauce--wheat free brands?

Does such a thing exist? I've been searching for ages and have come up empty. What does one do to replace dark soy sauce in a recipe?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Try Tamari, it is gluten free soy like sauce, or brag's liquid aminos

    1 Reply
    1. re: adventuresinbaking

      San-J is a readily available brand of Tamari. It's pretty much spot-on for soy sauce, and surprise! It's made from soy. :-)

      It comes in several varieties, too. Regular, low sodium, organic, non-GMO.

    2. Dark soy sauce is just regular Kikkoman which any good regular tamari will replace 1:1. Now that assumes that the recipe author knew what they were writing about. Chinese dark differs from Japanese dark by the added sweeteners in Chinese styles which are labeled specifically "dark".

      A good basic primer:

      I'm finding the Wan Ja Shan brand from Taiwan available more and more in the U.S.—as they've opened a plant here—which suits me just fine, as I'm more of a fan of Taiwanese-style soy sauces.

      4 Replies
      1. re: RelishPDX

        I should have clarified that I am searching for a Chinese dark soy. Tamari replaces light just fine, but are you saying I could add a sweetener to light soy sauce and call it dark? I think it might be more complex than that, but that may be my only option....

        1. re: Allegra_K

          Well I'll tell ya, I just looked at the ingredients list on my bottles of Kimlan Light and Kimlan Dark, both imported from Taiwan, just purchased today, so they aren't opened yet.

          The ingredient lists are the same, except the Dark lists "Caramel" as its final ingredient after Water, Salt, Soybeans, Wheat and Sugar.

          Is the Caramel just for coloring? I'm not sure.

          I did a white rice taste test on some soy sauces a few years ago, when I get some time I'll look back in my posts to see if I compared Chinese Light/Dark. If not, I'll whip up some white rice on Sunday to see what's what.

          ETA: Well that was easy enough, I found my taste tests, spread across two different posts in a thread entitled “How do you stock your Chinese kitchen?”, which I should re-read in the near future, as I return to cooking more Asian food.

          Here’s the link to the two specific posts:

          1. re: Allegra_K

            I have been trying to figure this out also. I have many recipes that call for Chinese dark soy sauce or a combination. I use San J tamari for most things but I am not even sure what I am going after taste wise for the Chinese dark. San J is the only gluten free soy sauce I have found. Are there others?

            1. re: blackpointyboots

              I have a selection of wheat-free tamari and soy sauces that I did I side-by-side comparison with, in the hopes that I could do some blending to create a dark soy.
              Amani tamari is my favourite brand for now--it has a really deep, rich flavour without being overly salty (as soy sauces go). Next, up I prefer the Kikkoman gf soy sauce--it seems to have more of a soy sauce taste to it, where the rest are more of the miso run-offs of a traditional tamari. San-J was a close third, and my least favourite is Wan-Ja-Shan: very thin, sharp, and tart--it almost tastes like a dipping sauce with added vinegar. The fourth place is not all lost, though--for I find mixing it with the Amani I am coming up with a more complex flavouring.
              I've also been using Dragonfly Thai sweet soy sauce (they have a dark available as well but I can't locate it around my parts) and reducing sugar in a recipe to add to the blend as a dark soy. I find that with these methods I am at least, if not replicating a dark soy, creating a more multi-faceted sauce.

        2. I would try a mix of tamari with some dark miso paste to get that intense flavor.

          1. The original comment has been removed