Saturday, March 10, 2012

Coconut Aminos

For several years now I’ve wondered about substituting Bragg's Liquid Aminos for soy sauce. About seven years ago, when my husband first went on a low sodium diet, I bought the product because so many people on different forums claimed it was lower in sodium than soy sauce. It tasted OK, but the math behind the claims puzzled me. 

Granted, regular soy sauce is horribly high in sodium. The same can be said of the lower sodium versions you can purchase at most grocery stores. However, for the last several years I've been able to purchase online House of Tsang Less Sodium Soy Sauce with only 320 MG SODIUM PER TABLESPOON. A few months ago I read a couple of blog posts and forum entries about Bragg’s, and I bought a small spray bottle of the Aminos just to give it one more try. It tastes pretty much like the Tsang soy sauce I use. However, it's got 160 mg sodium per 1/2 Teaspoon. That works out to 960 MG PER TABLESPOON – quite a bit more than the low sodium soy sauce I presently use – three times more sodium!

So I wondered again, “What’s the advantage of using the Aminos? Is it because the flavor is so concentrated that I can use a lot less?  I did a taste test, comparing equal amounts (1/2 tsp each) of the Aminos vs. the soy sauce, and my opinion was that I'd have to use the same amount of product.) So I was left wondering why Bragg's is often touted as a better sodium option than soy sauce. Even low sodium Kikkoman has just 575 mg per Tablespoon – still much lower in sodium content than a Tablespoon of Bragg Aminos. 

 A while ago, one of the Cooking Forum members posted a link to a coconut amino product that looked really interesting. Its sodium content is much lower than Bragg's, just 90 mg for 1 Teaspoon. That works out to 270 MG PER TABLESPOON. When I found the coconut product at three different stores in my area, I decided to give it a shot. 

Once I got it home, I did a taste test, comparing it to what I had on hand. The Coconut Aminos has a very similar taste to Bragg’s and low sodium soy sauce. It does, however, have a stronger fermented undertone. The extreme saltiness of the Bragg’s was immediately apparent in comparison to Coconut Aminos. I ended up dumping the Bragg’s and pouring the coconut product into the spray bottle. I figure a light spray on top of vegetables or rice might brighten things up a bit. 

Coconut Aminos is a great option for those who dearly love amino products and also need to reduce their sodium intake. It’s got a flavor that’s similar to both Bragg’s and low sodium sauce. It’s also a great product for those trying to avoid soy products, due to sensitivity or allergy. And it's gluten free and non-GMO. All in all, it's a great product!

Update: Since writing this post, I've been purchasing Chinatown Soy Sauce from Healthy Heart Market. It's got only 145 mg sodium per tablespoon. But I keep a bottle of Coconut Aminos on hand for gluten sensitive relatives.


Desi said...

Wow, thanks very much for this post! I really had given thinking I could ever have anything remotely resembling soy sauce. Even this coconut amino is probably too high for me, but I think it could be doable. I love reading information like this!! :)

shambo said...

Desi, thanks for your comments. I understand your concern completely. You might consider trying what I do with low sodium soy sauce. I always look for recipes that only call for 1/4 cup soy sauce or less. Then, I never use more than two tablespoons, no matter what the recipe calls for.

If the soy sauce is for a dipping sauce, I dilute it -- 2 parts low sodium soy sauce to 1 part water & 1 part unseasoned rice vinegar. (Example: 2 tsp. soy sauce mixed with one tsp. water & 1 tsp. rice vinegar.) Then I add a couple of drops of hot chili oil and some toasted sesame oil, maybe even some crushed garlic & ginger. By the time I'm done, I've got a pretty tasty dipping sauce with a lot less sodium than straight soy sauce, even low sodium soy sauce.

Desi said...

Thank you! I will try these suggestions. :)

The Daily Dish said...

Shambo, you are such a font of knowledge! Love this post (as usual!)

I'm one who favors Bragg, simply because it's all-natural and so tasty, but you're totally right. It contains far more sodium than low sodium soy sauce. I substitute faux soy whenever I can, but if I need a dish to be vegan or vegetarian, the faux stuff is out (b/c of the beef bouillon).

This product sounds like the best of both worlds!! Tasty AND lower in sodium - woot! I hadn't heard of coconut aminos and am SO glad you brought it to our attention. Will look at my next trip to Whole Foods. Thank you, my friend!

shambo said...

Christy, if my memory serves me (and that's a big "if"), I finally bought the Coconut Aminos at Whole Foods. I've also seen it at my local grocery story, Raley's, and at our local natural foods store/coop. Good luck in finding it. Maybe one of the low sodium online sources will begin carrying too.

JessyF said...


Paleo Suz said...

I follow a strict Paleo diet, so avoid any soy products. I use a lot of Coconut Aminos and find it a great substitute. I use it exactly as I would use Soy Sauce.

shambo said...

Paleo, thanks for your testimonial. I agree with you that the coconut aminos is a wonderful substitute for traditional soy sauce. It's always exciting when you can find a product that really works.

Anonymous said...

I water down my Braggs with spring water as it seemed too salty to me.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Chinatown Soy Sauce? It has only 145mg per one tablespoon. So far the reviews say the taste is great:

shambo said...

Thanks for bringing up the Chinatown Soy Sauce. I've been using it exclusively for about a year now. It's really, really low in sodium content. Makes fixing Chinese-style dishes so much easier.