Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

hzrt8w

Ah Leung's Secret "Master Sauce" recipe

Recommended Posts

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

..... 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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

..... 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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      Perhaps the food-related question I get asked most through my blog is “What's it like for vegetarians and vegans in China. The same question came up recently on another thread, so I put this together. Hope it's useful. It would also, be great to hear other people's experience and solutions.
       
      For the sake of typing convenience I’m going to conflate 'vegetarians and vegan' into just 'vegetarian' except where strictly relevant.
      First a declaration of non-interest. I am very carnivorous, but I have known vegetarians who have passed through China, some staying only a few weeks, others staying for years.
       
      Being vegetarian in China is a complicated issue. In some ways, China is probably one of the best countries in which to be vegetarian. In other ways, it is one of the worst.
       
      I spent a couple of years in Gorbachev-era Russia and saw the empty supermarkets and markets. I saw people line up for hours to buy a bit of bread.. So, when I first came to China, I kind of expected the same. Instead, the first market I visited astounded me. The place was piled high with food, including around 30 different types of tofu, countless varieties of steamed buns and flat breads and scores of different vegetables, both fresh and preserved, most of which I didn't recognise. And so cheap I could hardly convert into any western currency.
      If you are able to self-cater then China is heaven for vegetarians. For short term visitors dependent on restaurants or street food, the story is very different.
       
      Despite the perception of a Buddhist tradition (not that strong, actually), very few Chinese are vegetarian and many just do not understand the concept. Explaining in a restaurant that you don't eat meat is no guarantee that you won't be served meat.
       
      Meat is seen in China as a status symbol. If you are rich, you eat more meat.And everyone knows all foreigners are rich, so of course they eat meat! Meat eating is very much on the rise as China gets more rich - even to the extent of worrying many economists, food scientists etc. who fear the demand is pushing up prices and is environmentally dangerous. But that's another issue. Obesity is also more and more of a problem.
      Banquet meals as served in large hotels and banquet dedicated restaurants will typically have a lot more meat dishes than a smaller family restaurant. Also the amount of meat in any dish will be greater in the banquet style places.
       
      Traditional Chinese cooking is/was very vegetable orientated. I still see my neighbours come home from the market with their catch of greenery every morning. However, whereas meat wasn't the central component of dinner, it was used almost as a condiment or seasoning. Your stir fried tofu dish may come with a scattering of ground pork on top, for example. This will not usually be mentioned on the menu.
      Simple stir fried vegetables are often cooked in lard (pig fat) to 'improve' the flavour.
       
      Another problem is that the Chinese word for meat (肉), when used on its own refers to pork. Other meats are specified, eg (beef) is 牛肉, literally cattle meat. What this means is that when you say you don't eat meat, they often think you mean you don't eat pork (something they do understand from the Chinese Muslim community), so they rush off to the kitchen and cook you up some stir fried chicken! I've actually heard a waitress saying to someone that chicken isn't meat. Also, few Chinese wait staff or cooks seem to know that ham is pig meat. I have also had a waitress argue ferociously with me that the unasked for ham in a dish of egg fried rice wasn't meat.
       
      Also, Chinese restaurant dishes are often given have really flowery, poetic names which tell you nothing of the contents. Chinese speakers have to ask. One dish on my local restaurant menu reads “Maternal Grandmother's Fluttering Fragrance.” It is, of course, spicy pork ribs!
      Away from the tourist places, where you probably don't want to be eating anyway, very few restaurants will have translations of any sort. Even the best places' translations will be indecipherable. I have been in restaurants where they have supplied an “English menu”, but if I didn't know Chinese would have been unable to order anything. It was gibberish.
       
      To go back to Buddhism and Taoism, it is a mistake to assume that genuine followers of either (or more usually a mix of the two) are necessarily vegetarian. Many Chinese Buddhists are not. In fact, the Dalai Lama states in his autobiography that he is not vegetarian. It would be very difficult to survive in Tibet on a vegetarian diet.
       
      There are vegetarian restaurants in many places (although the ones around where I am never seem to last more than six months). In the larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai they are more easily findable.
       
      Curiously, many of these restaurants make a point of emulating meat dishes. The menu reads like any meat using restaurant, but the “meat” is made from vegetable substitutes (often wheat gluten or konjac based).
       
      To be continued
    • By liuzhou
      While there have been other Chinese vegetable topics in the past, few of them were illustrated And some which were have lost those images in various "upgrades".
       
      What I plan to do is photograph every vegetable I see and say what it is, if I know. However, this is a formidable task so it'll take time. The problem is that so many vegetables go under many different Chinese names and English names adopted from one or other Chinese language, too. For example, I know four different words for 'potato' and know there are more. And there are multiple regional preference in nomenclature. Most of what you will see will be vegetables from supermarkets, where I can see the Chinese labelling. In "farmer's" or wet markets, there is no labelling and although, If I ask, different traders will have different names for the same vegetable. Many a time I've been supplied a name, but been unable to find any reference to it from Mr Google or his Chinese counterparts. Or if I find the Chinese, can't find an accepted translation so have to translate literally.
       
      Also, there is the problem that most of the names which are used in the English speaking countries have, for historical reasons, been adopted from Cantonese, whereas 90% of Chinese speak Mandarin (普通话 pǔ tōng huà). But I will do my best to supply as many alternative names as I can find. I shall also attempt to give Chinese names in simplified Chinese characters as used throughout mainland China and then in  traditional Chinese characters,  now mainly only used in Hong Kong, Taiwan and among much of the Chinese diaspora. If I only give one version, that means they are the same in Simp and Trad.
       
      I'll try to do at least one a day. Until I collapse under the weight of vegetation.
       
      Please, if you know any other names for any of these, chip in. Also, please point out any errors of mine.
       
      I'll start with bok choy/choy. This is and alternatives such as  pak choi or pok choi are Anglised attempts at the Cantonese pronunciation of the Mandarin! However in Cantonese it is more often 紹菜; Jyutping: siu6 coi3. In Chinese it is 白菜. Mandarin Pinyin 'bái cài'. This literally means 'white vegetable' but really just means 'cabbage' and of course there are many forms of cabbage. Merely asking for bái cài in many a Chinese store or restaurant will be met with blank stares and requests to clarify. From here on I'm just going to translate 白菜 as 'cabbage'.

      So, here we go.


       
      Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis
       
      This is what you may be served if you just ask for baicai. Or maybe not. In much of China it is 大白菜 dà bái cài meaning 'big cabbage'. In English, usually known as Napa cabbage, Chinese cabbage, celery cabbage, Chinese leaf, etc.  In Chinese, alternative names include 结球白菜 / 結球白菜 ( jié qiú bái cài ), literally knotted ball cabbage, but there are many more. 
       
      more soon
    • By liuzhou
      It is possibly not well-known that China has some wonderful hams, up there with the best that Spain can offer. This lack of wide -knowledge, at least in the USA, is mainly down to regulations forbidding their importation. However, for travellers to China and those in  places with less restrictive policies, here are some of the best.
       
      This article from the WSJ is a good introduction to one of the best - Xuanwei Ham 宣威火腿  (xuān wēi huǒ tuǐ) from Yunnan province.
      This Ingredient Makes Everything Better
      I can usually obtain Xuanwei ham here around the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival, but I also have a good friend who lives in Yunnan who sends me regular supplies. The article compares it very favourably with jamon iberico, a sentiment with which I heartily agree.



      Xuanwei Ham
       

      Xuanwei Ham
       
      more coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      I have just returned home to China from an almost two week trip to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. To get there I first travelled by train to the provincial capital, Nanning. The local airport only does domestic flights, whereas there are direct flights from Nanning. The flight time required that I stay overnight at the Aviation Hotel in Nanning, from which there is a regular direct bus to the airport.
       
      The trip to Nanning is about an hour and a half and passes through some nice karst scenery.
       
       
      After booking into the hotel, I set off for my favourite Nanning eating destination. Zhongshan Night market is a well known spot and very popular with the locals. I had forgotten that it was a local holiday - the place is always busy, but that night it was exceptionally so.
       

       

       
      It consists of one long street with hundreds of stalls and is basically a seafood market, although there are a few stalls selling alternatives.
       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       
      Filled myself with seafood (and some of that blood sausage above), slept soundly and, next morning, flew to Ho Chi Minh City.
       

       

       
      The rest of my trip can be seen here:
       
       
    • By Lisa Shock
      Years ago, when I visited Tokyo, I ate in a small but fascinating restaurant called 'It's Vegetable' which is now, unfortunately, closed. The chef was from Taiwan, and he made Buddhist vegetarian and vegan dishes that resembled meat. During my visit, several monks wearing robes stopped in to eat dinner. The dishes were pretty amazing. I understood some of them, like using seitan to mimic chicken in stir fry dishes, others used tofu products like yuba, but, others were complex and obviously difficult. One very notable dish we enjoyed was a large 'fish' fillet designed to serve several people. It had a 'skin' made of carefully layered 'scales' cut from nori and attached to the surface. Inside, the white 'flesh' flaked and tasted much like a mild fish. Anyway, apparently Buddhist fake meat meals are very popular in Taiwan and many places, cheap through to fine dining serve them. Yes, if I worked on it for a while, I could probably refine one or two dishes on my own, but, I am wondering if there's a Modernist Cuisine type cookbook for skillfully making these mock meats from scratch? (I have heard that some items are commercially made and available frozen there, much like soy-based burgers are in the US.) I am willing to try almost any offering, even if it's entirely in Chinese. And, I know how to use remailers to purchase regional items from the various local retailers worldwide who do not ship to the US.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×