Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Master Sauce Back-Ribs

Master Sauce Ribs 1

Because of my blog posting schedule, it will be quite a number of weeks before you read this but, as of the time of this writing, my Chinese Master Sauce project has been underway for a little over two months. After initially making the sauce, I have used it for Red-cooked Pork Hocks, and a Lu Shui Chicken recipe, and the flavor has really developed nicely.

As described in my earlier posts, I have been bringing the sauce to a boil at fairly regular intervals to keep it fresh and, a couple of times, I have simmered some ingredients in it like ham trimmings, mushrooms, onion and celery to further add flavor. I have not, as yet, found it necessary or desirable to replenish the spice seasonings, or add more soy, but I have added the odd splash of rice wine and replenished the water a little to keep the level up.

For this third use of the sauce, I am, as promised earlier,  cooking pork ribs and my idea was to poach them in the sauce, let them cool and steep in it overnight and then do a last cooking at high temperature in a wok using a ladle or so of the sauce to form a glaze by a vigorous reduction.  Here is how it went… Continue reading “Master Sauce Back-Ribs”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Master Sauce Cookery Part 3: Lu Shui Chicken

Lewd Chicken 1

Poaching a whole chicken in the Chinese fashion and then serving the succulent and richly flavored result as a cold appetizer was one of the ideas I had in mind when I began my ‘Master Sauce’ project back on February 26th. The sauce is now a little over a month old and this will be its second use following the Red-Cooked Pork Hocks dish that I cooked back on March 6th and then wrote about a week or so ago.

During the month or so that the sauce has been in existence, I have brought it briefly to the boil on four different occasions to keep it fresh and then, following the pork hock experiment, I replenished some of the liquid (mostly with water, but also a little soy sauce and rice wine) and I also simmered some onion, celery and mushroom trimmings in it to further add to the depth of flavor. I have not felt it necessary to use any further spice ingredients yet as I like the way that the current spice level is mellowing nicely and providing background notes without being too assertive.

If you want to try cooking chicken the same way, you can, if you wish, start from scratch with a batch of fresh Master Sauce as per my original recipe, but I am looking forward to seeing how the accumulated richness of my current sauce works in this simple dish… Continue reading “Master Sauce Cookery Part 3: Lu Shui Chicken”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Master Sauce Cookery Part 2: Red-cooked Pork Hocks

Pork Hocks 1

This experiment will be the first use of the Chinese ‘Master Sauce’ I posted about a short while ago. I have very much wanted to reproduce the ‘Pig Trotter’ I featured in a ‘Notable Noshings’ article back in December but, since pig’s feet are not generally available in these parts, I have substituted the much more common hocks. As I mentioned in the ‘Pig’s Trotter’ post, the featured dish that I enjoyed at the Harmony Restaurant in Ottawa is a good example of the Chinese culinary technique known as ‘red-cooking’ in which foodstuffs are slowly braised in a soy-sauce based medium (hence giving the requisite ‘red’ color). As the master sauce I prepared essentially fits this criteria, I thought it would be perfect for today’s experiment… Continue reading “Master Sauce Cookery Part 2: Red-cooked Pork Hocks”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Chinese Master Sauce (鹵水)

Master Sauce 1 - 1

In Chinese cookery, a ‘master sauce’ is less a ‘sauce’ than it is a complex and re-usable, aromatic broth that is used to serially cook various meats and other foods, thus both giving and developing its own new depths flavor. With each use, the stock becomes richer and can be prolonged (as long as certain care is taken to prevent spoilage) for a very long time. Whether strictly true or not, it is claimed that there are master sauces that have been in continual use for generations.

The Chinese word for master sauce is:


The first character, ‘鹵’,  is pronounced ‘lǔ’ and means brine, while the second, pronounced ‘shuǐ’, means ‘water’. Together, the two characters are most frequently translated as ‘marinade’.  For today’s post, I am simply going to begin a batch but, over the next few months, I shall be using the result to cook a series of meals and will keep you posted as to the development of the sauce over time…

Continue reading “Chinese Master Sauce (鹵水)”