A Chinese brown sauce can be a mom's secret weapon, sweetening vegetables so that your kiddo will eat them.
Chinese brown sauce is a catch-all sauce used to add flavor and texture to many simple Chinese dishes. Its name comes from its color -- go figure! When you first offer your little one a dish with brown sauce, you might find that he's brown sauce-adverse, but that's often because small kids typically only want what’s familiar and sweet. So if you plan to prepare a Chinese meal for the family, you might have to alter the standard brown sauce recipe to make it more kid-friendly.
1Mix the soy sauce with 2 to 4 tablespoons of brown sugar. While traditional brown sauce recipes call for black sugar, which is rare in America, opt for brown sugar even if you have black sugar, as brown sugar is sweeter. The traditional brown sauce uses a 2-to-1 ratio for soy sauce to brown sugar, but to sweeten the sauce for your preschooler, you can opt for as much as a 1-to-1 ratio. Also, although Chinese brown sauces traditionally use Chinese soy sauce, consider replacing Chinese soy sauce with Japanese soy sauce, as the latter is sweeter. You should also try to find a low-sodium soy sauce, as it's healthier for your family.
2Add the grated ginger to the soy sauce and brown sugar blend. Skip this step if you know your preschooler doesn't like the strong flavor of ginger. Alternatively, use powdered ginger, as it has a less obvious flavor.
3Add the broth to the mix. Choose either beef broth or chicken broth for the more authentic flavor. When in doubt, opt for the broth your preschooler likes most.
4Add the thickening agent. The standard choice for American Chinese cuisine is cornstarch. Chefs in China and Taiwan tend to use oyster sauce. However, it's possible that the bitter flavor of oyster sauce won't mesh well with your preschooler’s tongue, in which case, stick with the cornstarch. Another option is to skip the thickening agent and simply cook the sauce longer. If adding oyster sauce, add half a part of the soy sauce you added.
5Boil the sauce. After the sauce boils, reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer. Constantly check the sauce’s thickness with a spoon and remove from heat when it has reached your desired consistency.
- This recipe makes sauce to cover 4 servings of food -- and works best used with stir-fried dishes.
Things You'll Need
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce (low-sodium)
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cup broth (chicken or beef)
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger (optional)
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (optional)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch (optional)