Our Search : Gluten Free Soy Sauce Based Cooking Sauces

Teriyaki Sauce is one of the most renowned Asian cooking sauce on the international scene. However some people can't enjoy it as it's basic ingredient is soy sauce which is wheat based. Anyone who is intolerant or allergic to gluten will not be able to eat it.

Secret Sauce has 3 sauces in our range that are soy sauce based - Teriyaki, Sweet and Sour Soy Sauce and Kalbi sauces. All of which are marinades, stir fry sauces, coverings and 2 of which can be used as salad dressings. These sauces are great for families as they are non-spicy, versatile and easy to make quick meals with. As I have 2 young kids, these sauces are the most used in the family from making quick and healthy meat and vegetable stir fries, coverings for noodles and pastas (for a variety) to slow cooking a rack of ribs in the oven. Our Kalbi sauce has a strong concentration of ginger and black pepper so children will take some time to enjoy it even though it is the sweeter sauce than the other 2 - my kids love that with braised beef ribs, grilled spare ribs and with stir fried chicken or tofu.   

Many people do not believe that a gluten allergy is real (specially Asians, many think it's a lifestyle choice or at most an intolerance to it) but I've met others who suffer from this, quite a few of whom are children. It's said that they may grow out of it and so  families are very careful with what they eat just to be certain for the consequences can be serious. I have friends who changed the family's diet because 1 child has an allergy. Personally, my mother-in-law is intolerant to gluten so I've been cooking differently for her for about 10 years now, replacing certain ingredients, finding alternatives and experimenting.


In my quest, one of the most difficult food item to replace is Soy Sauce. I've eaten soy sauce my whole life and when tasting gluten free soy sauces, I can distinctly tell the difference from regular soy sauce (there is also a wide ranging taste difference in that category). My foodie friends back in South East Asia scoff at the idea of cooking with gluten free soy sauce, claiming that 'That's not soy sauce at all!'

Well, they're not far off. It gets more difficult to accept the taste of gluten free soy sauce after it's been cooked. Specially if it's Tamari. Tamari is a type of gluten free soy sauce which is widely eaten in Japan. However please be aware that not all types of Tamari are gluten free. During the early stages of experiementing in 2018, I found a couple of gluten free soy sauces and tamari that are quite aceptable before cooking them. 

Now, after cooking the selected Tamari soy sauce, there is a strange after taste which even my daughter pointed out that it tastes 'funny'. So that was out. The only gluten free Soy Sauce that worked well was Ichibiki, one of the more well known gluten free soy sauces available on the international market. That I am able to purchase in Switzerland as I need to have easy access to these soy sauces if I were to work them into a product. However, I would like to find out if there are more that I can work with or can achieve a better result. So then I decided to look for more varieties of gluten free soy sauces in Japan. Earlier this year, together with my best friend, I tasted a few more soy sauces made in Japan and brought them back home to Switzerland. 


The thought that those with gluten allergy/intolerance might not feel the same at all had indeed crossed my mind, but I would prefer to create a sauce that I enjoy eating before turning it into a product for others to enjoy. That has always been a motto behind Secret Sauce. So I haven't experiemented with the last batch of gluten free soy sauces that I brought in Japan as I'm being busy with building my website, tasting and pop up events and preparing to move house in the summer. When I do, I will update Blooming Ideas.