Monday, February 27, 2012

Don't You Go and Give Me Any Sauce, 'Cuz Child, I Got Sauce That's Older Than You.

Some things improve with age. I'm thinking about things like scotch, blue jeans, baseball mitts, and most wines.

Some things do not. Like bread, lettuce, Silly Putty, or my ability to impress beautiful women.

But there is one item that definitely will improve with age: Chinese Looing Sauce.

This sauce was created over 2000 years ago and is used to braise a wide variety of meats. Technically, this is called a Master Sauce but in some culinary corners it is referred to as a Loo Shui Sauce. I prefer to call it Looed Sauce. Mainly because it sounds so weird.

You can use this sauce to braise chicken (see below), pork, beef or lamb (but never seafood).

And the best part? The more you use it, the better it gets. Just be sure to skim the fat and re-fresh the ingredients every now and then. After each use, freeze, then bring to a boil before using again. Some Master Sauces in China are over 100 years old and are passed down from generation to generation.

Below I've included a recipe for "Chicken in Master Sauce". Of course, when I serve it to guests I prefer to call it by its other name: "Looed Chicken". I always love to see the look on their faces. Oh, and for the record, my looing sauce is over 20 years old (yet another point I mention to get rise out of my guests.) I hope to pass it on down to my grandkids someday.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups water
2 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup rice wine or dry sherry (not so-called "cooking wine")
5 slices peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 whole star anise pods
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 pound chicken wing pieces or thighs

DIRECTIONS

Bring all the ingredients to a boil in dutch oven over high heat. Add the wings and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve wings hot or at room temperature. Freeze sauce until next use.

Serve with steamed white rice.

17 comments:

  1. Yummm, sounds delish! I'll be trying soon ;-) Thanks for sharing!!!

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    1. @Slow Cooking Kitchen. It is delish, Tess. And it's a great dish to serve up when company unexpectedly drops by because it is simple and requires little attention. Besides, it'll give you plenty of time to whip up some of your Red Velvet Cherry Tortes for dessert :-)

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  2. I already know that this will be a favorite mess of mine! thank you Warren!

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    1. @Mess Hall Chef. Glad you're going to give it a shot, Soni! The important thing is to keep "growing" it to let the flavors mingle and deepen. Perhaps we can sear some chuck and let it simmer whenever we finally make it out west. :-D

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  3. @Vanessa Rubin. Thanks, Vanessa. In fact, I think this would taste delish on just about any street, lol. I wonder if the Thais have a version of this ancient sauce. E-mail me or post it if they do!

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  4. Warren, this is fascinating! I've never heard of "looed" sauce. And I had no clue they had Master Sauces carried down for years and years in China. I'm traveling to China next week. I wonder if I'll come across some, now that I know what it is! :)

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    1. @Jes. China? What fun! Be sure to share whatever you might find out about the looing sauce (and don't forget to bring me a souvenir t-shirt, lol)

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  5. Another "mother" interesting. I'm familiar with rye starter mother and yeast starter mother. Hmmm. Gotta give it a try!

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    1. @Cindy Kerschener. You *do* need to give this a try, Cindy! And hey, who you callin' a mother?... :-)

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  6. YUP .. you've caught my attention! hmmm guess it's grocery shopping to go by some chicken wings! 20 years old EH? (yes i"m Canadian) ... wonder if Uncle Fester (my sourdough starter) and Looed would get along?! thanks!

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    1. @Kelly. Thanks for dropping by! Yes, try it first with chicken, then be sure to use some beef after awhile. It really does get better with age. :-) (btw: Uncle Fester? Love it!)

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  7. I can't believe I've never heard of this. But I have honestly never heard of this.

    Huh.

    So you don't put the sauce over rice?

    You just freeze it and re-use it?
    When you say "refresh it" do you mean make another batch and add it to the old?
    At what point do you skim the fat: before you freeze it? Or do you chill it in the fridge till the fat rises, skim the fat, and then freeze it? Or do you skim the fat after you take it out of the freezer to use again?

    When it comes to "re-using" a food, I need to be sure I'm doing it right. Don't want to mess around and goof it up.

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    1. @Susan in the Boonies. Great questions! By refresh, I mean adding more spice/garlic/soy sauce/sugar as the sauce ages. I don't skim the fat each time, I skim it when it becomes overwhelming (and I usually skim it after it has chilled a bit and before I refreeze, either thru using a soup skimmer cup or a spoon).

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    2. Oh...and I don't serve the sauce itself over rice. I may, however, serve the chicken over rice allowing some of the sauce on the chicken to soak in.

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  8. Interesting! We love Chinese & Japanese! Thanks for the recipe. Next time my daughter comes home from college we'll make it together! I'm glad to have something new to start with her! We always cook together and the "guys" (my husband and son) always enjoy the benefits of mom and sis cooking together! LOL

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  9. I just found your blog. Sauce looks wonderful. Question - do you save/freeze the sauce with the spices in the container?

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