Spicy Hoisin-Garlic Sauce

18 May

On a whim I decided to make some Vietnamese salad rolls. I stuff them with butter lettuce, noodles (though my last couple of batches I’ve just subbed extra lettuce), carrot, cucumber, bean sprouts, Vietnamese mint, coriander, and garlic chives. They are a bitch to wrap – I still don’t really have the hang of it, and my rolls tend to collapse as soon as I take a bite out of them. Since I bought the extra big packet of rice paper rolls (curse my stinginess – there are like … hundreds in there!) I have a lot of opportunity to practice I guess.

I remember the first time I ever had a salad roll was at some sort of function, and I didn’t realise I had to dip it in the sauce, and it was so bland and crap that I stayed away for a long time. So when I made my own rolls I was conscious that the dipping sauce would really make it. So I went to my trusty Into the Vietnamese Kitchen from Andrea Nguyen, which had a simple enough recipe for hoisin garlic sauce.

It makes about 1 1/2 cups. Her version requires chicken livers but I couldn’t be bothered mincing livers so I went with the vegetarian version with peanut butter.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP creamy salted peanut butter
  • 2 TBSP plus 1 cup water
  • 1 TBSP canola or another neutral oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 6-8 TBSP hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional, though highly recommended)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 tsp water
  • 2 TBSP unsalted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

Method

  1. Whisk together the peanut butter and the 2 TBSP water.
  2. In a small saucepan combine the oil, garlic and chile flakes over medium-low heat. When the oil is sizzling and pale yellow, add the tomato paste, breaking it up with a fork. When the oil is bright yellow-orange, pour in the 1 cup of water to stop the cooking.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the peanut butter mixture.
  4. When the sauce begins to boil, whisk in 6 TBSP hoisin sauce. Let the sauce cook for 1 minute and taste, adding more hoisin if necessary.
  5. Add the fish sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisk in the cornstarch mixture, and then cook for 30 seconds or until thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool, uncovered, to concentrate the flavours and thicken further.
  7. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and sprinkle the peanuts and sesame seeds on top. (I forgot this step)

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 1/2 cups sauce: 637 calories, 58% fat, 9% protein, 33% carbs 

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