What is Hoisin Sauce?
Hoisin sauce, also called Peking sauce is a a semi-thick, dark brown sauce and condiment. The primary ingredient is soy sauce, with the addition of peanut butter, rice vinegar, oil and additional flavorings. The taste is sweet and tart with an umami richness from the peanut butter. Hoisin sauce is used as a dipping sauce in Chinese cuisines.
What does Hoisin Sauce Taste Like?
...Sweet is one of the five main tastes. It has smooth and round notes in its flavor profile. Sweet is a naturally occurring flavor in many foods, including fruits, berries, winter squashes, sugarcane, and honey. The sweet taste in these foods is due to a higher sugar content. Sweetness is characteristic of desserts and is used as an accent in savory foods.
...Sour is one of the five main tastes. It is tart and bright, sometimes with a mouth-puckering quality. Sour is a naturally occurring flavor found in many foods, including citrus, vinegar, various dairy products, and certain fruits. Sour is used to enhance a dish or drink and is used as both a main and complimentary flavor.
...Umami is one of five main tastes. It is savory with a depth of flavor. Umami is a taste in many foods, including meat, seafood, beans, and nuts. It is both naturally occurring and created through the specific use of ingredients to create a satisfying taste. Umami is characteristic of proteins and savory dishes.
...Soy sauce is a liquid condiment and seasoning made from fermented soybeans. Traditionally it was been made with just soy, many versions and brands use wheat as well. Soy sauce is dark brown with a thin viscosity. The flavor is intensely salty and umami. Soy sauce is used to season meats, seafood and vegetables, it is also used in sauces to perk up the flavor of the food and enhance other tastes.
...Peanut butter is an immensely popular nut butter in America. It is made by grinding peanuts until they form a smooth and creamy spread. This spread is full of oil from the peanuts and has a light brown color. Often peanuts are dry roasted, prior to grinding. Additives such as salt may be included. Peanut butter comes salted, unsalted, smooth and chunky. The chunky variety has tiny chunks of peanut throughout the smooth spread. The flavor is nutty in an unusual way and has a hint of sweetness.
...Brown sugar comes from the sugar cane or sugar beet. It is less refined than white sugar, but a refined sugar nonetheless. Brown sugar varies in color from light brown to dark brown. Light brown sugar has a milder flavor and lower moisture content, than stronger tasting brown sugar. The taste is mildly like molasses and very sweet. The sugar comes in fine granules that clump together. Brown sugar is used in baked goods for its sweet flavor and ability to make cookies soft. It is also used in many savory dishes to balance flavors.
...Rice wine vinegar, also called mirin is made from fermented glutinous rice and yeast. Both of these ingredients turn the sugars in the rice to alcohol. Rice wine vinegar is a condiment used in East Asian cuisine. It is clear with a yellowy hue and a thin viscosity. This sweet rice wine is used as a seasoning in grains, meats and vegetables. The flavor is sweet and a little bit vinegary with a hint of alcohol.
...Canola oil is a popular and readily available oil in America, due to its inexpensive price and neutral flavor. Canola oil comes from the rapeseed plant, the oil is pressed from the seeds and has a yellow color. It is a thin oil that is best for medium high heat, such as sautéing, though is commonly used for deep frying. Canola can be found in baked good, salad dressings, and a vast variety of food products.
...Hot sauce is a thin spicy condiment made from hot peppers. The heat level can be mild or scorching, depending on the types of peppers used. The color is often orange or red, some are green. The texture is slightly thick, but pours easily. The flavor can be hot and vinegary, or hot and smoky, among many other variations. The one characteristic that unifies all hot sauces, is that each one has some level of heat. It is used to add a spicy hotness to everything from tacos to fried rice. Hot sauce is typically paired with Latin and American dishes, but is an applicable condiment for many cuisines.
...Garlic is used in cuisines around the world and is extremely popular for its depth of flavor. The garlic bulb forms underneath the soil and is harvested once it reaches maturity. The bulb typically has thin, dry, white and flaky skin, surrounding the individual cloves. Often there are 10-12 cloves to a bulb/head of garlic. The cloves are cream colored with a strong smell and flavor that is spicy and sharp. Garlic takes on a nutty flavor in addition, when cooked. It is used in countless dishes, sauces, breads and more.
...The peppercorn plant grows in tropical climate and produces tiny black fruit. The fruit is dried and become hard. At this point it is ground into a textured powder comprised of black and grey dots. It has a flavor that is spicy, pungent and sharp. Pepper is an extremely popular spice, especially in Western cuisines and lends a gentle heat to dishes. There are different varieties of black pepper and the flavor changes subtly because of this.