Shoyu Tare (Soy Sauce-Based Seasoning)

February 5, 2020 Updated: February 5, 2020
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Shoyu Tare (Soy Sauce-Based Seasoning)

Shoyu tare is an incredibly versatile base for dipping sauces, stews, and noodle soups. Make dashi and season it with shoyu tare, following these ratios for various uses. You can adjust the ratios according to your palate. 

  • Noodle dipping sauce: 1 part shoyu tare to 3 parts dashi  
  • Noodle soup: 1 part shoyu tare to 9 parts dashi 
  • Oil-free salad dressing: 1 part shoyu tare to 4 parts dashi 

To make the soup or dipping sauce, combine the shoyu tare and dashi in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Keep in the refrigerator for 1 week. 

In addition to its use as a base for dipping sauces, noodle soups, and salad dressings, shoyu tare can be used to baste chicken, marinate ramen eggs, and season braised dishes. For basting chicken, fish, or other meats, use shoyu tare straight or add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or sesame oil for deeper umami. For a sweeter tare, add more mirin, sake, sugar, or honey. You can spice up your shoyu tare with grated ginger, grated garlic, shichimi togarashi, and/or chopped scallions. I use regular soy sauce for making dipping sauces and usukuchi shoyu (light-colored soy sauce) for making soups and braised dishes. 

Makes about 2 cups

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon mirin (hon mirin, not mirin-type) 
  • 3 tablespoons cane sugar  
  • 2 cups soy sauce or usukuchi shoyu (light-colored soy sauce) 

Combine the mirin and sugar in a small saucepan, place over medium heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar completely. Lower the heat, add the soy sauce, and heat until it starts to simmer, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Store in a nonreactive container in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to 3 months. 

From “Japanese Home Cooking“ by Sonoko Sakai, copyright 2019 Sonoko Sakai. Photographs copyright 2019 by Rick Poon. Reprinted in arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, Col.