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question on soy sauce alternative?

March 12th, 2006 at 03:28 pm

DH and I eat stir frys, and asian cuisine, fairly frequently. I used to work in Pac Rim, and I love the food. Healthy, tasty, lots of veggies, fish, sashimi, so healthy. Love Australian pumpkin soup, although I never got used to the fried egg on my hamburgers.

Anyway, sister is very allergic to soy, and so soy sauce, and most asian dishes, are out. Trying to figure out what to cook that she CAN have (everything seems to have some soy product in it!).

Anyone know how to substitute soy sauce?

I thought of Vegamite, but I'm out and not heading to New Zealand any time soon. Any other ideas?


42 Responses to “question on soy sauce alternative?”

  1. baselle Says:

    I took a look in my cupboard - its a toughie. Worchester sauce has soy, steak sauce has soy, bbq sauce has soy (and sugar). Sigh.
    I wonder if this will work - Kitchen Bouquet (or Maggi Seasoning), diluted with rice wine vinegar, and salt to taste. I make no claims that it will be anything like soy sauce, or even tasty. All I can tell you is that it will make a salty brown liquid with no soy.

  2. PrincessPerky Says:

    does teriakki sauce have soy in it? prolly does, I was just thinking when I am out of soysauce I use terriakki.

    or a peanut non soy sauce sauce?though I don't like peanut sauce....

  3. DivaJen Says:

    I googled soy sauce substitute and found this recipe - can't vouch for it, but might be worth a try:


    8 fl.oz Molasses
    3 fl.oz. Balsamic Vinegar
    Sugar to taste


    1. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until well blended.

  4. flash Says:

    You all are wonderful! Baselle, I think we share the same saver gene. I was actually wondering if just a beef bouillion cube in some water would work. Like you said, brown salty water!

    I'm going to try these ideas out! Thanks!

  5. WEST Says:

    Maggi actually does have soy sauce in it, it's jst called soya because this is a mexican product. I am also looking for an alternative to soy sauce and cannot seem to find one that will work. ALL I WANT IS SOME SUSHI!!!

    West Jones

  6. Anonymous Says:

    My whole family is allergic to soy and my husband loves Chinese food. I have been wodering how to make a soy-free soysauce, Thank you so much for the recipe, DivaJen.

  7. Leah Says:

    I am very allergic to soy as well--it is IMO harder to avoid than wheat and dairy combined.

    As for sushi, I dip in fish sauce (very easy on it though--VERY!) and use ginger and lemon to flavor..it's great. I also use plain old fish sauce to liven up stir-frys without soy.

    Just found this, too. Haven't tried it:

    * 4 tablespoons beef bouillon
    * 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    * 2 teaspoons dark molasses
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    * 1 pinch white pepper
    * 1 pinch garlic powder
    * 1 1/2 cups water


    1. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the beef bouillon, balsamic vinegar, molasses, ginger, white pepper, garlic powder and water. Boil gently until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes.

  8. Percy Says:

    This was a very useful thread, too, since my sister is on a special diet in which she cannot eat any soy.

    I note, though, that Worcestershire sauce does not necessarily have soy in it. I looked on the list of ingredients of the bottle of the brand that we have got (Lea and Perrins), and I do not see soy. I recommend Lea and Perrins regardless, because it is Britain's best brand of Worcestershire sauce (in my opinion).

  9. MIckyfickymark Says:

    on the topic of fish sauce, is there a vegetarian alternative?

  10. Kimmie Says:

    Thank you all for these suggestions!
    I actually tried the Beef Bouillon Cube recipe , and it tasted great. The only problem is that I have trouble finding a brand of Beef Bouillon that doesn't have soy as an ingredient. Any suggestions? Also, doesn't the nori used to make sushi have soy in it, like as a addative for flavor?

  11. Jaden Says:

    Hi, I'm going to try some of these ideas here. I'm a chef and I'm cooking for a friend whose 4 yr old daughter has brain cancer. She is now on a special diet of no gluten, no sugar and no soy. Everything has to be organic. So I might just have to try using fish sauce or beef boullion diluted. The other ideas include either gluten or sugar. Any ideas would be great!

  12. Renee Says:

    I have just been diagnosed with soy, wheat, sugar, yeast, chocolate and egg white allergies and am becoming extremely underweight due to the restrictive diet. I am going to try this: www.naet.com to eliminate the allergies instead of having to eat this way for the rest of my life.

  13. Tiffany Says:

    I have an allergy to all milk products, soy products, onions, mushrooms, oranges, and peanuts. Chinese food was my all time favorite food before I was diagnosed. It is extremely hard to find soy substitutes, more so than my other allergies. I appreciate the ideas everyone presented. Some of them sound like they will really work. I only have one problem, I have yet to find a beef bouillon that does not have soy in it. I've found organic chicken bouillon, but not soy. Let me know if anyone has found a brand.

    Also, since I found a group of people with soy allergies, has anyone found a butter substitute that does not have any soy or milk products in it? Thanks!

  14. Amber Says:

    Tiffany, Fleischmann's Light (packaged in two little tubs with the blue lids) is the only margarine/butter sub that does not have soy/soy protein in it.

    Also, my bottle of Lea & Perrins definitely says it contains soy protein. Now I have to figure out how the heck to make my "hypoallergenci" Chex Mix...

  15. Tiffany Says:


    Thank you! I did try Fleischmann's Light margarine, the one made with corn oil. I was sick that week and we thought perhaps I was overlooking an ingredient and the Fleischmann's was making me sick. I will most definitely try it again!!! Thank you!

    And, omg! I so wish I could find soy free Chex Mix! I have been looking and looking at every kind in every store...but so far, no luck. I'll let you know if I come across any! Thanks again for your help!

  16. Tara Says:

    For those allergic to soy, please note:

    I was diagnosed as a child. My mother (bless her heart)spoke with numerous people at companies such as Kraft, Wonderbread, etc. Any vegetable oil that is HYDROGENATED has soy in it. I tend to avoid anything that says hydrolyzed or hydrogenated.

    Knorr Simply Beef Broth has no soy products and is available in tetra packs in Canada at Loblaws and the Superstore and some IGA and A&P stores. Sobeys and some IGAs carry a variety of organic soy free broths--vegetable, chicken, beef, even chicken-free chicken broth (not too sure on that one though).

    Organic Horizons Inc. makes a large number of soy-free products--from bouillon cubes, to broth, to CHOCOLATE! You can order online at http://www.organichorizons.ca/index.htm

    I have tried the above soy alternative recipes and they work great--be sure to add some salt and garlic however. A little high-end fish sauce adds wonderful taste as well.

    Good luck!

  17. Tara Says:

    I forgot...

    Campbell's makes an organic beef, chicken and vegetable broth that is soy free.

    Check the ingredient labels even on your skin cream--especially if it claims to even out skintone. You'd be surprised at how many have soy in them.

  18. Renee Says:

    Tara, that is right. I had to change my shampoo/conditioner and moisturizer because they had soy in them. I have found though that whereas lecithin causes an allergic reaction, any soy oils do NOT. My husband is a research chef, and was explaining that in the oil refinement process how all the traces of allergens are removed. The pure oil that is left should have nothing in it that can trigger an allergy. I was skeptical, but tried it, and he was right. I can eat anything with soy oil, hydrogenated soybean oil...but NO soy flour, soy protein, lecithin. That drastically improved my diet options. I was down to 88 lbs and am slowly gaining it back now. I can't imagine if they had taken me off of ALL the items I am allergic to. And I am still having migraines. I had NAET treatments for egg and they don't seem to bother me.

    Thanks for the info and links!

  19. Sarah Says:

    There is a beef buillon with no soy. The brand is Telma, but it may not bee the only one. It is in the kosher foods section of the supermarket.

  20. Alison Says:

    'Pure' sunflower margarine doesn't contain soya or dairy - make sure it's the sunflower one and not the Soya one though. You can get it in UK supermarkets. Not sure about the US

  21. Anna Purvis Says:

    Relating to sushi, I read somewhere the seaweed has the most amount of glutamate of most foods. Is this true? I loved sushi so much, then I became allergic to gluten, soy etc. I have wondered if the seaweed could have triggered it.

  22. Mike Says:

    Hi Tara, you mentioned High-End fish sauce. Where do you find high-end fish sauce? Do you recommend any brands?

  23. Barb Says:

    Soy sauce alternative, I'm using diluted red cooking wine
    w/ kitchen bouquet, salt to taste. You just don't want
    to mix more than you need or it does separate over a
    period. French's and Heinz whorchester do have soy,
    but Lee & Perrins DOES NOT.

  24. Tara Says:

    You can find high-end fish sauce at Asian markets--Thai fish sauce tends to be just squid and isn't as good as Vietnamese. Vietnamese foods tend to use fish sauce instead of soy sauce.

    When I'm at the market next I'll double check the brands for you.

    I found a feqw packaged stirfry sauce mixes here (in Canada) without soy in them--by a company called SunBird.

  25. Amber Says:

    I found some Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce varieties are soy-free - don't know if they are old or new but be sure to check those labels!

    South River Miso (www.southrivermiso.com) has an AMAZING Red Pepper Miso Tamari sauce - no gluten/wheat or soy. You can only order it seasonally, but it is very good.

    Also, for those of you with soy allergies - right now (Passover) is the time to order chocolate chips and lentils (candy-coated chocolates like M&Ms, free of dairy, gluten, corn and soy) from Chocolate Emporium (www.chocolat.com). We order a case of the regular, mint and chocolate chips to get us through the year. Normally, we use Enjoy Life chocolate chips but these ones from Chocolate Emporium are regular sized, not mini.

  26. Amber Says:

    Oops, the website link above should read www.choclat.com, sorry for the typo.

  27. Michelle Says:

    most of the bottles of lea & perrins i've read have the magic ingredient of natural flavors which is a good indicator of soy.
    as for chocolate chips nestle's chocolatier premier baking chocolate does not have soy, comes in chips also, very tasty and available on stores shelves. however if you have a peanut allergy it does have the processed in a facillity that also processes peanuts label i personally haven't had a problem though.

  28. Sarah Says:

    I have been searching all day for a substitution for soy sauce to use in a chicken stir fry...
    My boyfriend wants stir fry tongiht, but HATES soy sauce.. and all the links I have found are for substitutions that are similar to soy sauce, and I need something to use if you think soy sauce is gross.

  29. Tara Says:

    Oyster sauce or fish sauce. Add some minced ginger to balance out the flavour

  30. Amber Says:

    lijeb said: BTW Miso *is* soy....

    Most miso is *made from* soy, yes. But some companies (like South River Miso, if you go look at their website that I posted - www.southrivermiso.com - and read the ingredient labels) are also making soy-free versions of both miso and tamari.

  31. Amber Says:

    Ingredient list for ALL Nestle Chocolatier chocolates:

    Chocolate, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Milkfat, Nonfat Milk, Natural Flavor

    I can't have dairy so that's out, it also is out for vegans and you did say natural flavors is a good indicator of soy (but also dairy and wheat, which many are allergic to).

    (I did email about the L&P and their Worcestershire and their "natural flavors" are not derived from soy.)

  32. El Cheapo Soy Sauce Says:

    Soy sauce is mostly salt flavored of course, but then there's the soy, wheat and the mold used in fermentation. There are organic soy sauces, and some ridiculously expensive organic soy sauces like L' Chepeau, but these only help if the allergies are to things like MSG or other preservatives.

    I don't think you can really get the real soy sauce flavor without actually using soy beans, wheat and mold (koji). Everything attempting is really just adding seasoning and salt to flavor...which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

  33. OriginalRenesmee Says:

    U R A Genious Diva Jen UR recipe for the substitute taste great!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep up the gd work

  34. bfrg Says:

    Renee mentioned NAET treatments -- that got rid of ALL of my many food and airborne allergies. Worth a try, rather than living such a limited life.

  35. Marcia Says:

    I have been craving Chinese food & sushi! Like all of you I am allergic to soy along with all the nuts and legumes(all beans & peas) with similar proteins. I have the most serious reaction to soy protein and then to soy oil. Yes, soy oil! Tired some after faan said it probably is safe to use peanut/soy oil. No reaction to lecithin. The allergist said there is no guarantee that all the proteins have been removed. Found this out in the emergency room.

    I am very thankful for the recipes, they don't taste the same but they surely fill the void. Thanks again for sharing.

  36. David Says:

    Stop eating!

  37. Julie McNiven Says:


    Makes 1 and 3/4 c.

    IMPORTANT: To replace some of the complex qualities that a good fermented soy sauce or tamari supplies, try adding wine, broth, and/or mushroom broth or concentrate to the dish, in addition to using the soy sauce substitute that follows.

    1 c. water, vegetarian broth, or mushroom soaking water
    (I just used water)
    2 T. Marmite or other yeast extract (Vegemite, Vegex) (i found Marmite at the local british tea house)

    2 T. salt

    1/2 c. HOT water, vegetarian broth, or mushroom soaking liquid

    2 T. soy-free gravy browner

    Dissolve the Marmite and salt in the hot liquid, (I even dissolved on a low flame) then mix the rest of the ingredients in and store in a covered jar in the refrigerator. This will keep for several weeks.

    I put some in an old braggs spray bottle to easily spray on rice.

    hope you like it!

  38. jc Says:

    you are all very silly... it's called salt. Soy sauce is a bottle of salt water and soy. soy doesn't add flavor. if you need it brown for your own silly conditioning, well, get over it, use water.

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