Monday, February 15, 2021

HOMEMADE LOW-SODIUM, LOW-GLYCEMIC ASIAN COOKING SAUCES

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It's been a long, long time since I posted!!  I've mostly been cooking from my own books and files, as well as some old favorites on my bookshelves. And, as those of you who still follow me may know, I've been altering my diet to according the vicissitudes of  aging.

I love Asian cooking, but I am following a lower-sodium diet, as well as a low-glycemic one (very little sugar, and only low-glycemic carbohydrates-- you can check out some of my past posts on this subject).  Checking out sodium and sugar content on the labels of the bottles of soy sauce and other commercial Asian sauces readily available in supermarkets and specialty stores was quite a shock!


My first challenge was soy sauce. I have used Kikkoman soy sauce for years, but, at 960mg of sodium per tablespoon, I knew that I would have to make a change.  Soy sauce is one of the oldest condiments in the world, originating in China. It has a meaty, rich flavor which adds body to many Western meatless recipes. It is an essential for meatless cooking. Kikkoman makes a variety called “Less Sodium Soy Sauce”, which contains 40% less salt than ordinary soy sauce, with no loss in flavor, and it is widely available in grocery stores.

For your information: Some people use a product called Bragg’s Liquid Aminos instead of soy sauce, mistakenly believing that it contains less salt than ordinary soy sauce (or tamari or shoyu, other terms for soy sauce), but Bragg’s actually has more sodium per tablespoon as ordinary soy sauce, but, since it is not a fermented product, it has a less complex flavor, so you often use more!  The serving size for the Bragg's product is only half a teaspoon, containing 160mg of sodium. The serving size listed on the Kikkoman Soy Sauce bottle is 960mg for 1 tablespoon.  6 half-teaspoons of Bragg's makes 1 tablespoon, which works out to 1060 mg per tablespoon-- more than Kikkoman!

I figured that I could make my own low-sodium soy sauce, since the small bottles of Kikkoman Less-Sodium Soy sauce are expensive, and I can't find larger bottles in my area. I figured that I could somehow make my own and, low and behold, I found an easy recipe online at 
https://thewoksoflife.com/low-sodium-soy-sauce/, and had all the makings for it. 

EASY HOMEMADE LOWER-SODIUM SOY SAUCE

Mix 1/2 cup regular soy sauce, 1/2 cup Chinese dark soy sauce (which I happened to have in my cupboard), and 1 cup water-- that's it!  (Makes 2 cups) Regular Kikkoman soy sauce contains 960 mg sodium per tablespoon, and dark soy sauce contains 870 mg per tablespoon. 

By mixing these two soy sauces with the water, you have a full-bodied, tasty, and very inexpensive lower-sodium soy sauce  at 457 mg sodium per tablespoon!

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The second sauce that I attempted was Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.  We don't use it as often as soy sauce, of course, but it's great to have around to serve with my Thai-Style Corn Fritters, Shallow-Fried or Baked. It's also good for dipping chunks of crispy chunks fried or air-fried tofu, SoyCurls, seitan, vegetables, etc., or for adding to many types of Asian stir-fries that call for some sweetness and chili heat.

There are many homemade versions of this delicious, spicy sauce online, but I put together a quick and easy mixture, using agave syrup for the sweetener because it is much lower on the glycemic index than sugar (though, you should not overdo any type of sugar).

BRYANNA'S NOT-SO-SWEET THAI  SWEET RED CHILI SAUCE
Makes about 1 3/4 cups

Mix together in a small saucepan:
1/2 cup UN-salted rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup agave nectar
3 tablespoons Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

Bring this to a boil, then turn down and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat.
Then stir in 1 Tablespoon potato starch mixed with 1 tablespoon COLD water. This will thicken the mixture quickly. Store in a jar or bottle in the refrigerator. 

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The third sauce that I made this morning is a version of Chinese Vegan Stir-Fry Sauce. This is not the same product as  Chinese Vegetarian "Oyster" Sauce or Chinese "Mushroom" Stir-Fry Sauce. (I plan to work on that one soon.) But just a little bit can add good flavor to a marinade or veggie stir-fry.

BRYANNA'S HOMEMADE VEGAN MULTI-PURPOSE CHINESE STIR-FRY SAUCE
Males 1 1/4 cups

Whisk in a small saucepan:
1/2 cup lower-sodium soy sauce (see above)
1/2 cup low-sodium vegan "chikn" broth or veggie broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon agave nectar or your favorite sugar sub
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (or a bit of ground ginger)
a good dash of garlic granules
1 tablespoon of dark Chinese (toasted) sesame oil
1 tsp UN-salted rice vinegar

Bring to a low boil, then turn down to a low simmer and cook until thickened. Allow to cool off, then store in a tightly covered jar or bottle in the refrigerated.


Enjoy!




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