An Exploration of Chinese Cuisine in the Provinces and Cities of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan
By Francine Halvorsen
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Chinese Sauces


Hot Chili Oil

Makes approximately half Cup
Hot Chili Oil is easy to make and will keep well for several months in the refrigerator.



  • half Cup corn oil
  • 20 dried hot chili peppers
  • half teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon paprika


1. Line a small, fine strainer with a paper towel and set it aside.
2. In a small, heavy saucepan heat the oil. When the oil is very hot, turn down the heat to very low and add the peppers. Cook, stirring, until peppers turn dark brown. Add the peppercorns and paprika, and continue to cook just until mixed.
3. Pour the oil through the strainer into a bowl. Discard the solids. Pour the oil into a small jar and cover with a lid. Store in the refrigerator.


Soy Sauce Dip

Makes half Cup
Use this basic, simple dip for Shanghai Spring Rolls fried or steamed dumplings Wontons and Cantonese Egg Rolls.




  • 1/3 Cup Soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Hot Chili Oil or Hot Chili Sauce( the recipes are here)


In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and chili oil or sauce just before serving. Add additional chili oil to taste.


Garlic Sauce




  • 2 tablespoons of peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of shredded garlic (use a mincer)
  • a little ginger if you prefer as well
  • 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock or canned broth


Heat a wok or frying pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and wait until it is smoking, add the garlic and ginger and leave for a minute or so. Then add the oyster sauce and stock simmering for another few minutes. Pour over your favorite fried rice or rice and meat dish.


Plum Sauce



2 1/2 lb Apricots; stoned &
-quartered *
2 1/2 lb Plum, red; stoned &
-quartered *
5 1/2 c Cider vinegar
2 1/2 c ;Water
1 1/2 c Sugar, white
2 c Sugar, light brown
1/3 c Karo, light
1/2 c Ginger, fresh; peeled &
2 tb Salt, kosher
1/4 c Mustard seeds; toasted
1 md Onion; quartered
2 Chile serrano; seeded &
5 Garlic clove; minced
1 Cinnamon stick



  1. Roast the peppers to remove skin; quarter lengthwise and devein. Set aside.
  2. Combine the apricots, plums, three cups of vinegar and water in a large non-reactive kettle and simmer until soft; about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In another non-reactive kettle, this one very large, combine the remaining vinegar, sugars, and Karo and bring to a boil, stirring.
  4. Add the fruit mixture, ginger, salt, mustard seeds, onion, chiles, garlic, cinnamon, and the skinned bell peppers. simmer, covered, for five minutes then simmer uncovered for one hour, stirring every so often. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  5. With a food processor, pulse the mixture for a couple of seconds (this has to be done in batches; process a little longer if you like a less- textured sauce).
  6. Return to the kettle and boil gently, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes (the sauce will thicken some more as it cools).
  7. Ladle into sterilized jars, either half-pint or pint. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (for half-pint jars) or 15 minutes (for pint jars). Allow to age in the jar for 2 to 4 weeks before using.

Honey Tint Sauce


Honey Sauce



A delicious sauce, that can either be used as a dip, or a marinate (add a tablespoon of oil), or as a sauce for Chinese food (dilute with stock).

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon clear honey
  • 3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smooth French mustard


Mix ingredients together in a non-metal container. The sauce may separate over time, in which case just mix it together again.

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