Asian cuisine is popular worldwide that hotels, resorts and restaurants offer them to their guests. They’re bursting with various flavors and most are well known to be hot and spicy.
But did you know what makes any Asian food stand out from the rest? It’s the sauce that is served along with the dish. Most dry Asian food has this and it’s time you get to know what these are and what they’re made of.
The brown sauce is the most basic and common in Chinese cuisine but it is also used in other Asian food. Normally, this is made from soy sauce or oyster sauce. Other ingredients that may be added are beef broth, corn starch, ketchup, potato flour and Hoisin sauce.
Soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans and wheat. It has a mild salty flavor and can be mixed with sugar to achieve a sweeter flavor.
The oyster sauce is commonly used in vegetable stir-fried dishes. As its name suggests, it is made from minced oysters and their juices. Sugar and soy sauce may be added.
Hoisin sauce is another type although reddish brown in color and has a thicker and pasty consistency. It’s sweet and spicy in flavor and very versatile as it can be used as a dipping sauce, marinade for meats and an ingredient in stir-fries.
Garlic sauce can be made using garlic, oyster sauce, chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili paste. The garlic here needs to be stir-fried quickly first before adding all the ingredients that were mixed beforehand. Bring it to a boil but remember to constantly stir the mixture.
Add the cornstarch and water mixture last to thicken the sauce.
Black Bean Sauce
This is made from salted black beans and rice wine and is popularly used in stir fry dishes. It usually has a slightly salty flavor owing to the beans and can be used together with garlic and some hot chillis.
The black soybeans used in Asian recipes normally undergo a fermentation process for six months before they are pureed and seasoned with other ingredients such as ginger and flour.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
The sweet and sour sauce is commonly used in dishes featuring fried and breaded fish, chicken or meat. It is thick and has a cherry red color that can be achieved using ketchup mixed with vinegar (white, red or rice), sugar and corn starch. Other than sugar, though, corn syrup, fruit juice, jelly or marmalade can be used as substitute.
Keep in mind that if you want to create authentic Chinese dishes, you need to use the real ingredients whenever possible.