In recent months I've been expanding my cooking, in that I am trying to create oriental dishes. I have managed to make a few tasty dishes, but I have a long way to go. Since many of the sauces used in asian food are quite unusual, and until recently could only be purchased in special ethnic grocery stores, I thought I would learn a bit about them and share that information here.
Hoisin sauce- often referred to as Peking Sauce as it is the main ingredient in Peking Duck.
What is it?
Technically it is a mixture of some combination of sugar, water, a starch, (sweet potato being the traditional choice) fermented soy, vinegar, salt, garlic, and chili peppers.
How is it used?
Although it is a Chinese dipping sauce it is also used to flavor many dishes, such as spring rolls, mu shu pork, peking duck and barbecued pork. A less traditional but very delicious way to use hoisin sauce is to spread it on broiled chicken.
The kids and I tasted it plain and it is very strong, and they quickly recognized the flavor that it lent to the few dishes I have cooked using it. For this reason, I would go ahead and purchase it for any dish that calls for it. I do not believe that you will find much in your kitchen that can be easily substituted for hoisin sauce. Just remember that it is strong and if you are experimenting with it, you will want to go easy and increase gradually.