So, you’re thinking about trying hoisin sauce. But what is it, exactly? And what does it taste like? Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know about this delicious Chinese condiment, including what it is, what it tastes like, what it goes well with, and how to make homemade hoisin sauce!
What Is Hoisin Sauce? What Is Hoisin Sauce Made Of?
Hoisin sauce is a thick, dark brown sauce made from soybeans, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and spices. It is commonly used as a dip for Chinese dishes such as Peking duck and steamed pork buns. Hoisin sauce can also be used as a stir-fry sauce or marinade.
Hoisin sauce is often referred to as “Chinese barbecue sauce” due to its sweet and savory flavor. The sweetness of hoisin sauce comes from the sugar added to the mix, while the savory flavors come from soybeans and vinegar. Hoisin sauce is also slightly spicy, thanks to the addition of chili peppers.
Is hoisin sauce the same as soy sauce? No, hoisin sauce is not the same as soy sauce. Soy sauce is a thin, dark brown sauce made from fermented soybeans, wheat, fermenting agent, and salt. Hoisin sauce is a thick, dark brown sauce made from soybeans, vinegar, chiles, sugar, garlic, and spices. While both sauces are made from soybeans, they have different flavor profiles. Soy sauce is salty and savory, while hoisin sauce is sweet and savory with a kick of spice.
Hoisin Sauce Origin
Hoisin sauce origin is unknown other than that it originates from China. Some sources say that hoisin sauce is thought to have originated in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). The sauce was made from a fermented mixture of soybeans, wheat, and spices. This original version of hoisin sauce was used as a marinade or dip for meats and vegetables. However, the exact date when hoisin sauce was invented is unknown.
What Does Hoisin Sauce Taste Like?
If you’re wondering what hoisin sauce tastes like, imagine a sweet and savory barbecue sauce with a kick of spice. Hoisin sauce has a rich sweet, and salty flavor with spicy, hot, and tangy notes from chili peppers and acidic notes from vinegar. Hoisin sauce is thick and smooth and has pronounced umami notes.
In terms of taste, hoisin sauce is most often compared with barbeque sauce but less sweet. Since hoisin sauce is made with soybeans, it has a rich, savory umami flavor.
Hoisin sauce is very salty and, according to USDA, contains a whopping 258 mg of sodium (10% DV) just per 1 tablespoon, which is 16 grams! If you are a fan of hoisin sauce, it will not be long before you exceed your daily sodium requirement, so you have to be very careful when eating this sauce.
So, we have established that hoisin sauce is very, very salty. But what about other flavors? Is hoisin sauce spicy or sweet? Hoisin sauce confuses your tastebuds as it combines sweet and spicy notes that complement each other. Some hoisin sauce brands are spicier than others, depending on how much chili and sugar was added.
We recommend making hoisin sauce at home as you can control the ingredients and avoid adding preservatives, stabilizers, coloring agents, and other nasties. Later in this article, we will show you the best homemade hoisin sauce recipe that will take 15 minutes to make.
Hoisin Sauce vs. Soy Sauce Does hoisin sauce taste like soy sauce?
Hoisin sauce does not taste like soy sauce. Soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans and has a salty flavor, while hoisin sauce is made with soybeans, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and spices and has a sweet-savory flavor with moderate spicy notes. Hoisin sauce is also much thicker than soy sauce.
Hoisin sauce is often confused with soy sauce because of its color. Even though the two sauces are made with soybeans, they have a rather different taste profile. Since hoisin contains chili peppers and five spices, it has a strong spicy profile and rich, acidic notes from the vinegar. Hoisin flavor profile can be compared to barbeque sauce – they are similarly sweet and tangy, but hoisin sauce is much spicier.
The Bottom Line – Why Is Hoisin Sauce So Good?
As anyone who has ever tasted it knows, hoisin sauce is delicious. But what makes this dark, reddish-brown sauce so special?
For starters, hoisin sauce is packed with flavor. It is made from various ingredients, including soybeans, garlic, chilies, and vinegar. This unique combination of flavors gives hoisin sauce its signature taste that is both sweet and savory. In addition to its great taste, hoisin sauce is also very versatile. It can be used as a marinade, dipping sauce, or ingredient in stir-fries and other Asian dishes. This versatility makes it a favorite of home cooks and professional chefs alike.
So if you’re looking for a delicious and versatile sauce to add to your kitchen repertoire, look no further than hoisin sauce. With its perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors, it will become a favorite in your household.
Cooking With Hoisin Sauce – What Does Hoisin Sauce Go With?
Hoisin sauce is so popular because it has a unique sweet, savory, and spicy flavor that can enhance many dishes. It is often used as a dipping sauce for meats (traditionally Peking duck) or as a marinade. Hoisin sauce can also be used as a condiment for pork, duck, chicken dishes, stir-fries, and noodles.
Hoisin sauce has a unique flavor that cannot be compared with any other sauce, but, surprisingly, it goes well with many dishes, namely:
- Thai stir-fry
- Chicken winds in hoisin sauce
- Pork ribs in hoisin sauce
- Chicken or turkey breasts glazed in hoisin sauce
- Marinade for meat and fish
- Dipping sauce for spring rolls, French fries, or chicken wings
- Crab in garlic and hoisin sauce
- Chicken and shiitake mushrooms with hoisin sauce
- Glazed carrots
- Glazed broccoli or cauliflower
- Noodles and tofu with hoisin sauce
- Pancakes with hoisin sauce
- Asian meatballs with hoisin sauce
- String beans with garlic and hoisin sauce
- Beef and broccoli bowl with hoisin sauce
- Salad dressing
Easy Homemade Hoisin Sauce Recipe
Homemade hoisin sauce is so much better than store-bought! Check out our simple recipe that will make you want more.
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons of rice vinegar
- 4 teaspoons of sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons of hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons of miso paste
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper or five-spice powder
- 2 grated cloves of garlic
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir well until the mixture becomes smooth
- Cover with a lid and place in the fridge for 2-4 hours before serving
- Serve cold!
That’s it! You can store your homemade hoisin sauce in a jar in the fridge for up to two weeks. So next time you’re craving Chinese food, ditch the takeout and whip up a batch of hoisin sauce to give your meal that authentic flavor.
Storing Hoisin Sauce
Unopened hoisin sauce should be stored in a dark, cool, and well-ventilated place in a kitchen cupboard, and it does not require refrigeration. Opened hoisin sauce, on the other hand, should be refrigerated for up to 6 months due to the high salt content that prevents mold and bacteria.
Unopened hoisin sauce lasts for up to 18 months, but it is best to check the “best by” date. Opened hoisin sauce should be stored in the fridge for up to 2 months. However, since hoisin sauce is high in sodium, it can last past its “best by” date. If you notice discoloration, strange odor, or mold, hoisin sauce has gone bad and needs to be thrown away.
Hoisin sauce is a dark, thick sauce that originates from China. It is made from various ingredients, including soybeans, garlic, sugar, and various spices. Hoisin sauce is so popular because it has a unique sweet, savory, and spicy flavor that can enhance many dishes. It is often used as a dipping sauce for meats (traditionally Peking duck) or as a marinade. Hoisin sauce can also be used as a condiment for pork, duck, chicken dishes, stir-fries, and noodles.
Hoisin sauce is an essential ingredient in many Asian dishes. And while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, those who enjoy it are sure to appreciate its unique and flavorful taste.
Hoisin Sauce FAQ
Is hoisin sauce vegan?
Since hoisin sauce is made of fermented soybean paste, garlic, chiles, vinegar, sesame oil, molasses, rice vinegar, and sometimes peanut butter, it is 100% vegan-friendly. Hoisin sauce does not contain animal by-products, so it can be consumed safely by vegans and vegetarians.
Is hoisin sauce spicy?
As hoisin sauce contains chili peppers, it is quite spicy but not ‘burning your mouth’ spicy. In addition to being moderately spicy, hoisin sauce is also sweet, earthy, and acidic.
What do you eat with hoisin sauce?
Hoisin goes well with many dishes, including: