Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Picture a Day - Day 69

Awhile back Linda asked me how I use Hoisin sauce. Just recently Rachel has been asking the same thing and as last night was a good time to make up a new batch of it I thought I'd take this chance to explain it along with some pretty pictures.

Oh and don't worry, you can keep reading even if you weren't curious before.

I like to think of this as my one pot Chinese extravaganza (though it is neither extravagant nor does it take just one pot, the second is for rice).

Here are the major players in my Brown sauce: The Hoisin is like the pitcher, he's the main star of the show and if he played perfectly nothing else would be necessary.

Sadly Hoisin can run a little sweet for a few tastes so we rely on our back up. The Fish Sauce (yes it really is what it sounds like) adds a nice meaty flavor. You know those weird commercials they sometimes show on the food network about umami. Fish Sauce pretty much embodies it.

To cut down on the sweetness I rely on soy sauce. It's basically much glorified salt anyway and that is really good at offering a counterbalance to sweet.

The teriyaki I add because I love the flavor of it and I think it adds a nice different sweet balance to the Hoisin. It's probably optional like the ball boy, but you sure miss him when he's gone.

Okay now to get onto cooking. The first thing I do is chop up a ton of garlic and ginger and brown it quick in a pan (watch it though, it burns fast. Stupid aromatics). Then I add my meat of the day. I generally use either pork or chicken for my dish. Beef would probably work but I think the white bland meat of chicken and the almost bland of pork is a better conduit for soaking up the sauce.

Once the meat is seared time to add the vegetables. Aside from some fresh mushrooms we're cheap and just use frozen. Don't worry about defrosting them though, you can just dump it right in: After getting the vegetables generally thawed for a few minutes we move onto our sauces. First up Hoisin. I generally dump about 1/4 to 1/3 of the bottle in at a time. A lot of it depends on tastes so you may want to start small and then build your way up.The hoison is going to clump up so work fast in adding the next two. Teriyaki is impossible to measure out so I usually get one good turn of the bottle in.

The fish sauce I go crazy. I am guessing I probably add about 3-4 tablespoons sometimes. If it doesn't taste meaty enough add some more (I also like to use MSG but it isn't for everyone): You have to be careful with the soy sauce. Too much and you've gone far too salty, too little and it may be too sweet. I'd guess start off with about 5-6 shakes of the bottle and then see what you think of it.

Okay now that all the condiments are in time to turn this a bit more sauce like. Add about 1/4 of a cup of water, you'll want to eyeball it a bit so that it doesn't become too water logged. This was generally what I aim for.

Now is the time to start messing with the flavors a bit. Add a touch more of the salty or sweet to get it to your favorite range and then once that's done turn the heat down and let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes.

It helps to redistribute the sauces as well as boil off some of the excess water.

After that is done I like to mix the rice in with the sauce so it gets a nice coating all over everything, but that isn't really necessary.

I had a bit too much water last night so if you do there is the easy solution of just adding some flour and stirring til it clumps up. But you don't want to add too much, just a spoonful or so at a time as flour will suck out any flavor you might have had:
And this is my expertly plated Chinese Brown sauce stuff: It's really easy to do and takes about 30 minutes. Plus now there's no good reason to have to order out for Chinese.

Though you still can. I promise I won't stop you.


melissa said...

Yummm, that looks good. I am trying to be more creative with stir fry. I might have to try some of these sauces.

Leslie said...

Next time I'm down your way, I expect this on the menu. It looks good and as you know, Chinese is not exactly up Brian's alley.

Linda said...

Thank you for showing how you make it. Mine came out similarly! I can't wait to make it again.

Rachel said...

Thanks for posting this!
I will most definitely try this at home.
Also, I will have to post a recipe that I've been making that uses red curry paste. Yummy. And easy.