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Barbecue Secrets

Recipes of the Week: Asian BBQ Sauce and Slaw

May 22, 2015

Asian Barbecue Sauce

Makes about 21/2 cups | 625 mL

The cumin seeds in this sauce give its flavor a twist and an interesting texture. Leave them out if you want a slightly sweeter, smooth sauce. This is great as a marinade and a basting sauce for ribs and steaks but is also good with chicken and firm-fleshed fish. Be careful—its strong flavors can overwhelm what you’re cooking. If you’re going to use it as a marinade, marinate meat for a maximum of 4 hours and chicken or fish no more than an hour.

1 12-oz | 355 mL bottle hoisin sauce

1/2 cup | 125 mL light soy sauce

2 Tbsp | 25 mL sherry vinegar

4 Tbsp | 45 mL orange juice

1/2 cup | 125 mL plum sauce

1/2 Tbsp | 7 mL five-spice powder

2 Tbsp | 25 mL toasted sesame oil

2 Tbsp | 25 mL oyster sauce

6 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 shallots, finely minced

2 Tbsp | 25 mL finely minced fresh ginger

2 Tbsp | 25 mL honey

1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely chopped chives or green onion

1 tsp | 5 mL whole toasted cumin seeds


Mix all the ingredients together in a nonreactive bowl. Use the sauce soon after making it; it won’t keep more than a few days in the refrigerator.


Asian Slaw 

Makes 4–6 servings 

Asian-flavored meat demands an Asian-inspired slaw, and the peanuts add a nice crunch.

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp | 25 mL soy sauce

2 Tbsp | 25 mL rice vinegar

1 tsp | 5 mL toasted sesame oil

11/2 tsp | 7 mL finely minced ginger

1 tsp | 5 mL Vietnamese chili sauce

1/4 cup | 50 mL creamy peanut butter

1 tsp | 5 mL sugar

1–2 tsp  | 5–10 mL water (if needed)


For the salad:

2 cups | 500 mL savoy or napa cabbage,

grated or shredded into fine slices

1 cup | 250 mL purple cabbage,

grated or shredded into fine slices

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1 green onion, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, julienned

2 Tbsp | 25 mL fresh chopped cilantro

1/4 cup | 50 mL fresh bean sprouts

1/4 cup | 50 mL dry-roasted peanuts,

coarsely chopped, for garnish

Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk them together, adding water a little at a time until the mixture is a smooth, fairly thick liquid. Toss it with the vegetables and serve the slaw immediately, garnished with the chopped peanuts.


A Toast to Spices and Nuts!

In India, the first step in almost every home-cooked dish is to toast some spices in a hot pan. The heat refreshes the spices, bringing to life the natural oils that carry their flavor. This technique works especially well with robust whole spices like cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds. All you have to do is preheat a dry sauté pan on a medium setting and toss in a handful of seeds. Shake the pan constantly, watching carefully. After about a minute, when the spices start to brown a little and give off a strong aroma, empty the pan into a cool bowl or plate to stop the toasting before they burn. In a few minutes the seeds will be ready to go into a spice mill, mortar, or coffee grinder. The difference between raw and toasted spices is like night and day.


This technique also works fabulously to toast pecans or other nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts. Toast up a handful of nuts and sprinkle some on a salad for sharp, crunchy bursts of nutty flavor!