Chinese Duck Sauce Recipe

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Chinese Duck Sauce Recipe



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Chinese duck sauce, a sweet and tangy condiment, is a staple in Chinese-American cuisine. Its delightful blend of fruity and zesty flavors makes it an ideal companion for dishes like Peking duck, spring rolls, and fried wontons. This article will guide you through making your own authentic Chinese duck sauce at home.


To create this sauce, you will need:

1 cup apricot preserves or jam
1/2 cup finely chopped plums or plum sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped pineapple (fresh or canned)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup water (optional for consistency adjustment)


Preparation of Fruits: Begin by finely chopping the plums and pineapple. These fruits are the backbone of the sauce, providing a natural sweetness and tartness.

Mixing Ingredients: In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the apricot preserves, chopped plums, soy sauce, rice vinegar, pineapple, ground ginger, minced garlic, and Chinese five-spice powder. The soy sauce adds a savory umami flavor, while the rice vinegar introduces a mild acidity. The ginger, garlic, and five-spice powder contribute warmth and depth.

Cooking: Place the saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture well to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed. As the sauce heats up, add the brown sugar. The sugar not only sweetens the sauce but also helps in achieving a glossy texture.

Simmering and Adjusting Consistency: Allow the sauce to come to a gentle simmer. If you find the sauce too thick, add water to reach your desired consistency. Let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. During this time, the flavors will meld together, and the fruits will soften, infusing their flavors into the sauce.

Finishing Touches: Once the sauce has thickened to your liking, remove it from the heat. For a smoother sauce, you can blend it using an immersion blender or a regular blender. However, if you prefer a chunkier texture, leave it as is.

Cooling and Storing: Let the sauce cool to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer it to an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Serving Suggestions

Chinese duck sauce can be served as a dipping sauce with various appetizers like egg rolls, spring rolls, or dumplings. It’s also an excellent glaze for grilled meats and roasted dishes like Peking duck or barbecued pork.

Homemade Chinese duck sauce is a delightful addition to any Asian-themed meal. Its perfect balance of sweet, sour, and savory flavors complements a wide range of dishes. By making it at home, you can adjust the flavors to your liking and ensure a fresh, preservative-free condiment. Enjoy the process of creating this traditional sauce and the delicious results!

Variations and Tips

While the recipe provided is a classic version of Chinese duck sauce, you can easily customize it to suit your taste preferences or to accommodate what you have on hand. Here are some variations and tips:

Fruit Variations: The traditional recipe uses apricot and plum, but feel free to experiment with other fruits like peaches, mangoes, or even a touch of orange zest for a citrusy twist.

Spice Adjustments: If you enjoy a bit of heat, consider adding a small amount of finely chopped chili pepper or a dash of chili sauce. Conversely, if you prefer a milder sauce, you can reduce or omit the ginger and garlic.

Sweetness Control: Depending on the sweetness of your fruit and personal preference, adjust the amount of brown sugar. You can also experiment with honey or maple syrup for a different type of sweetness.

Consistency Tricks: If your sauce is too thin, a cornstarch slurry (a mixture of cornstarch and water) can be added while cooking to thicken it up. Conversely, if it’s too thick, simply dilute it with a bit of water or pineapple juice.

Storage and Preservation: For longer storage, you can freeze the sauce in an airtight container. It can last several months in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

Healthier Version

For those mindful of their sugar intake or following a healthier diet, you can make a few adjustments:

Use fresh fruits instead of preserves and reduce the added sugar.

Opt for a natural sweetener like honey or agave syrup.

Use low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the salt content.

Culinary Uses Beyond Chinese Cuisine

Don’t limit your homemade duck sauce to just Chinese dishes. Its sweet and tangy profile can enhance various other cuisines:

Barbecue: Use it as a glaze for barbecue ribs or chicken wings.

Sandwiches and Wraps: Add a spoonful to give an Asian twist to your sandwiches or wraps.

Salad Dressing: Mix with a bit of olive oil and vinegar to create a unique salad dressing.

Creating your own Chinese duck sauce is a simple and rewarding process. It allows for customization to your taste and can be healthier than store-bought versions. Whether you’re using it as a dip, glaze, or dressing, homemade duck sauce adds a special touch to your meals.

Enjoy the process of cooking and savor the delicious, vibrant flavors of your homemade sauce!

FAQ: Chinese Duck Sauce

Can I make Chinese duck sauce without apricot preserves?

Yes, you can. Although apricot preserves are commonly used, you can substitute them with other fruit preserves such as peach, mango, or even orange marmalade for a different flavor profile.

Is Chinese duck sauce vegan?

The basic recipe for Chinese duck sauce is vegan, as it primarily contains fruits, spices, and soy sauce. However, always check the labels of store-bought ingredients for any hidden animal products if you’re strictly vegan.

How long can homemade Chinese duck sauce last in the fridge?

Homemade Chinese duck sauce can typically last up to two weeks in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. For longer storage, you can freeze it.

Can I use Chinese duck sauce as a marinade?

Absolutely! Chinese duck sauce works great as a marinade for meats like chicken, pork, or even tofu, giving them a sweet and tangy flavor.

Is there a low-sugar version of this sauce for diabetics?

Yes, you can make a low-sugar version by using fresh fruits instead of preserves and reducing or substituting the brown sugar with a sugar alternative like stevia or a sugar-free syrup.

How can I thicken my duck sauce if it’s too runny?

If your sauce is too thin, you can thicken it by simmering it longer to reduce, or by adding a cornstarch slurry (mix a small amount of cornstarch with water, then stir into the sauce and heat until thickened).

Can I make this sauce spicy?

Definitely. Add a bit of finely chopped chili peppers, chili flakes, or a dash of your favorite hot sauce to introduce a spicy kick to your duck sauce.

What’s the difference between Chinese duck sauce and plum sauce?

While they are similar, Chinese duck sauce typically has a sweeter, more fruity flavor with a variety of fruits like apricots and pineapples, while plum sauce, as the name suggests, is predominantly made from plums and tends to have a more tart flavor.

Can I can this sauce for longer shelf life?

Yes, you can use traditional canning methods to preserve the sauce for a longer shelf life. Ensure you follow proper canning guidelines to avoid any food safety issues.

Is this sauce suitable for people with gluten allergies?

To make this sauce gluten-free, ensure that you use a gluten-free soy sauce. The other ingredients are naturally gluten-free, but always check labels to be certain.

These FAQs should help address common questions and concerns regarding the preparation, usage, and storage of homemade Chinese duck sauce, allowing you to enjoy this versatile condiment with confidence and creativity in your cooking!


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