For authentic Asian dishes, stock your pantry with these flavor-packed condiments:
Thick and pungent, hoisin sauce is a dark, sweet-salty condiment that’s commonly used as a dipping sauce, a glaze for barbecued meats, and a flavoring for stir-fries. made from soybeans, red chilies, garlic, and vinegar, it’s often used as a dipping sauce for peking duck and as a seasoning for Vietnamese pho.
Originating from Indonesia, Kecap Manis or sweet soy sauce is a thick, syrupy soy sauce sweetened with palm sugar. It’s often added to classic Indonesian dishes like satay and nasi goreng.
Oyster sauce is a thick, dark brown condiment composed of sugar, salt, water, oyster essence or extract, and a thickener like cornstarch. Popular in Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cooking, it is used as a flavoring for meats, vegetables, and noodle stir-fries such as the classics Beef with Broccoli and Chicken with Cashew Nuts.
Composed of hoisin sauce, honey, dark soy sauce, Chinese wine, and five-spice powder, Char Siu sauce is a ready-made marinade for char siu, a popular Chinese roasted pork dish. Use this condiment to marinate pork and chicken or as a dip for deep-fried meats.
Widely used in Asian cuisine, Chili-garlic sauce is a blend of coarsely ground chilies, garlic, vinegar, and salt. It’s added to soups, noodle dishes, and stir-fries to give them a touch of heat. It’s also mixed with soy sauce to make a dip for dumplings and fried spring rolls.
Text originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Yummy magazine. Photography by Patrick Martires