dim sum dipping sauce
- jen kalb
I would like to make the rich soy-based sweet dipping sauce that is used with flat rice noodle dim sum (shrimp or beef usually). I have experimented with adding sugar, hoisin, sesame oil etc. to soy sauce (dark or light) but I have never got it right. Any suggestions?
I look forward to reading other people's ideas. I think mirin might be the sweetener used in that sauce. I think it is too thin for corn syrup, and too complex for sugar. I also think the soy sauce is less a base for the sauce as a flavoring and coloring. I also dont think there is any sesame oil in it.
At Kam Kuo, on Mott st, where I do virtually all of my east Asian pantry shopping, there are a number of sweeteners that I've tried. I always forget their names and usually try to remember the jars, but mirin and the one in a similar bottle next to it on the shelves are great as sweeteners. They can also be bases for sweet sauces that other things, such as ponzu or watered down soy sauce might be added.
If you're talking about chiung fun (that's my poor Romanization of the Cantonese name)--the steamed, white rice noodle "jelly roll" stuffed with pork, beef, or shrimp--the sauce poured over is generally pretty austere. The one I'm familiar with is simply black soy sauce and neutral oil, boiled together. Black soy sauce has molasses in it, which gives the soy sauce a slightly sweet and viscous quality.
As you might guess, some restaurants might find austere boring, so they may change the recipe slightly to set them apart from others. So, if you've tasted the likes of sesame or hoisin, you may be right.
Anyway, look for black soy sauce; all well-stocked Asian markets should have at least one brand (I use Koon Chun). Check out the ingredient list; molasses or other sweetner ought to be listed.
re: Daniel C
Give that man a cigar!! We've found that most rare of beings - a dim sum cart girl who speaks English!!
She confirms that it's black soy. Apparently some restaurants don't even take the time to boil the oil with it - just stick the black soy in one of those little pitchers with the long, silver sprout and pour away.