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Feb 14, 2011 03:23 PM

help replicating mild szechuan sauce

We enjoyed a really lovely stir-fry last night--broccoli, tofu and shiitake covered in a mild szechuan sauce (at Park and Orchard in South Rutherford, NJ, if anyone is familiar). And I'm hankering to replicate. I've got it all covered...minus the sauce. I could taste the ginger..beyond that, I'm clueless. Please help! Thanks so much in advance :-)

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  1. bumping this up just in case it got lost in the shuffle...TIA!

    14 Replies
    1. re: noya

      You need to give some more detail about the sauce if you want people to try to identify it.
      It would also help to know what kind of Chinese restaurant they claim to be.

      1. re: chefj was a brown savory sauce that tasted strongly of ginger. nothing sweet about it. it was relatively thin. does that help? thanks!!!

        1. re: noya

          If there was no hint of any reddish color, it's safe to assume a chili garlic paste/sauce was not used. Did the sauce adhere to the vegetables, or did it pool more onto the plate?

          1. re: fourunder

            It adhered completely--no pooling whatsoever. BTW--love this line of questioning!

        2. re: chefj

          would also help to know what kind of Chinese restaurant they claim to be.

          They do not claim to be a Chinese restaurant.....but here is a description by a member on another thread ...

          * I'm just not a fan of Korean/Chinese/Pan-Asian/Italian/Polish/French/Mexican restaurants in general. *

          It's been a popular restaurant for many years.

          1. re: fourunder

            It appears noya had the mild version of the sauce, without much heat. But one can see red sauce on some of these dishes!


            1. re: scoopG

              With due respect to noya......Caucasians cooking Chinese badly. :)

            2. re: fourunder

              For us the appeal is that the food is clean and appears to be healthy. That said, it is not particularly pure in terms of countries of origin.

              1. re: noya

                My knowledge of Chinese cooking, and based on your details, leads me to suspect the sauce is made with the following ingredients, or a combination of part of a master recipe sauce

                Vegetable Oil
                Minced Garlic
                Minced Ginger
                Possibly some stock (Chicken or Vegetable)
                Soy Sauce
                Fish Sauce
                Oyster Sauce
                Light Corn Starch Slurry

                Ground White Pepper for mild heat....or Chilis, Ginger and Scallions in Soy Sauce in place of above.

                For the record, I am very familiar with Park and Orchard, as I have frequented them many times in the past. If you like this style of cooking, do you remember Jane Dooner's in Englewood. I can't say for sure, but I and many of my friends in the restaurant business, have always thought P & O got the idea for their restaurant menu from them.

                1. re: fourunder

                  Wow! Wow.
                  Thank you so much--this looks wonderful. Can't tell you how much I appreciate it!

                  Interesting thought. Could be! Whatever the inspiration, we certainly appreciate their homey/healthy style. Especially because it seems (relatively) easy to replicate, which then inspires us :-)

                  1. re: noya


                    Although you describe the sauce as * nothing sweet about it *, it is fairly common in Chinese cooking to include a measure of sugar appropriate to the dish, hoisin sauce for brown color sauces or Dark Soy Sauce, which is made with molasses. The inclusion of any or all combined would aid in the prepared sauce adhering to your vegetables or proteins.

                  2. re: fourunder

                    Jane Dooner's was owned by my Grandparents. I was just searching the internet to see if anything came up and it led me to this post! They had the best menu and the best food. I've never found anything that comes close since. I have a few of his recipes. Wish I had more! He passed away in 2012. Miss his cooking so much!!! Been to Park and Orchard, good but not the same! (But I may be a bit biased) Just felt like sharing!!

                  3. re: noya

                    I used to go to P & O regularly in the early days, but stopped about 5-6 years ago. My favorite dish there is/was *Le Ruth's* Crawfish Pasta in cream sauce. The last two times the dish was awful. Both miscues, the sauce had separated and the crawfish were small, dry and tough.....leaving me to suspect bot times I had received leftover portions......

                    I apologize for poking fun of their Stir-Frys.....never had em there and just having fun with someone who is knowledgeable with Chinese food.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      no apology necessary! my personal belief about non-American food is that it can be tasty both in its purest preparation, and also when it diverges from such. it can also be prepared badly either way. P&O would never pass as authentic anything--but it is clean and wholesome food...and the crawfish aside, tasty as well.

            3. Noya, they may have been using this: Lan Chi Chili Paste with Garlic

              Available in most any Chinatown grocery. Made in Taiwan.

              1. why don't you just go over to the restaurant and ask them what they used?

                4 Replies
                1. re: gala

                  Many times when I ask, restaurants are hesitant to provide exact ingredients...

                  1. re: noya

                    Yeah, unless you are friendly with the chef or a cook, the odds of getting any decent info regarding a recipe is slim to none. Owners won't know, servers certainly won't know, and if they go to the kitchen to ask they're going to get sent away with some very vague info.

                    1. re: tommy

                      I have found if you ask politely and show interest especially in a foreign restaurant at a time when the kitchen isn't busy, everyone has always been very glad to tell me the details. Especially if i ask what this special ingredient might be.
                      Generally the chef seems to be flattered that someone cares enough to ask and like sthe idea that customers are appreciative. It's not like you're asking Nobu how he makes black cod or anything

                      1. re: tommy

                        At one of the restaurants I opened in the past.....during the interview process, there was a former owner of a BBQ restaurant that applied for the job of Head Chef. For the restaurant I was opening, Both Canadian Baby Back and St Louis Style Ribs were to be featured on the menu. The very first thing The applicant said to me was he had many recipes for BBQ sauce. When I asked him to share, he said he could not as they were his secret that he would take to his grave. I politely thanked him for stopping by. with a confused look, he asked....*this interview is over?*. I nodded in the affirmative. he asked why. I replied, if he thought I would put anything on the menu without complete knowledge of all recipes, he was mistaken. Since he didn't want to share...I didn't want to hire.