If you’ve ever dug into an Asian dish and thought, “Wow, what was that?”, chances are you have hoisin sauce to thank. Whether you’re a hoisin master or just getting introduced, we’re sure you’ll pick up a fun fact or new favorite recipe below.
Although the name translates to “seafood,” hoisin sauce isn’t made with fish at all. Instead, it’s a fragrant blend of fermented soybean paste, chili peppers, garlic, and other basic ingredients. In fact, the sauce is naturally vegan, and thus makes an appearance in many plant-based Asian recipes.
Hoisin sauce has Cantonese roots, likely originating from somewhere in Southern China. Hailed as “Chinese ketchup” or “Chinese barbecue sauce,” its ubiquity is well-documented! Some of the most famous hoisin sauce appearances are with char siu, a roast pork dish, as well as in hot pot spreads.
And hoisin sauce has spread to other cultures, too, resulting in regional variations everywhere from Vietnam (where it’s popularly used in pho) to the US (where it’s served as a dipping sauce alongside American Chinese cuisine).
Tangy, spicy, salty, pungent, umami…it’s hard to pin down the flavor of this thick, dark sauce. It tends to start sweet and end on a more savory note, but can adapt to other ingredients that it’s paired with.
Some home cooks prefer to dilute hoisin sauce with water or oil to soften its strong pop on the palate, while others embrace the flavors head-on.
Hoisin sauce can be used as a glaze, marinade, dip, condiment, or ingredient within other dishes–so creativity is encouraged. Check out a few of our favorite recipes that feature this fabulous ingredient!
Who knew something so simple could be so delicious? Bring new life to leftover green beans with the help of an effortless sweet + savory glaze made from soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and Lee Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce. Ready in 4 easy steps and under 15 minutes!
This quick and easy, 30-minute dinner dish may come together effortlessly, but the finished product feels like restaurant quality. Tender salmon fillets are brushed with a delightfully nuanced glaze full of hoisin sauce, ginger, honey, and lime juice, then laid atop a fluffy bed of rice.
Hosting a dinner party? This stunning centerpiece draws on citrus, fresh herbs, and an unforgettable hoisin sauce coating to leave everyone wanting seconds. Slow-cooked and quadruple-glazed, the roasted chicken practically melts in your mouth after an hour in the oven.
Treat your succulent sliced ham to a decadent, caramelized coating with this bold, Asian-inspired marinade. Lee Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce is mixed with brown sugar, Shaoxing cooking wine, Chinese five spice powder, fresh ginger, and more to make the sweet, spicy, and all-around indulgent glaze.
The flavors of fall get a serious upgrade when hoisin sauce is added to the mix. Traditional pumpkin soup + a sweet and savory twist = the most satisfying comfort dish for those chilly autumn evenings. Plus, a garnish of burrata, pepitas, and fresh sage leaves is oh-so-stunning.
Even the best spring rolls are nothing without a dipping sauce. Luckily, this satisfying stuff is just the ticket–utilizing only 6 simple ingredients and 5 minutes of prep time. Enjoy the sweet and savory blend of PB and hoisin sauce, plus a crunch of peanuts to top it off.
Keeping the rest of the seasoning simple, our beloved hoisin sauce becomes the star of the show in this dish. As for the meat, a quick sear and a slow roast let the ingredients soak in until the steak is rich, tender, and full of flavor in every bite.
We aren’t simply slapping hoisin sauce on a bun here. Instead, the patty is grilled with a hoisin glaze, creating a fabulous flavor infusion that takes your typical hamburger to a whole new level.
Hoisin sauce truly is the jack of all trades. Here, we take a walk on the sweeter side of life, where chocolate truffles take on a new, slightly savory dimension. These bite-sized treats can be made in advance and snacked on throughout the week.
Coming together in under 20 minutes, these Hoisin Grilled Lamb Chops make any weeknight dinner feel a little more upscale. The hoisin sauce + garlic coating is complemented by light, herby springs of fresh rosemary to make a decadent yet balanced dish.