Try this homemade hoisin sauce once and you will never want to use a store bought one again. This is a flexible recipe that you can customize based on the ingredients you have on hand.
Why would you ever want to make hoisin sauce at home when you can easily get it from an online store or any Asian market? The answer is that it tastes a hundred times better. The end.
Hoisin sauce is very popular in southern Chinese cooking. As a northerner myself, I seldom use it. If I need to enhance the flavor of a dish with a sauce shortcut (like in this recipe), I’ll use oyster sauce most of the time. However, hoisin sauce does play an important part in making marinades and glazes, such as that for Chinese BBQ.
It never occurred to me that someone might want to make hoisin sauce at home, until a reader mentioned to me that it could be pretty expensive to purchase, depending on where you are. Plus, it doesn’t make sense to buy a big bottle of it when you just need a tablespoon for a special recipe.
When I tried to make a small batch of hoisin sauce last week, I was even more convinced of how great an idea it was. The homemade version uses better quality ingredients, such as honey, natural peanut butter, and fresh garlic. It has a superior flavor compared to the bottled one. I wouldn’t say the homemade version tastes 100% identical to a supermarket-bought hoisin sauce, but it adds a great subtle flavor to the dishes I used it in and I was very satisfied with the taste.
After some research, I found that the only problem with making this sauce is that you need to use another sauce as an ingredient. Most of the recipes online call for hot sauce, sriracha, or miso. Its sounds strange. But the problem is that real hoisin sauce gets its flavor from fermented beans, and it’s quite difficult to create this subtle hint from most of the basic spices found in the average pantry.
In the end, I decided to use the hoisin sauce recipe from Food.com as a base. I divided the base into four parts and experimented with miso, doubanjiang (Chinese spicy fermented bean paste), Thai chili sauce, and gochujang (Korean spicy fermented chili paste) to complete the various trials. In the end, miso paste and doubanjiang created the taste most similar to hoisin sauce. However, all of them yielded satisfying results.
In this recipe, I listed all four options. Depending on what do you have in your pantry, you can easily make a great tasting hoisin sauce in 5 minutes!
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- 1/4 cup light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon miso paste (OR 1/2 teaspoon spicy fermented bean paste, OR 1/2 teaspoon gochujang + 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder, OR 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce + 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder)
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
- Store hoisin sauce in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to a month.
The nutrition facts are calculated based on 1 tablespoon of the sauce generated by this recipe.