Thursday 25 October 2012

Sauce of Wonder

I have spent quite a bit of brain and kitchen power trying to come up with a decent Asian style sauce. One that could be drizzled onto phô or could be added to a stir fry and actually stick to the noodles. A sauce that stood up against a hoisin or oyster sauce. Thick and rich, not too sweet and not too salty.

I've finally done it.

I wanted to call it "Sauce of Wonder", but thought that was a buit pretentious so I enlisted my husband's help to name it. He suggested translating it to Vietnamese - nước sốt kỳ diệu. Not really a name that will come easily to most, and not really easy to search for. I translated it back to English and it is "Magic Sauce". I kind of like that. It has a nicer ring to it that "Hoisin Substitute". Plus it has been a while since I've had hoisin and this may be nothing like it.

Magic Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Golden syrup
  • 1/4 cup gin
  • 1/4 cup syrup reserved from tinned pears
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp carob syrup **
  • 1 tsp tapioca starch
  1. In a small saucepan place all ingredients except one teaspoon of the carob syrup and the tapioca starch. Gently bring to the boil giving an occasional stir.
  2. Simmer until the bubbling starts to look frothy, take off heat and add combined carob syrup and tapioca. Stir through and place back onto heat. 
  3. Bring the mixture back to the boil. When it looks frothy again it is done.
  4. Let cool (don't be tempted to taste it before it has cooled a lot as it will be incredibly hot) and store in a sealed container in the fridge.
  5. Add to phô or stir-fry. Or use as a BBQ marinade for meat.

** If you don't have carob syrup then you could substitute something else. I haven't tried, but I think that half a teaspoon of carob powder mixed with two teaspoons of boiling water would have a similar result or the same amount of instant decaf coffee might too.


  1. W.O.W what a great recipe! I am bursting to try it :D I saw on the carob syrup page that carob syrup is to replace maple syrup - what are your thoughts on using maple syrup in this recipe? and tapioca starch.. is that tapioca as in the little white beads? I've never bought tapioca starch beofore....

    1. Hi Kimmy :) I just had a taste of the carob syrup straight and it really isn't as sweet as maple, it is sweet, but it has a slight bitterness to it. Not sure I can quite describe it. I really think a bit of decaf would do the same job. It just balances the flavours a little.
      The tapioca starch is the flour form of those beads. If you don't have that cornstarch/cornflour would do the same thing :)

  2. Thanks Kimmy. You asked everything I wanted to. Coffee and corn flour it is! LOL

  3. YVW Pates 77 :D

    I made the 'Sauce of Wonder' tonight and it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe Trishy, you are a super star!!

  4. Trish, this sauce is amazing. I've now used it to make a sauce for Okonomiyaki, as a dipping sauce and in potato salad. I used cornflour and made the carob syrup (1 part carob powder to 2 parts water) and it was delicious. Well done!

  5. I'm looking forward to trying this soon (my son is only recently on the Failsafe diet and I love to cook asian food!).

    Do you put the gin in, even if serving to kids, or substitute it with something else? I suppose most of the alcoholic content would burn off...

  6. By the way, I found your blog while googling for failsafe recipes. So many yummy looking dishes! Feeling very inspired. You're very creative.

    1. Yes, I do use it for the kids too. A lot of the alcohol would cook off, and then they would only be eating a small amount of the sauce anyway.
      Thanks for the nice comments, I'm glad you found me :D

  7. How long can you keep this sauce for ? Can it be frozen ? Thank you

  8. If also like to know how long it keeps and if it can be frozen please

    1. Honestly, it's been a long time since I have made it. But between the sugar and the alcohol I'd say it would keep for ages. It would freeze ok too. It's worth making a decent amount at once if you think you'll use it.

  9. Thankyou so somso I'm day 5 into rpah elimination and missing sauces more than anything. I have probably used arrowroot (same as tapioca starch) in nearly every meal to get that 'sauce' mouth feel. As a suggestion for others tapioca/arrowroot goes great in pear crumble/pie or meat pies to give that sticky sauce feeling. Really appreciate you taking the time to share this!!