30 September 2004

i like to make things from scratch. (just call me a control freak.) not being able to reproduce things i can buy in the shops annoys me [*]. every now and again i try to make up the kind of chinese sauces you get in little sachets in the supermarket and i fail every time. until this week! success! and if i leave the recipes on post it notes on the kitchen worktop i’ll lose them, so here goes. (file under: weblog as unlosable post-it note.)

i found this sauce as part of a fish recipe on the net and i can’t remember where. it’s kind of generic deep brown gloopy chinese sauce, for want of a better description:

  • 3 tablespoons of dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of cornflour
  • splash of tabasco sauce

chuck it all in a small saucepan and heat slowly while stirring until it’s bubbly, gloopy and smooth.

inspired by one success i went looking for the salient parts of a sweet and sour sauce and came up with:

  • 4 tablespoons of pineapple juice
  • 3 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree (or just pretend you’re measuring it on a tablespoon and squeeze in enough until the pile of puree looks the right size!)
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of cornflour

cooking instructions are the same as above. it turns out deeper red than shop bought fluorescent orange sweet and sour sauce but it tasted right to us.

next stop, szechuan…

[*] _

actually it occurs to me that it all comes down to laziness. on the face of it opening a sachet of sauce is lazier than making up a sauce. in my twisted world view however buying sachets of sauces involves going to the supermarket and when they are all gone there is nothing you can do about it apart from go out and buy more. a cupboard full of ingredients in bottles and cans and packets however can usually be made to stretch to a few more meals before you need to hit the supermarket. for me the laziness is on the level of not wanting to go shopping, i’d rather spend five minutes mixing things in a pan.