Nama Shoyu: How to Use It & Recipes to Try

Nama shoyu with chopsticks

Nama shoyu is a raw soy product that is perfect for vegan, vegetarian, and raw food diets. It's the perfect addition to stir fry meals, sauces, soups, and other dishes to give a boost of flavor without adding too many calories.

What Is Nama Shoyu

Nama shoyu is basically soy sauce that is raw and unpasteurized. It is said to have a more delicate and complex flavor than cooked and processed soy sauce. The color is a rich brown, and the taste is quite salty, with elements of both sweet and sour flavors. You don't have to be a raw foodist to enjoy the flavor of this sauce, but it's a perfect addition to the raw food diet.

Nama shoyu is fermented and aged in wooden barrels, most often made of cedar. This process uses less salt than regular soy sauce. Enthusiasts refer to it as "the champagne of soy sauce," because of its strong flavor and lack of any chemical aftertaste. The word "nama" in Japanese means "raw."

Nutrition Content

Each tablespoon of nama shoyu contains:

  • 10 calories
  • 720 milligrams of sodium
  • 1 gram carbohydrate
  • 1 gram protein

Uses for Nama Shoyu

You can use nama shoyu just as you would use soy sauce. Remember though that a little goes a long way. It's best to add a small amount to your dishes at a time, and then add more if needed. Here are some ways to use nama shoyu in your meal preparation:

  • As a dipping sauce, alone or with other ingredients, for vegetables, breads, or Asian-inspired dishes such as sushi.
  • Added to soups or casseroles for a flavor boost.
  • In salad dressings.
  • As part of a tangy stir fry sauce.
  • Sprinkled over rice for a flavorful side dish.
  • As a marinade for vegetables such as eggplant and mushrooms, or with tofu.


If you can't find nama shoyu, or need to find a substitute for any reason, you can try using a combination of raw apple cider vinegar and sea salt instead. Or, if you're not a raw foodist, use regular soy sauce. Tamari can also be a good substitute. The flavor won't be the same, of course, but sometimes substitutions are necessary.

Nama Shoyu Recipes

Here are some great-tasting recipes that use nama shoyu:

Where to Find It

Nama shoyu can be found in Asian markets, some health food stores, and even in some major grocery stores. It can be located either where you would find soy sauce, or among the organic products.If you're having trouble finding this sauce locally, you can order it online from a variety of retailers, including:

  • Upaya Naturals (Canadian) - Raw and vegan products, including supplements and natural beauty products.
  • - Purchase Ohsawa Organic brand nama shoyu.

If you're looking for a way to jazz up your raw food, vegetarian, or vegan recipes, or just want to try something new, pick up some nama shoyu and see just how versatile and tasty it is.

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Nama Shoyu: How to Use It & Recipes to Try