How To Incorporate Hoisin Sauce Into Recipes As A Beginner

Like any other glossy brown condiment, hoisin sauce appears unassuming at first glance, but drizzling a little over a bowl of pho can transform the noodle soup's entire flavor profile. This Asian staple condiment (which means seafood in Cantonese but is usually vegan) packs a punch and can overpower thanks to its blend of fermented soybeans, vinegar, sugar, garlic, sesame oil, five spice, and sometimes sriracha. Hoisin sauce is perfect as a dipping sauce for finger food like spring rolls or drizzling over your mains. Mix hoisin sauce into your marinades, barbecue sauces, stews, braising liquids, salad dressing, and even frosting or cake batter. Yes, you heard right, try using hoisin sauce to make desserts. 

However, for beginners unfamiliar with the unique and overpowering taste of hoisin sauce, using it may initially feel daunting. Our advice? Tread lightly — begin with a dollop of hoisin sauce, and adjust according to your taste, as it's often easier to add than subtract with cooking and baking.

It's fine to dilute hoisin sauce at first

To dilute the hoisin sauce, add a splash of water, a drizzle of sesame oil, or a little peanut butter, and blend until smooth. This will help temper the condiment's intensity and balance the flavor to your liking. As you develop a taste for it, gradually use more hoisin sauce or leave off thinning it to harness its naturally potent taste. Who knows, it might just become your new secret ingredient in the kitchen, or you may even try to craft your own.

With practice, hoisin sauce can transform almost any dish, not just Peking duck. Try making an unforgettable barbecue sandwich, or turkey banh mi, with hoisin sauce. Add it to lettuce wraps and impress your loved ones at potlucks. Or try a hoisin-sauce-infused salad dressing; it'll bring a sweet and savory complexity, a certain je ne sais quoi.

Why not continue the adventure in the realm of sweets and Asian baking? Imagine a gooey chocolate cake; its richness contrasted with a hint of savory, spiced glaze made from hoisin sauce — or chewy mochi brownies infused with a hoisin sauce syrup. So grab a jar of hoisin sauce, experiment, and don't be afraid to harness its full potential to elevate your dishes. And remember, diluting it at first is okay!