Do you use pre-made hoisin sauce? It wasn’t until recently that I had. It’s been sitting on the shelf as I wheel the cart right on by at the store. It’s there when I pick up one of its buddies nearby in the “ethnic aisle” or my favorite aisle here in the Midwest. (Is that phrase used only here? I wonder.)
All I’d ever heard about the sweet, salty, slightly spicy (with some bottled sauces…) concoction is that it’s like a barbecue sauce. And I am not a huge fan of barbecue sauce. Only the smoky, salty, spicy, tangy variety suits me and none of the overly sweet or even faintly sweet flavors need be present. I’ve been to parties and barbecuing events, something the country adores, with a dish drenched in it (the focus of the event) and found it disappointing.
The sauce is everything. Homemade seems best but living/growing up in the Midwest I’ve noticed people really like their sugary sauces. I pass. Bottled barbecue sauce is too sweet. In a pinch I grab Sweet Baby Rays because despite the name, it’s not horribly sweet and Greg was raised on it.
But why am I talking about barbecue sauce because I don’t think hoisin sauce should be described as the Chinese barbecue sauce, maybe if only for a comparison to the way it is used but nothing more. It’s its own thing. When people ask what one thing or another tastes like, I tell them they should just try it and they will know. A description can only go so far.
One problem I see with this is location-small town/suburban America may not have the best representation of the food stuff at their local store which goes for many food stuffs. I think this is the cause of my belief that I didn’t like certain foods growing up. Just a mediocre to horrible version. (Note: not with everything…before I get some nasty emails.)
While I didn’t make my hoisin sauce (I couldn’t find an authentic sounding recipe) with soybeans, vinegar, salt, garlic, red chili peppers and other ingredients, I tried the Dynasty version (the only one at my store) and thought it lacking somewhere in the flavor yet since I am a newbie when it comes to hoisin I haven’t a clue if it was a good representation or if I was right. If you have a favorite brand or recipe please share.
I do know that it made a delicious stir fry with the pork and green beans when cayenne and a few other ingredients were added. Garlic was my only contribution and tofu was my only omission. I used frozen green beans but fresh can be used by just boiling them until they are bright green then drain. If you wish to do the ice bath step next go for it but the beans will be added to the pan to cook a bit more anyway. Shrug.
Hoisin Pork and Green Beans adapted from myrecipes.com
1 cup of green beans, trimmed and halved (or use frozen and microwave as I did)
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 tsp peeled, grated fresh ginger
1 large clove of minced garlic
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 tsp dark sesame oil
salt and peper to taste
Cook green beans in boiling water 5 minutes, and drain unless using frozen beans then follow their directions. Mix 1/4 cup water, hoisin, cornstarch, and cayenne pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallions, ginger and garlic; sauté about 30 seconds. Brown the pork then add the hoisin mixture and beans. Cook for about a minute. Stir in sesame oil, salt and pepper. Serve with rice.