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Ah Leung's Secret "Master Sauce" recipe

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I just made some soy sauce chicken last night. I am happy with the result. I am jotting down the ingredients and portions I used to make the "Master Sauce" (Lo Shui). My measurements are approximate. You don't need to follow them to the exact. In fact, alter it and experiment with it to create your own.

The "Master Sauce" - the initial pot:

- 2 cups of dark soy sauce

- 1 cup of light soy sauce

- 1 cup of sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)

- 3 cups of water

- 1/2 cup of Shao Xing rice wine

- 1 small whole onion, peeled and wedged

- 4 to 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

- 1 green onion, cut in about 1-inch pieces

- 3 to 4 inches length of fresh ginger, cut into thick slices

For the spices:

- 3 teaspoons of fennel seeds

- 3 teaspoons of cloves

- 3 to 4 whole cardamom - chop them into big pieces or crack them

- 20 star anises, break them up

- 2 sticks of cinnamon, hand-break them into small shreds

- 3 teaspoons of Sichuan peppercorn

- 2 to 3 pieces of dried tangerine peels (chan pei)

- About 3 big cubes (each about 2-inch x 2-inch x 1-inch) of rock sugar

(Note: you may also add cummin seeds, white or black peppercorns if you like.)

(Note 2: If you want to take time to cook, use whole spices. Don't use the powder form. The result from cooking with whole spices is so much better.)

Pour all the ingredients into a medium-size pot. Bring the sauce to a boil. Do an initial boiling for about 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it bubble for about 3 hours. There... you have a pot of "Master Sauce" freshly made.

You may use the sauce for flavoring all Cantonese braised dishes (e.g. beef brisket, abalone, pork belly, etc.)... or use it to cook soy sauce chicken. Or use it to cook tea eggs.

For home-cooked soy sauce chicken... I only do split chicken breast with ribs and not a whole chicken. You may cook a small whole chicken with it. (I am not sure if the above portion is enough to cover the chicken, so adjust if needed). Bring the sauce to a high-heat boil. Add the chicken/breasts/thighs. Boil for about 13 minutes or so. Turn off the heat. Let the chicken/breasts/thighs continue to cook in the sauce for about 15 to 20 more minutes at least. Remove, chop up and serve with some braising liquid.

This pot of "Master Sauce" is like the mother dough of your sour dough bread. Filter out all the spices and residues. Save the liquid only in the freezer. (It won't even freeze up) Next time you make another round of soy sauce chicken: add more ingredients of everything. The soy sauces - probably use about one quarter of the portion suggested above. Spices - about the same. Rock sugar - only 1 cube.

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Thank you, Ah Leung ! This is a valuable resource to have in one's kitchen.

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I was just in the Chinese grocery store yesterday and considered picking up some bottled master sauce. I didn't because I remembered a thread here about making it yourself, so I mentally filed this in my to-do later list. Good timing: I'm bumping it up to the top of the list. Thanks for the recipe!

So I'm going to make it and cook a chicken in it. Then maybe I'll braise some beef. You mention brisket, but I could do something like shank with this right? When I do that, do you just braise the beef, slice, and serve with some of the sauce? I've never had anything braised in master sauce, but I love the idea of it.

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..... but I could do something like shank with this right? When I do that, do you just braise the beef, slice, and serve with some of the sauce?

Alcuin:

What you mentioned... I posted a recipe a while back:

Beef Shank Braised with Five Spice and Soy Sauce (五香牛腱)

In that recipe, I used Lee Kum Kee's bottled "master sauce". You actually can forgo that. Just create your own master sauce using the ingredients and method listed in the opening post.

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..... but I could do something like shank with this right? When I do that, do you just braise the beef, slice, and serve with some of the sauce?

Alcuin:

What you mentioned... I posted a recipe a while back:

Beef Shank Braised with Five Spice and Soy Sauce (五香牛腱)

In that recipe, I used Lee Kum Kee's bottled "master sauce". You actually can forgo that. Just create your own master sauce using the ingredients and method listed in the opening post.

Thanks again Ah Leung. I've used your pictorials a whole lot, but never dipped into the shank recipe. I'll give that a shot.

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(Note: you may also add cummin seeds, white or black peppercorns if you like.)

On second thought, the cummin spice may be too overpowering.

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I made this master sauce recipe, and cooked some chicken and eggs in it last night.

master sauce chicken.JPG

It was very good. The sauce really penetrated the chicken, much more so than I thought it would. The eggs were particularly well infused. And the braising process must have added almost 3/4 cup of more master sauce! Great recipe Ah Leung thanks again. I'll be braising some beef in it next!

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I am so glad that you like it, Alcuin.

I vary the dry spices to put in sometimes. A little bit of black pepper. Coriander seeds. Cinnamon versus Chinese cinnamon. The only one that I found not working quite well was cumin. Even dried sliced licorice - I found it soothing. :smile:

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