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Old 07-23-2008, 11:27 PM   #1
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Chinese take out 'clear sauce'

I've got a very picky eater in the family. 5 year old, loves everything that's bad for her...carbs, fast food, any prepared food. She hates veggies, so we give her LOTS of fruit to try and even the diet out.

Her little sister (4 years old) is the exact opposite. Good with just about anything fresh and home made (as long as it's not too spicy)....even eats lots of veggies/salads/soups.

This combo always keeps me on my toes cooking for them (I'm a stay at home Dad/cook during the week, and an motorsport photographer on the weekend).

So...was just too tired to cook tonight.....and we did take out Chinese from the quickie place around the corner (we live in surburbia Dallas Fort Worth area).

One of the dishes was the typical 'Chicken n Broccoli' with steamed rice. Had the ever common bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, chicken pieces, broccoli, carrots, snow peas all mixed in a 'clear sauce'. I was able to talk the 5 year old into trying 'bamboo'. Curiosity got the best of her, and she tried it...and liked it. Wife and I encouraged her to try the other veggies.....and to our amazement, she ended up happily trying everything in the dish, and she kept asking for more 'veggies' (except the broccoli-that got the 5 year old gag reflex!).

So....I ask if she wants me to make it for her sometime, and she says excitedly 'YES'.

Well, the sauce is what's giving me a tough time finding a recipe for. I'm not the best at picking all the ingredients out in a finished dish (especially if it isn't 'Meat n Potatoes American', Tex Mex, Italian or Cajun). The sauce was 'very clear, lightly salty, with a very faint hint of being sweet'. Consistency was like a light clear syrup. If I was guessing, it'd be almost like a low salt gelled 'clear chicken broth'. We had another similar dish that also had a clear sauce, but it was thicker and more salty. Also wasn't as clear.

I'm wondering if anyone knows a recipe like this sauce to try with a chicken stir fry....

Apologize in advance for being wordy....it's a habit.

Thanks for any hints, recipes, links and/or advice!

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Old 07-24-2008, 12:03 AM   #2
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Low salt chicken stock thickened with corn starch and a pinch of sugar.
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:13 AM   #3
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That is exactly it, if you want variations to try, here is a link with some basic clear and white sauces, brown, and even spicy orange sauce on it:
Just One Thing: Basic Chinese Sauce Recipes Eat Close To Home
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:28 AM   #4
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sometimes Ill do the thickened chicken broth thing ( as above) with just a drop ( literally) of sesame oil, just do give it that hint of Asian flavor.
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:00 AM   #5
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I have been search for that secret myself. It is used to make chop suey as well. I have been trying to research the secret as well as cooking with different ingredients I get at my downtown asian market. Haven't got quite there yet. My husband just laughs when I try and the food goes in the garbage. I am a perfectionist, it is terrible actually. I'll give you a few hints that I have picked up along the way: use peanut oil on high heat when frying, it does give it a different flavor, oyster sauce is key, chinese rice wine gives it a distinct flavor, and also I have been advised that a little MSG kicks it up to that flavor you need. There are tons of recipes online. And like others have said, a little chicken stock added to your dish while cooking is great when thickened up at the end with a little cornstarch. Have fun!
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
sometimes Ill do the thickened chicken broth thing ( as above) with just a drop ( literally) of sesame oil, just do give it that hint of Asian flavor.
I thought you were a vegetarian?

Yes the chicken stock with cornstarch is the way to go. Sometimes MSG is added. Don't be afraid of the MSG. Most of what you have heard about about it is false. It certainly is not necessary to make the sauce though.
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:59 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. Had stumbled across the eatclosetohome.com website while searching for the sauce....but just thought there had to be more to it.

Simple is better!
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:20 AM   #8
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Those sauces sounds great. I'm going to go ahead and use MSG in the future. No matter what I make the sauces always seems to be lacking that special taste. Orange chicken, mmmmmmmmm.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:53 AM   #9
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dadthatcooks, here's my recipe for vegetable chop suey. The sauce is the type you're lookng for.

Vegetable Chop Suey

For the Sauce:
2 Tb Oyster Sauce
1 Tb Soy Sauce
1/2 Tb Dry Sherry

1/2 tsp Sugar
2 tsp Cornstarch
1/4 C Chicken Stock


For the Dish:
1/4 C Peanut Oil, divided

2 cl Garlic
1 Ea Onion, chopped
1 Ea Green Bell Pepper, chopped
8 Oz Mushrooms, sliced

5 Oz Water Chestnuts, canned
2 Oz Snow Pea Pods
1 Ea Carrot, sliced
7 Oz Broccoli Florets
4 Oz Bean Sprouts

Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Stir-fry the vegetables (except for the sprouts) in small batches. If you do one type of vegetable at a time, they will be more evenly cooked than if you stir fry batches of mixed vegetables.

When all the vegetables are stir fried, add them all back into the wok and make a well in the bottom of the wok.

Add the sauce and stir over high heat until it boils.

Add the sprouts, toss and serve.
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I thought you were a vegetarian?

Yes the chicken stock with cornstarch is the way to go. Sometimes MSG is added. Don't be afraid of the MSG. Most of what you have heard about about it is false. It certainly is not necessary to make the sauce though.
I was waiting for the " I thought you were a vegetarian" comment

I am, and I dont use chicken broth. I use " fake " chicken broth, which I guess would be considered vegetable broth that is suppose to taste like chicken broth, synthetic chicken broth, or, should I say it "Soy chicken broth"

Trying to keep my answer inline with the question, I just kept it simple and tried to avoid the whole "fake chicken" thing.

But, since it was brought up, I thought I'd clarify that I do not use chicken broth.
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