Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Drunken Sauce

Here is the sauce I mentioned in the Crispy Baked Tofu post. I made very few modification to Andrea Nguyen's recipe from the excellent Banh Mi Handbook. The first time I made it, the sauce didn't thicken as much as I like, so I increased the cornstarch by a teaspoon. I also reduced the ginger as my older daughter felt it was too pronounced and I, being similarly sensitive to ginger in savory food, totally saw her point and was happy to dial it down a bit.

My local Vietnamese grocery store didn't have Chinkiang vinegar (which I have used and loved in the past) but instead of using Nguyen's recommended substitute of equal parts balsamic vinegar and cider vinegar, I got some Koon Chun brand black vinegar. This worked very well and is a new house favorite. My husband used it in his fish marinade and he and the kids preferred it to the same marinade made with rice vinegar.

This sauce obviously goes great on the crispy tofu but would also be good anywhere you might enjoy a sauce that, to me, is a cousin of good homemade teriyaki sauce.

2 TBSP soy sauce
1 1/2 TBSP rice wine such as Shaoxing (or sake or dry sherry)
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 inch section unpeeled ginger, smashed with the flat side of a knife (or to taste)
3 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP Chinkiang or black vinegar (or half balsamic, half cider vinegar)
6 TBSP water
1 TBSP cornstarch dissolved in 2 TBSP water

  1. Combine all ingredients except cornstarch mixture in a small saucepan
  2. Taste and adjust to your desired blend of sweet, tangy and savory
  3. Bring to simmer over medium heat and let simmer very gently 1-2 minutes until you start to smell the ginger and garlic (and you start to think, mmmm, I'm hungry)
  4. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and increase the heat a little bit
  5. Bring to a boil and as soon as the mixture is very thick (though in my experience even with 1 TBSP cornstarch it wasn't as thick as I expected), remove from heat
  6. Let cool in the pan 5 minutes then strain and discard solids
  7. Either pour over and stir into your tofu or just pass the sauce around the table and let everyone drizzle (or pour) it on

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