The Mystery Of Chinese White Sauce: How-To Make Your Own
Chinese white sauce is commonly used to make a delicious stir-fry or as the base for many different creative sauces. It can be thought of as a “master sauce” that can be added to nearly any ingredients or used to create more complex sauces.
But how do you make the base - Chinese white sauce? You need to combine vegetable or chicken stock, corn flour, and seasonings such as ginger or garlic.I’ve analyzed a few popular Chinese white sauce recipes to discover what the key points are when making your own sauce. Let’s learn how to do this together!
What You Will Need:
Stock is a strained liquid that is made by boiling a number of ingredients (meat, fish, herbs, vegetables, etc.) in water to give it flavor. It usually has a hearty, rich flavor. Stock can then be used as a base for soup or sauce.
Chicken or vegetable stock is usually the preferred choice when making Chinese white sauce. It is up to you which stock you want to use, but you should consider what you will be using the final sauce for. I like to match the stock to the ingredients I will be cooking as a stir-fry for consistency.
This starch is made from corn. The endosperm of the kernel is used to make corn starch, and this gives it the properties that are useful for thickening liquids and baking.
Cornstarch is often used to thicken sauces and soups. Combining equal amounts of cornstarch and water can create a slurry that you will then add to the cooking process late on so that it doesn’t break down too much.
Shao Hsing Wine
Shao Hsing wine is a Chinese rice wine that has been aged. This wine gives a nice aroma and a nutty flavor that completes the sauce. You will only need 2 ½ tablespoons for this recipe. It can be purchased online or in Asian grocery stores.
If you don’t have any Shao Hsing wine, you can try using a dry sherry instead. It will lend a similar nuttiness to the sauce, but it isn’t a perfect substitute.
Soy sauce is nearly always used in Chinese sauce recipes. It is an important component of many Asian recipes. Soy sauce is made from soya beans, water, and flour.
In this recipe, you are using one tablespoon of soy sauce to add some salty flavor to the dish. For stir-fry sauces, I recommend using a light soy sauce. If you prefer a richer flavor, you can use dark soy sauce instead.
Sugar is used in this recipe to give the right balance of sweet and salty. The soy sauce provides the salty element, and straight sugar can give you the sweetness. Sugar should be added to taste, and you can use any type of sugar that you want. I usually use white sugar.
Fresh Garlic & Ginger
You will want to use some type of fresh spices in your Chinese white sauce. Traditionally, ginger and garlic will be combined to create the right flavor profile, but you can take creative liberties with the spices to give your sauce a unique flavor.
Peanut oil is a healthy oil that has a pleasing, slightly nutty flavor. It is also naturally free of trans fats, cholesterols, and saturated fats, so it is a good option for those who are monitoring their diet more closely.
This oil is necessary to be able to saute the spices that you want to use to flavor your Chinese white sauce. It’s possible to use any oil to do this sauteing, but peanut oil will blend well with the other flavors in the sauce better than most cooking liquids.
Step 1: Prep & Cook The Spices In Peanut Oil
The first thing you will want to do is get your spices going. Mince 1/4 clove garlic and 1/8 fresh ginger with a knife. Put these into a pan with 1 teaspoon of peanut oil.
You will want to cook these for just one minute. This opens up the spice so that your final sauce is more flavorful. Don’t overcook these spices, as they could burn if you are not careful about how you prepare them.
Step 2: Prepare Your Thickening Slurry
Mix 2 teaspoons water with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to create a thickening slurry. You will need this to make the sauce a thicker consistency later on.
Step 3: Mix Together The Rest Of The Sauce Ingredients
Now, you’ll want to mix the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl or measuring cup:
- ¾ cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
- 2 ½ tablespoons Shao Hsing wine
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- A pinch of sugar
#4: Add The Sauce Ingredients To The Spices
Take the ingredients you just mixed together and add them to the cooked spices in your frying pan. Bring the sauce to a boil.
#5: Thicken The Sauce
Once the sauce liquid is boiling, you will want to mix in the cornstarch slurry that you prepared in step #2. Mix in the cornstarch and stir thoroughly.
Within the next 5 to 10 minutes, you should notice that the white sauce thickens dramatically. Allow it to thicken as much as you would like. Then, remove from the heat. Pour over your vegetables, dip your meat in it, or enjoy this tasty sauce in another way!
To get an idea of this cooking process before you start, check out this video:
Get Cooking With Your White Sauce!
Now that you’ve learned how to make Chinese white sauce, you can make your own stir-fry at home with this flavorful sauce and all it imparts to a dish.
Do you have any favorite seasonings that you prefer to add to your Chinese white sauce? Share with me in the comments, and then share this article with any friends who love to eat stir-fry.