25 Ways to Use Soy Sauce

By: Contributor

CC RECIPE Tuna Noodle Casserole

Photo by: Brian Kennedy ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Brian Kennedy, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

A standard addition to stir fry and Chinese take-out, soy sauce is a great way to bring umami to the table. A little bit of soy sauce goes a long way in flavoring marinades, brines and all sorts of dipping sauces.

Soy sauce is a condiment that has been used since about 300 A.D. The standard bottle of soy sauce you’ll usually find in the international section of the grocery store is a Japanese "dark" soy sauce. Mirin, a sweet rice wine, is added to soy sauce to create a "light" variety which is slightly sweeter. There are also "light" and "dark" Chinese varieties of soy sauce that can be found in some specialty Asian markets.

Most soy sauce is made with wheat in addition to soybeans, but tamari is made with little to no wheat, and many brands offer completely gluten-free tamari. A gluten- and soy-free soy sauce substitute is coconut aminos, which tastes similarly to soy sauce but is made from coconut tree sap.

Store unopened soy sauce in a cool, dark place. Once opened, store soy sauce in the refrigerator. Because soy sauce (even the reduced sodium kind) contains so much salt, go easy on seasoning when you use it and make sure to taste it as you cook to avoid a salt overload.

Instead of ordering in this week get soy-sauce savvy with these 25 recipes.

  1. Try making your Chinese food craving at home. It’s healthier than ordering in and fun to experiment with new ingredients in the kitchen. General Tso’s Chicken, crispy and coated in a sweet sauce, is a great place to start.
  2. Soy sauce balances out a sweet BBQ sauce in Kelsey Nixon’s Roasted Pork Loin with Peach BBQ Sauce. Use fresh or frozen peaches depending on the season.
  3. Add tons of flavor to weeknight classic Tuna Noodle Casserole (pictured) by cooking mushrooms and onions with sherry and soy sauce, which brighten up a sometimes-flavorless dish.
  4. Eat delicious, fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs any time of year with the help of your slow cooker. After the Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Ribs come out of the slow cooker, crisp them up underneath the broiler or on the grill.
  5. Crunchy and slightly sweet, Coconut Shrimp with Peanut Sauce is irresistible. Use canola or peanut oil for deep frying, as they have higher smoke points than other oil like olive oil.
  6. Chicken Chow Mein is easier than you thought to make at home. Find the yellow Shi wheat flour noodles at specialty Asian markets or substitute with egg noodles.
  1. Your kids will love Chuck Hughes’ Chicken Nuggets, and you’ll love that you’re giving them a fresh and healthy meal. Make a big batch and save cooked and cooled nuggets in the freezer for future quick meals.
  2. Judy Joo’s Ultimate Korean Fried Chicken has ultra-thin, crispy skin and super juicy meat. Serve with Korean BBQ sauce and pickled daikon radish.
  3. Broiling fish is a quick and easy cooking method that requires no flipping, which can sometimes get a bit tricky. Try Bobby Deen’s Roasted Salmon with Brown Sugar Glaze served with vegetables and a simple rice pilaf.
  4. Marinate chicken in a combination of chicken stock, coconut milk, garlic, fish sauce, lime zest and ginger for at least in an hour for Ellie Krieger’s Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce.
  5. Bake Spiced-Honey Glazed Chicken Wings to achieve a crunchy wing without having to clean up a deep-frying mess. Save leftover wing tips in the freezer until you have enough to make chicken stock.
  1. Use day-old rice, either leftover from takeout or prepped a day in advance, to make Bacon, Egg and Shrimp Fried Rice.
  2. Make the sauce a day or two in advance for Rachael Ray’s 3-Minute Steak Hoagies with Homemade Steak Sauce. The flavors become more pronounced as it sits, and making it in advance allows for a 5-minute prep time before dinner is served.
  3. When you’re in a dinner rut, opt for Soy Spiced Roast Chicken instead of a standard roast chicken. Stuffed with aromatics like ginger, mandarin orange and star anise, this chicken will wake up those taste buds.
  4. Sweet and sugary, persimmons are bright orange fruits that are often mistaken for tomatoes. Use persimmons throughout the fall and winter in savory dishes like Pork Loin Cutlet with Sauteed Persimmons and Barley Risotto when they’re at their peak.
  5. Done right, brisket is a labor of love that can create meals throughout week. Serve it the first time with mashed potatoes and vegetables and then slice it up the next day for sandwiches. Chuck Hughes gives brisket an overnight dry rub before cooking low and slow in apple barbecue sauce before slicing it for his Barbecue Sandwich.
  1. Woks are amazing pans for stir-fry because they can be heated to super high temperatures, which quickly cooks anything that goes into the pan. Because woks allow for such quick cooking times, you’ll want to be sure that all of your ingredients are prepped before you start cooking Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashews.
  2. Spice up Meatless Monday with a homemade chile-infused peanut oil in Dali Vegetarian Rice Noodle Stir Fry.
  3. Slightly unexpected in Jerk Chicken, soy sauce adds a level of savory flavor to the sugary jerk cooking mixture.
  4. Five-Spice Pork Stir Fry with Mandarin Oranges is the kind of meal you prep on the weekends when you have time (it takes about an hour to roast the pork) and put together during the week for a quick weeknight meal.
  5. Whether it’s the temperature of the broth or the heat from spicy red Thai chiles, Ching’s Classic Beef Noodle Soup is sure to warm you up.
  1. Giada’s sticky-sweet Balsamic Chicken Drumettes are so good that no one will realize they’re baked and not fried.
  2. Surprise the family with takeout staple Kung Pao Beef made at home. A light coating of cornstarch helps crisp up the thinly sliced beef when it goes into the wok.
  3. A healthy meal for any time of year: Tahini Grilled Salmon with Sauteed Spinach, Beets with Sesame Seeds, Eggplant Puree and Tahini Sauce.
  4. Emeril’s classic Hot and Sour Soup is everything you want from takeout made in your own home.
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