Asian sauces: small lexicon to finally know what we are talking about

Asian sauces: small lexicon to finally know what we are talking about

Soy sauce, oyster sauce, nuoc mam sauce, sriracha sauce, hoisin sauce, satay sauce… you are lost in the “Asian sauces” department. Definitions and uses.

Soy sauce

Soy sauce (shoyu in Japanese) is Asian salt. It is found on all tables from Japan to China and from Vietnam to Korea. It is made by fermenting soybeans (or soybeans and wheat in Japan). It can be more or less dark, more or less liquid, more or less full-bodied, more or less salty, flavored in a thousand ways.

How to use it? in marinade or sauce, it seasons everything: vegetables, fish, meats, cereals. It is also, along with wasabi (Asian mustard), the classic seasoning of sushi and sashimi.
 
Sauce nuoc mam

Widely used in Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, and Laotian cuisines, nuoc mam sauce is a sweet and sour sauce, composed of nuoc mam (obtained by marinating fish and seafood, salt, and sugar), water, sugar, and lemon juice.
How to use it? to season the nems and spring rolls.
 
Oyster sauce

Thick and dark brown, it is typical of Cantonese, Thai, and Khmer cuisines. It is prepared by caramelizing an oyster broth until it becomes viscous and dark brown.

How to use it? in seasoning for all sautéed dishes (shrimp, beef, vegetables, noodles, rice).

Sriracha sauce

Composed mainly of chili and garlic (sometimes ginger), this Thai sauce, thick, bright red, and very pungent is to be dosed sparingly.

How to use it? to give a boost to seafood donuts or dim sum. See also our recipe for caramelized chicken with sriracha hot sauce   

Hoisin sauce

Thick, sweet-salty, and red-brown in color, hoisin sauce can be considered the Asian barbecue sauce. Widely used in Chinese cuisine, it is made from fermented soybeans, garlic, vinegar, chili, and sugar.

How to use it? To wash meats (especially duck and pork).

Satay sauce

This creamy, light brown sauce, used in Southeast Asia, consists mainly of grilled peanuts, chili, spices, and garlic. It can easily be made homemade.

How to use it? To season sautéed shrimp or chicken skewers. Satay beef is also a classic.

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