Authentic Asian Sauces

Cooking Inspiration - 10 Ways to Use Soy Sauce for Appetizers

Cooking Inspiration

10 Ways to Use Soy Sauce for Appetizers

Article_10 Ways to Use Soy Sauce for Appetizers

C’mon, who doesn’t love salty foods.  There’s no need to pack on table salt to get that savory taste, opt for soy sauce based recipes.  It brings a salty, slightly bitter and hint of sweetness will have you in a culinary euphoria.  Go ahead, find out for yourself with these appetizing (pun intended) appetizer recipes.


Honey Soy Shrimp

This honey glazed shrimp is sizzled to perfection in a mere 15 minutes. 


-         ⅓ cup soy sauce low sodium

-         2 tbsp honey

-         3 cloves garlic minced

-         1 tsp ginger minced

-         1 tsp sriracha sauce

-         1 lb jumbo shrimp tail on (about 10 to 12 shrimp)

-         2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped


1.     Form the sauce: In a medium size bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger and sriracha sauce.

2.     Marinate the shrimp: Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss well making sure the shrimp is coated in the sauce.

3.     Cook: Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add the shrimp to the skillet, reserve leftover sauce.  Cook on both sides about 2 to 3 minutes per side until shrimp starts to turn pink and is coated.  Garnish shrimp with fresh parsley.  Remove shrimp from skillet and set aside.

4.     Finish the dish: Pour remaining sauce in the skillet and cook for a couple minutes until sauce thickens.  Use the sauce to dip the shrimp in.

Recipe Notes

-         You can use any type of shrimp that is most convenient for you, as long as it totals to 1 lb.

-         This recipe would also be great on chicken or veggies like broccoli, carrots, etc.

-         You can adjust the amount of sriracha to suit how spicy you’d like the dish to be.  If you don’t like spice, you can omit it entirely.

-         You Can bake these instead at 425 F degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes or until they turn pink.

-         In the fridge this recipe will keep for 3 - 4 days in an airtight container, so feel free to make ahead of time.  You can freeze the shrimp from this recipe for up to 3 months in an airtight container.  Just allow the dish to thaw overnight in the fridge before cooking.

-         Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.

Inspired by Jo Cooks



Grilled Snap Peas and Soy Ginger Sauce

Served hot or cold, grilled sugar snap peas drizzled in a flavor-packed soy ginger sauce will have your mouth salivating.


-         1 Pound Sugar Snap Peas, washed with strings removed along the seams.

-         1 ½ tsp olive oil

-         1 tbsp black sesame seeds

-         1 tbsp sesame olive, divided

-         ½ cup soy sauce, low sodium preferred

-         ¼ cup rice wine vinegar

-         1 tbsp honey

-         1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

-         1 tbsp grated orange rind

-         2 cloves garlic, finely minced

-         2 tbsp green onion, chopped


1.     Place a sheet of aluminum foil on grill to place peas on and heat grill.

2.     Place the snap peas, olive oil, ½ tsp sesame oil and black sesame seeds in a bowl.  Toss ingredients to coat peas with oil and sesame seeds.

3.     Place remaining ingredients in a small jar with a lid, (or small bowl) and shake (or whisk) to incorporate all ingredients together.  Set aside.

4.     Place peas on aluminum foil over a hot grill.  No need to be too perfect here with placement of the peas on the grill.  Use a pair of tongs to turn the peas as necessary until peas begin to get slightly charred and turn a bright green.  (About 5 - 6 minutes)

5.     Remove peas from grill and place in a serving bowl.

6.     Shake (or whisk) your soy ginger sauce to mix and pour over snap peas.  Toss and serve or chill as desired.

Inspired by Pure Grace Farms



Grilled Chicken Kabobs

Vibrant and visually appealing, with an even better taste.


-         1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces

-         ¼ cup olive oil

-         ⅓ cup soy sauce

-         ¼ cup honey

-         1 teaspoon minced garlic

-         Salt and pepper to taste

-         1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces

-         1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces

-         2 small zucchini, cut into 1 inch slices

-         1 red onion, cut into 1 inch pieces

-         1 tablespoon chopped parsley


1.     Place the olive oil, soy sauce, honey, garlic and salt and pepper in a large bowl. 

2.     Whisk to combine.

3.     Add the chicken, bell peppers, zucchini and red onion to the bowl.  Toss to coat in the marinade.

4.     Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours.

5.     Soak the wooden skewers in cold water for at least 30 minutes.  Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat.

6.     Thread the chicken and vegetables onto the skewers.

7.     Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side or until chicken is cooked through.

8.     Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


-         Broiler instructions: Preheat the broiler.  Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray.  Place the skewers in a single layer on the sheet pan.  Broil for 5 minutes, then flip the skewers and broil on the other side for 5 more minutes.

Inspired by Dinner at the Zoo



Parsnip-Wrapped Devils on a Horseback

This vegetarian version is packed with savory flavor, you won’t think twice about the absence of bacon.  Whip this up and uncover the veggie magic for yourself.


-         1 medium parsnip (about 9 ounces, preferably 2-3” wide), peeled

-         ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

-         1 teaspoon smoked paprika

-         5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

-         3 ½ ounces blue cheese (about ⅔ cup)

-         24 large pitted dates, preferably Medjool

-         24 smoked almonds

Special Equipment

-         24 wooden toothpicks, soaked in water


1.     Place a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 450 F.  Very thinly slice parsnip with a vegetable peeler to create wide, long ribbons.

2.     Whisk soy sauce, paprika, and ¼ cup oil in a medium bowl.  Add parsnip ribbons, toss to combine, and let it sit for 10 minutes.

3.     Meanwhile, stuff heaping ½-teaspoonfuls of cheese into each date.  Place 1 almond in the center of each.  Wrap parsnip ribbons around each date, using 2 ribbons if necessary to cover the middle section of date; reserve soy sauce mixture.  Secure ribbons with a toothpick.  Arrange dates on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

4.     Bake 5 minutes, then remove toothpicks and brush with soy sauce mixture.  Continue to bake until parsnip ribbons are browned and slightly crisped, about 3 minutes more.  Serve immediately.

Do Ahead

-         Dates can be assembled 1 day ahead; cover and chill.  Bring to room temperature before baking.

Inspired by Epicurious



Saucy Salmon Bites with Blackberry Soy Sauce

When it comes to this dish, sharing is not always caring.  You’ll want to keep these salmon bites all for yourself.


-         4 oz. unsalted butter

-         ¼ t crushed red pepper flakes

-         1 T finely chopped garlic

-         ½ C firmly packed brown sugar

-         ½ C frozen blackberries, thawed

-         ½ C soy sauce or Tamari

-         ½ C fresh lime juice (about 4 large limes)


1.     Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add the red pepper flakes and the garlic.

2.     Stir gently until the garlic releases its aroma, but not long enough to turn brown.

3.     Add the sugar next and whisk to dissolve and blend it in for about 3 minutes.

4.     Add the blackberries, soy sauce and lime juice.

5.     Return sauce to boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook or about five minutes longer.

6.     Remove from heat.  Serve with salmon.


-         This sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to three weeks.

Serving Suggestions

-         Entree - Seared Salmon filets (grill or broiler) glazed with sauce and served on jasmine rice.  Brushed onto salmon pieces, skewered and grilled.

-         Appetizer - Cut salmon filets into bite sized cubes.  Grill, pan sear or bake the salmon cubes until just done and serve on a rice cracker or nori (seaweed) chip with a small amount of sticky rice, then a sprig of watercress and topped with the salmon.  Drizzle sauce generously over bites.

Inspired by Oregon Berries



Cucumber Salad with Soy, Ginger and Garlic

Thinly sliced cucumber dances in an awakening sauce.


-         2 large thin-skinned cucumbers (about 1 ½ pounds), thinly sliced

-         Salt, to taste

-         1 tablespoon soy sauce

-         1 teaspoon sugar

-         1 small garlic clove, minced or pureed

-         1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

-         ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne, plus more to taste

-         Freshly ground pepper

-         2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

-         3 tablespoons sunflower oil or grapeseed oil

-         1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, very thinly sliced

-         2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


1.     Sprinkle the cucumbers with a generous amount of salt and let sit in a colander in the sink for 15 minutes.  Rinse and dry on a kitchen towel.  Transfer to a salad bowl.

2.     Whisk together the vinegar, soy sugar, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and pepper.  Whisk in the sesame oil and the sunflower or grapeseed oil.  Toss the cucumbers, scallions, and cilantro.  Chill until ready to serve. 

Inspired by NYT Cooking



Saucy Asian Meatballs

Each bite is packed with a saucy and flavorful punch.  Perfect finger food for any event, keeps the belly full without being overly heavy.

Meatball Ingredients

-         2 lbs. Ground pork or ground beef

-         2 tsp. Sesame oil

-         1 cup Panko or breadcrumbs

-         ½ tsp. ground ginger

-         2 eggs

-         3 tsp. Minced garlic

-         ½ cup thinly-sliced green onions

-         Optional garnish: toasted sesame seeds, sliced scallions

Asisan Sauce Ingredients:

-         ⅔ cup hoisin sauce

-         ¼ cup rice vinegar

-         2 garlic cloves, minced

-         2 Tbsp. soy sauce

-         1 tsp. sesame oil

-         1 tsp. ground ginger


1.     Preheat oven to 400.

2.     In a large bowl, mix together meatball ingredients until well-combined.  Shape into balls (I made mine about 1.5 inches, which yielded about 35 meatballs, but 1 inch is probably standard), and place on a greased baking sheet or in a 9x13-inch baking dish.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until meatballs are golden on the outside and no longer pink on the inside.

3.     While the meatballs are cooking, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until blended.  Once meatballs have finished cooking, you can either dip each meatball individually (using a toothpick) in the sauce mixture.  Or you can pour the sauce over the meatballs and gently stir them until covered.

4.     Serve warm, and sprinkle with additional garnish if desired.  (I served mine with these cocktail forks.)


-         You can also keep these warm (after cooking) in the crockpot on a low setting!

Inspired by Gimme Some Oven



Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Bites

Even if you are insistent you don’t like vegetables, this may prove you wrong. 



-         1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

-         2 whole egg whites

-         1 cup panko bread crumbs

-         ½ teaspoon paprika

-         ½ teaspoon ground cumin

-         1 teaspoon garlic powder

-         Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

-         1 teaspoon sesame oil or vegetable oil

-         ⅓ cup honey

-         ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce

-         2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

-         1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce or sriracha

-         3 cloves garlic minced

-         ¼ cup water

-         1 tablespoon cornstarch

-         Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

-         Chopped green onions, for garnish


1.     Preheat oven to 400F.

2.     Lightly grease in baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

3.     Add egg whites to a large ziploc bag;add cauliflower florets, close the bag, and shake it around until everything is well combined.

4.     In a separate ziploc bag combine panko crumbs, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; add cauliflower florets to the bag, close it, and shake it around until everything is well combined.

5.     Transfer cauliflower florets to previously prepared baking sheet; bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned.

6.     In the meantime, prepare the sauce.

7.     In a nonstick skillet set over medium heat, combine sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce and garlic; bring to a simmer.

8.     Simmer for 10 minutes.

9.     In a small mixing bowl combine cornstarch and water and stir until cornstarch is dissolved.

10.                        Add cornstarch mixture to soy sauce mixture and stir to combine; remove from heat.

11.                        Remove cauliflower florets from oven and either add them to the sauce OR pour sauce over the florets.  Mix until well combined. 

12.                        Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.

13.                        Serve as an appetizer or serve over rice.

Inspired by Diethood



Maple-Soy Snack Mix

This sweet and savory medley brings snacking to a whole new level.  Snack at your own risk, you won’t be able to stop.


-         ⅓ cup soy sauce

-         2 sticks unsalted butter

-         3 cups Asian rice cracker mix (7 ounces)

-         3 cups pretzel nuggets or min pretzels (8 ounces)

-         ½ cup grade B pure maple syrup

-         1 ½ pounds roasted mixed salted nuts, such as almonds, cashews, pistachios and peanuts (6 cups)

-         Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

-         3 cups sesame sticks (8 ounces)

-         12 cups Rice Chex cereal (12 ounces)

-         1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste or sambal oelek

How to Make It

1.     Preheat the oven to 275.  In a large bowl, combine the cereal with the nuts, rice cracker mix, sesame sticks and pretzels.

2.     In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, maple syrup, soy sauce and curry paste and bring to a simmer, whisking to dissolve the curry paste.  Pour the mixture over the snack mix and toss to coat completely.  Season generously with salt and pepper and spread on 3 large rimmed baking sheets.  Bake for 35 minutes, stirring 2 or  times and shifting the sheets, until nearly dry and toasted. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally.  Serve in bowls.

Make Ahead

-         The snack mix can be stored in an airtight containers at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.  Recrisp if necessary.

Inspired by Food & Wine



Homemade Sushi

We have to end on this note - the OG of soy sauce pairings.


-         6 sheets sushi seaweed, aka nori

-         1 batch prepared sushi rice

-         ½ lb sushi-grade raw salmon, or desired raw fish of choice

-         4 oz cream cheese, sliced into strips

-         1 avocado, sliced

-         Soy sauce, for serving


1.     Place the seaweed on a bamboo mat, then cover the sheet of seaweed with an even layer of prepared sushi rice.  Smooth gently with the rice paddle.

2.     Layer salmon, cream cheese, and avocado on the rice, and roll it up lightly.  Slice with a sharp knife, and enjoy with soy sauce.

Inspired by Fifteen Spatulas