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Topic: US Restaurant-style Chinese sauces? Call for recipes~  (Read 878 times)
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« on: January 19, 2006 06:43:16 PM »

I need help with making chinese sauces at home... I can get the rice, meat, veggies, etc. all the way I like, but the sauces are never just right.  I don't want to use MSG, and I can't afford pricey ingredients, but there must be something I'm missing!  Also, I can't seem to get the hang of cornstarch; it always gets gooey.

What works for you?  I'm hoping to make a brown sauce (restaurants around here call it garlic sauce, sezchuwan, or mongolian) and spicy sauce like for General Tso's or sesame chicken.

One more thing... why can't you buy a good sweet and sour sauce at the grocery?!  Can you make it at home?

I don't have an ethnic store in this small town, only chains.

Thanks for any recipes or tips!
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2006 05:12:11 PM »

Yep, you can definitely make your own sweet and sour sauce at home!  I'm no good at recipes with actual amounts (I usually just play around with ingredients 'til I get it right) but I can give you kind of a rundown. 

I use white vinegar, brown sugar, and ketchup.  More ketchup than vinegar, and just enough brown sugar to taste.  Heat until boiling, remove from heat.  I mix around 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch with an equal or a little bit more amount of water in a cup or bowl, stir it, then pour into the sauce (**it's very important that the saucepan is off the stove eye**).  You can add some crushed pineapple or chunks, if you like.  Stir it all up, bring it back to a boil.  Ta-da! 

It isn't exactly like the restaurant-style sauce, but I think it's darn tasty!  For your General Tso's chicken, you might find one of the recipes here useful.  There are about fifteen different recipes for it.  : )

Also, you mentioned that you had problems with cornstarch.  By gooey, do mean kinda thick?  It might be that you're using a little too much.

I hope all this helps!
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2006 05:18:56 PM »

I've been looking for a good garlic sauce recipe, too. But there's a really good recipe for sweet and sour sauce in the book The Garden of Vegan. It involves pineapple juice, cornstarch, red pepper, and onion, among other things. If you'd like, I'll post the recipe next time I have the book with me.
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2006 06:15:19 PM »

Thanks grace!  I think I'm going to try a couple of the recipes on the link you gave me.  They look pretty easy, and not too involved.
I'm going to try your recipe for sweet n sour... sounds about right for how it should taste.  Wink

As for the cornstarch, I've followed recipes, but every time it turns into a ball of clearish paste.  Yuk.  Am I heating it too much?  I don't think I'm using too much, just what the recipe says.   Huh

I'd like to hear your recipe if you ever get the chance, kittenbonanza.
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2006 05:21:19 AM »

Basic sauces can include brown sugar, sherry or rice wine, soy/fish/oyster sauce (not all at once), garlic and ginger. I prefer fish sauce these days as it's not as sweet as soy. Sesame oil for drizzling (don't use it for cooking) and peanut oil for cooking (adds depth).

2 Tb each of sugar through sauce, and 2 tsp garlic (or more if you like), 1 of ginger. More of everything if you're making a lot.

To make a darker, red sauce add chile sauce or chop a few chiles. For a deeper sweet, add hoisin sauce. For a "white" sauce: oyster sauce, wine, chix stock, a little sugar, garlic/ginger, cornstarch.

Instead of adding the cornstarch to the sauce, cut up your meat and shake it up with a little cornstarch.  Fry the meat and set aside. Stir-fry your veg, then remove the veg when cooked and keep your sauce going over high heat; add the meat back in and stir until sryupy.

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