Bragg liquid soy with amino acids enhances flavor
The Dalai Lama travels with a bottle. Fitness guru Jack LaLanne was a big fan.
If you believe what you read on the Internet, those claims could be true.
I’ll just tell you what I know.
Bragg Liquid Aminos has been in my kitchen cupboard since the early 1990s, when the late, great Gazette food writer Carole Desjardins gave me my first bottle.
And for two years, since the Gazette launched this column, I’ve shared recipes that called for a squeeze of Bragg.
I use the natural soy seasoning in soups, chili, on roasted veggies and in stir-fries.
The dark brown fluid has a rich, salty character that enhances all sorts of foods, and you only need about a tablespoon, so the bottle lasts a long time.
I’ve decided to brag about Bragg only because a health-conscious friend told me that she had never heard of it.
And I did a little research.
First I looked closely at the bottle’s bright yellow and red label, which is like a billboard gone berserk with its advertising for Bragg products.
“All Purpose Seasoning from Soy Protein,” “Natural Soy Sauce Alternative” it blasts in big letters.
Smaller text tells me that it’s gluten-free, kosher, has no preservatives, is not fermented and is made without GMO (genetically modified organism) soybeans.
Liquid Aminos is in made in California from vegetable protein from soybeans and purified water.
On the back of the bottle, 16 “essential and non essential” amino acids are listed, from alanine to valine.
The label on the clear, No. 1 plastic bottle has a folksy charm, too, with its photo of a fair-haired couple and a banner celebrating the Bragg family’s 100-year health campaign, from 1912 to 2012.
According to www.bragg.com, Paul C. Bragg started his pioneering health food business after crediting his recovery from TB as a teen-ager to a vigorous regimen of organic raw food, juicing and exercise.
In 1976, when he was 81, Paul died of a heart attack.
Today, his 84-year-old daughter-in-law, Patricia Bragg, pictured in her trademark straw hat trimmed with pink flowers, rules his empire.
Patricia does radio talk shows and makes appearances here and there, espousing the motto that “You are what you eat, drink, breathe, think, say and do.”
For decades, one could only find Bragg products in health food stores. Now you can buy them at most supermarkets.
Last year, my mom, who is on a low-salt diet, tried Liquid Aminos as a salad dressing.
“It tastes so salty. I love it,” she said.
But should my mom be dousing with Bragg’s?
One half teaspoon contains 160 milligrams of naturally occurring sodium.
And what about MSG?
The Internet is spilling over with opinions about this. Bragg says they add no MSG, but that there might be some that is naturally occurring.
“If it had it, I would know it,” said my husband, who is sensitive to MSG.
Actually, the more I read on the Internet about BLA, the more confused I have become.
Not everyone thinks it’s healthful, even though the Bragg company is all about health.
I plan to read these reports, looking for credible ones, but for now, I’ll continue to enjoy it.
My new invention is BLA ramen noodles. I rip open a ramen package and throw away the little flavor packet. Instead, I stir one tablespoon of BLA into a mix of noodles and two cups of hot water.
And here’s a recipe from www.bragg.com that I plan to test in my kitchen. I’ve edited it slightly.
Patricia’s Lentil/Brown Rice casserole, Burger or Soup Recipe
1 package (16 ounces) lentils
1 cup brown rice
5 cups water
4 carrots, slice in rounds
2 onions, chop
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons olive Oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 teaspoon Bragg Organic Sprinkle (or your favorite spice mix)
1⁄2 cup, diced fresh or canned tomatoes
Wash and drain lentils and rice. Place in large pot. Add water, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Add veggies, Liquid Aminos and spice mix and cook on low until tender.
Add tomatoes and cook five more minutes. Serve as a stove-top casserole or mash to make burgers. For soup, add more water when cooking the grains. Serves four to six.
Are you a vegetarian? What do you think of BLA? We’d love some feedback.