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Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

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Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby Lily » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:57 pm

One of my favorite activities since moving to Madison is pouring over the cook books at Frugal Muse and Half-Price Books. Found one little spiral notebook that I love about cooking Chinese-style food. Don't spend money on some of the Chinese sauces in the stores. Make your own!! The bonus is you can customize it to whatever tastes you prefer and it's a lot less expensive. Here's some of my favorite sauces from the collection:

Sweet & Sour Sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 t cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly for one minute.

My notes: you can vary the taste significantly by using different vinegars such as rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. You can also substitute ketchup in a pinch for the tomato paste (I know some will be horrified by this but it does work--in a pinch. Obviously the paste is better.) And you can substitute the sugar for any sugar substitute you like if you need to watch the sugar intake.

Lemon Chicken Sauce
1.5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 T brown sugar
3 T cornstarch
3 T honey
1 t minced fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients in medium sized saucepan and mix well. Cook over medium heat constantly stirring until sauce boils. Lower to simmer and let thicken about 5 minutes. Pour over chicken.

And one final one
Hot Peanut Sauce
2 T creamy peanut butter
4 T boiling hot water
2 T natural soy sauce
1 t powdered garlic
dash of hot sauce (I add more--love the spike)

Stir into a thin paste and serve hot over the dish of your choice.
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby city2countrygal » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:13 pm

Add fish sauce and lime juice to your hot peanut sauce and you have Thai style. I'll try to come up with more.

Great subject idea, Lily! I'm trying to stay away from unnecessary additives and preservatives, and bottled sauces and dry mixes are full of them!
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby TAsunder » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:45 pm

I'm a pretty big fan of Ming Tsai's kung pao sauce.

http://ming.com/foodandwine/recipes/sim ... -sauce.htm

Ingredients

3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 cup naturally brewed dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup naturally brewed rice vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water for a slurry
Grapeseed or canola oil for cooking
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a wok or saute pan coated lightly with oil over high heat, add garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute, just to soften. Add sambal, taking care not to inhale the chile, and saute until well-blended. Add soy sauce to deglaze, then add sugar and rice vinegar. Bring to a boil and slowly whisk in slurry to thicken. Check for flavor and season if necessary. Keep warm to use in recipes or cool to room temperature, store in an air-tight jar and place in the fridge.
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby Lily » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:16 pm

city2countrygal wrote:Add fish sauce and lime juice to your hot peanut sauce and you have Thai style. I'll try to come up with more.

Great subject idea, Lily! I'm trying to stay away from unnecessary additives and preservatives, and bottled sauces and dry mixes are full of them!


Great suggestion. Fish sauce and lime juice would be a wonderful addition. That's why I like making sauces at home. You can alter them to suit your personal tastes. Thanks!!
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby john_titor » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:36 pm

What is that golden colored, savory dipping sauce they serve with teppanyaki called? Recipe?
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby Lily » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:33 pm

Teppanyaki is Japanese grilling. Not Chinese. Maybe a google search can give you the recipe.
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby john_titor » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:01 pm

sniff.
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby Lily » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:40 pm

Actually you can purchase yakiniku sauce in Asian markets. I've never had this, but one of the Asian markets in Madison probably do.

Here's a recipe for Steak Teppanyaki, with the sauce:
http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-mak ... teppanyaki
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby city2countrygal » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:10 pm

Good addition TAsunder! Ming Tsai is an excellent chef. I look for his or Martin Yan's recipes. I will try that kung pao sauce for sure!

Titor, if you make the teppanyaki sauce, don't skip the daikon. It's a kind of white radish, very strong and tasty!
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby Lily » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:14 pm

Black Bean Sauce
1/3 cup dried black beans
1 T malt vinegar
1 T dry sherry
1 T soy sauce
1 T sugar
1/2 t cornstarch
1 red chili, seeded and chopped,
1/2 inch piece ginger root, finely chopped
2 cups vegetable stock

Soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain and place in saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil for 10 minutes, uncovered. Drain. Return beans to saucepan with vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Blend in vinegar, sherry, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, chili and ginger and simmer for 40 minutes or until beans are tender and sauce thickens. Stir occasionally.

To achieve smooth texture allow mixture to cool and process in blender or food processor. Store in glass jar in fridge.
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby fennel » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:20 pm

Lily wrote:Don't spend money on some of the Chinese sauces in the stores. Make your own!! The bonus is you can customize it to whatever tastes you prefer and it's a lot less expensive.
This is a good idea, but it can be generalized to all kinds of cooking. What comes to mind, especially, is salad dressing. Even the best of the store-bought options are inferior to what can easily be made at home, at a (very small) fraction of the price.
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby Lily » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:52 pm

fennel wrote:
Lily wrote:Don't spend money on some of the Chinese sauces in the stores. Make your own!! The bonus is you can customize it to whatever tastes you prefer and it's a lot less expensive.
This is a good idea, but it can be generalized to all kinds of cooking. What comes to mind, especially, is salad dressing. Even the best of the store-bought options are inferior to what can easily be made at home, at a (very small) fraction of the price.


All very true. Excellent example using salad dressing since one can easily make this at home, with less junk/preservatives, without unnecessary levels of salt and sugar, customized to YOUR specific liking AND less expensive. We're all so busy these days it's so easy to pull a jar off a shelf, and sometimes that's okay but there's a lot to be said for home made. In the case of salad dressing, like fennel mentioned, home made will be better tasting, and there's really not that much work involved. Last time I was at the grocery store I noticed the prices for prepared salad dressings going up. Really, you probably already have all the ingredients at home to make your own.
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby NullDevice » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:22 pm

Get yourself some black bean paste, some dark and light soys, some dao ban djan, vinegar and some rice wine - with a good stock and a few spices basically you've got the fixings right there for hundreds of traditional dishes.
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby kittenwithawhip » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:55 pm

My favorite sauce for Chinese dumplings goes something like this. Once again, I rarely measure so I am guessing at the quantities, I just adjust till I like the taste:
Dry roast 1Tbsp sesame seeds in a pan until they start popping, set aside. Mix about 1/3 C of soy sauce or Tamari with 2-3 thinly sliced green onions, a few Tbsp of chopped fresh cilantro, red pepper flakes to taste and a spoon or 2 of ginger paste. I buy jarred minced ginger, not sure what it is really called.
If you like it hot, add some of that chili sauce in the bottle with the rooster on the front. Add the sesame seeds, about a spoonful of toasted sesame oil and whisk. If you like a sweeter sauce, add some sugar. I love this stuff.

I also love the red curry sauce in this recipe from Epicurious:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/ ... els-101999
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Re: Making your own Chinese Food Sauces

Postby Lily » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:18 pm

That sounds fantastic. I love that red hot sauce with the rooster on the front too. Chili garlic sauce found in most Asian sections in the grocery store. Can't go wrong with dumplings from anyone. I like the jarred minced ginger too. It lasts well and tastes pretty good. I like the toasted sesame oil versus the seeds for personal reasons. Do you make your own dumplings too?
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