Wondering what is hoisin sauce and how you can use it in your dishes?
Hoisin sauce is used in Asian, particularly Cantonese, cuisine. It’s a salty and fragrant sauce that’s readily used in marinades, vegetable stir-fries (my favorite!), and grilled dishes.
It is widely used in Chinese dishes as well as some Vietnamese food recipes and is sometimes referred to as Chinese barbecue sauce.
I first discovered hoisin sauce while I was exploring the local supermarket.
I bought it on a whim and used it in my stir-fry recipe. The moment I tasted that dish I knew that I wouldn’t stop using it in my Asian recipes anytime soon!
That’s when I decided to learn more about this rich and flavorful condiment.
Want to know more about what is hoisin sauce? Read on to find out!
What Is Hoisin Sauce?
Hoisin sauce is a condiment used in Asian dishes to add flavor. It has a dark hue and is quite thick.
The fermented soybean paste in hoisin sauce combines with other flavors and spices and gives Asian dishes a tangy, sweet, and spicy element.
Traditionally, the sauce is served with Peking duck, which is a Cantonese dish. The sauce itself originated in Cantonese.
The word hoisin comes from the Chinese word for seafood, which suggests that the earlier versions of this sauce might have had some form of seafood to give it that signature umami flavor.
However, today, the sauce contains no seafood and isn’t even paired with seafood.
What Does Hoisin Sauce Taste Like?
Hoisin sauce has an incredibly salty and slightly sweet taste. It tastes somewhat similar to the American-style barbecue sauce. However, it’s richer, saltier, less sweet, and has a distinct flavor of its own.
It also has a bit of a spicy kick to it. The fermented soybeans in the hoisin sauce add a distinct savory umami element to the hoisin sauce flavor.
How to Use Hoisin Sauce
Since hoisin sauce has quite a unique flavor, it can be a bit overpowering if you use too much in your dish. Hence, when you are using hoisin sauce, keep a light hand.
Use only a bit at a time to experiment with the blend of flavors.
You can also dilute the salty hoisin sauce flavor by adding some oil or water to the sauce before using it in your dish. Hoisin sauce works great to add an authentic flavor to Asian dishes.
It essentially helps thicken the dish and adds a rich color to noodles and veggies or meat stir-fries.
You can also use hoisin sauce as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, egg rolls, or other mouthwatering appetizers.
What Is Hoisin Sauce Made of?
The major ingredient in hoisin sauce is fermented soybean paste. Other essential ingredients include vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, sugar, red chili peppers, etc.
Commercially prepared hoisin sauce might have stabilizers, preservatives, and coloring agents in it as well.
Beijing-style hoisin sauce is made using fermented soybean paste, sugar, salt, water, white distilled vinegar, starches. such as sweet potato, wheat and rice, sesame seeds, garlic, red chili peppers, and other spices.
How to Store Hoisin Sauce
You can store an unopened bottle of hoisin sauce in a cool, dark place in your pantry. It’ll easily last for a couple of years. Just make sure to check the bottle for its “best by” date to make sure that you don’t use it past that point.
If you’ve had the sauce in your pantry for quite some time, then make sure that it is mold-free and doesn’t smell bad.
Once you open a bottle of hoisin sauce, make sure to refrigerate it after using it. It’ll easily last for about a year in your fridge due to the high salt content that helps keep mold and bacteria at bay.
However, before using it, make sure to check the refrigerated sauce for signs of bad odor, mold, and discoloration.
Is Hoisin Sauce Vegan?
Hoisin sauce is made with soybean paste. It is not made with meat or fish products.
The lack of animal products in the sauce means that it is vegan and vegans can safely use it in their diet.
Is Hoisin Sauce Spicy?
Even though hoisin sauce is primarily quite salty, it does have a tinge of spiciness to it as well.
This is due to the use of red chili pepper and other spices that add a kick of natural flavor to the sauce.
Is Hoisin Sauce Similar to Soy Sauce?
Naturally, fermented soy sauce is quite saltier than hoisin sauce. It’s also quite runny when compared to hoisin sauce, which has a thick texture.
Moreover, hoisin sauce has a kick of sweetness as well, which differentiates it from soy sauce.
The Bottom Line
I hope you enjoyed reading this article on “what is hoisin sauce?” Make sure to experiment with this salty, sweet, and spicy sauce and add it in your noodles and stir-fries to enhance their flavor.
Since the sauce is not made with any animal products, vegans can easily add it to their recipes as well. Lastly, store hoisin sauce the right way to extend its shelf life.