For those of us trying to save a buck, Chinese food is a classic take-out option. Granted, what they sell at China House or Panda Express is heavily Americanized “Chinese food”, but you can generally walk away with pounds of food for some loose change. My $4.50 always feels well spent. Occasionally though, the MSG-flavoring accosts my taste buds and puts them into a salty headlock. Not even the sticky rice can save me.
Wanting to keep the salt-and-soy-sauce taste to a minimum, I made a sesame sauce over broccoli, red pepper and rice. The sauce was smoky and sweet, accentuated by a tinge of vinegar. I drizzled the sauce over a plate of crisp steamed vegetables and rice. If you make a fair amount of Asian food, soy sauce should not be the only flavoring weapon in your arsenal. While soy sauce is a necessity, I would recommend adding sesame oil as well. This oil adds a rich, smoky taste to sauces and pairs well with chicken and vegetable dishes. Sticker shock might coax you to avoid this selection, but when you use only a teaspoon at a time it is well worth the investment. The next asset you should have is Sriracha, an Asian chili (hot) sauce. Its spicy garlic flavoring emboldens soups, sauces, and entrees. This is not a complete or even extensive amount of Asian flavorings, but it will provide us with enough to vary the taste options in future cooking endeavors.
2 ½ T white sugar
2 T all-purpose flour
½ cup vegetable/chicken broth
1 ½ tsp white vinegar
1 ½ tsp soy sauce
1 ½ tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp sriracha hot sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1. Combine sugar and flour in small sauce pan.
2. Turn stove on to medium heat. Add broth, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha and garlic.
3. While whisking contents, bring to a boil.
4. Then reduce and simmer for about 5 min.