|EVERY FEW MINUTES|
4 tbsp. soy sauce, common, light, or dark
2 tbsp. black bean paste
Peanut Butter, nut or seed butters
1 tbsp. honey, molasses, brown sugar, white sugar
2 tsp. vinegar (any kind) or lemon or lime juice
1/8 tsp. garlic powder or onion powder or 1/8 tsp. each/both
2 tsp. sesame, olive, vegetable or hot pepper oil
20 drops Chinese style hot sauce, Thai hot sauce, Tabasco, jalapeno or habanero sauces
1/8 tsp. black, white or red pepper
Note: many recipes here calling for Hoisin Sauce also include the ingredients used in Hoisin sauce. You can adjust the recipe a bit and leave out the off the shelf Hoisin and tailor the flavor to the main ingredient. The stuff in the stores is way overpriced. Make it economically and try it on everything.
Starting with this we are now free to experiment. We are no longer stuck with the one or two bottled brands in the grocery. It can be made lighter for fish and pork, stronger for beef and game, sweeter for Dim Sum.
(For those who have never heard of Dim Sum, call around to find a Chinese restaurant which serves it and go! There is a great treat in store for you.)
Notice that if we cut through the odd ingredients, it is not much different from a thick barbecue sauce. There we have the sweet, the sour, something to give it body, something for piquancy and a little oil that always seems to help.
Other than the obvious instruction of mix all ingredients there is one little trick. Mix it by hand until you are almost convinced it will never become a smooth sauce. Then continue just a little bit longer and it becomes exactly what you would expect.
In making variations with peanut butter use the more flavorful ingredients unless you find you have a taste for the peanut butter such as in Thai Satay. Light soy and honey is definitely peanut buttery. And of course unless you like it very hot you are not going to use both hot sauce and pepper oil.
If your variations make it a bit too thin just add some more bean paste. If too thick and the taste is right, then a little water. Therefore quantities are not critical and you don't have to be concerned with variations.
Letting it rest does not appear to improve the taste nor does refrigerator storage decrease its taste. So this can be made up at the last minute and with the variations possible, out of almost anything you have around the kitchen, or kept around for months until you feel the need for it. And if you find you don't have enough when you need it you can make more in a few minutes.
With all of these variations you can see one reason I have no use for recipes. A cookbook writer may come across the basic recipe with just the items on the left. Then the writer will "invent" British style Hoisin by writing it up with Worcestershire instead of soy or an American style with peanut butter instead of black bean sauce; or when they need filler, a North Atlantic style with both Worcestershire and peanut butter.
Once you see what is in a dish, a dozen near identical recipes are still the same dish regardless of the different names given to them.
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