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~ Time Out to Define: Hoisin Sauce & Oyster Sauce ~

IMG_9897Since I am about to embark on a little mid-January trist with Chinese food, I decided to define two of the most used sauces in the Chinese pantry:  Hoisin and Oyster.  Why? Because too many Americans think they are "almost the same" and can be used interchangeably:  wrong.

Hoisin Sauce (HOY-sihn):  "Hoisin" means "sea-fresh" in Chinese, but contains no seafood and is not served with seafod either. Sometimes referred to as "Peking sauce", it is a rich,  reddish-brown sauce with a sweet, tangy flavor.  It's made from soybeans, sesame seeds, garlic, chile peppers, salt, sugar and spices.  Besides being used as a table condiment, it is used in the preparation of many chicken and pork dishes, as well as a barbecue sauce for spareribs.

Oyster Sauce:  In ancient times, this thick, brown sauce was made from boiling oysters, brine and soy sauce until thick and concentrated.  It was quite salty and fishy tasting.

Nowadays, oyster-flavored sauce, made with oyster extracts, soy protein, sugar and salt, is quite pleasant tasting.  It is used as a seasoning sauce and gets added to stir-fries to enhance flavor without overpowering the natural flavor.  It is not used as a table condiment.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photo courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)


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