This is mainly deployed as a secret weapon in braises. Pork and chicken are the usual suspects, but vegans revel in these delightful flavors, too, by tossing things like sturdy vegetables, bean curd, or gluten in the mix to make a meatless dish worthy of the Lord Buddha himself. The key to this dish is using good Chinese soy sauces, mushroomy Shaoxing rice wine, and that touch of caramel. Read more about Chinese mother sauces here. —Madame Huang
- Makes about 2 cups
peanut or vegetable oil
thin slices fresh ginger
scallions, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
regular soy sauce
dark soy sauce
Shaoxing rice wine
caramel (see the recipe for Sweet Soy Sauce, Chinese mother sauce #3), or rock sugar to taste
Boiling water, as needed
3 whole star anise or 1/2 stick cinnamon
- Set your wok over medium-high heat, add the oil, and when the oil starts to shimmer, add the ginger and scallions, and stir these around until they brown. Add both soy sauces, the rice wine, the caramel syrup or rock sugar, and around a cup of boiling water. If you would like to add other seasonings, like garlic or spices, do it now.
- Simmer the ingredients for around 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with more soy sauce or caramel or rice wine as desired. Strain out the solids, if you like, and refrigerate the sauce when you are not using it immediately.