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Asian-ish food fortnight – Dipping Sauces, and many ways to eat a Pork Roast

So it all started when I was hosting a bridge night at my house, and I thought that a nice low-work thing to serve would be various frozen dumplings steamed and fried. Turns out – this was an amazing plan!

And I made several dipping sauces to go with:

From The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook by Gloria Bley Miller

Mustard Dressing (p.717)

1 Tablespoon powdered chinese mustard
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
a few drops of sesame oil

1. combine in a jar, cap tightly, and shake well to blend
2. refrigerate 3-4 hours to develop the flavor.

**verdict: nasty! Despite vigorous shaking, the mustard rose to the top and the whole thing tasted mostly of vinegar. This one got one taste and then wasn’t served that night.**

From Real Thai by Nancie McDermott

Nahm Jeem Gratiem
Sweet-Hot Garlic Sauce

official proportions:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 Tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon chili-garlic sauce (tuong or toi sauce) or coarsely ground dried red chili

how I made it –
Brought to a boil:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

And then added:

  • 2 Tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 2 generous pinches of salt

Once it hit a rolling boil, reduced the heat and simmered until it thickened to a thin syrup (longer than the 20 minutes the recipe called for, but I didn’t make it too thick because it still had too cool and be dip-able).

Then I poured it into a jar already containing:

  • and the tail end of a bottle of sambal olek (I guessed there was about 2 teaspoons there, but I could have been off)

And stirred. Then I tasted it and said, “Oh, god that’s good, but hella spicy!”

So I mixed up another batch of syrup:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 2 generous pinches of salt

and added that to the jar and stirred.

**Verdict: This sauce is amazingly tasty! It was also amazingly hot served the day I made it. Oddly, two days later, when I went to steam up some leftover dumplings, it no longer seemed so hot. So either the sauce mellows, or I just like spicy food and don’t have to notice how odd that is when no one is looking… la la la! Still, even the people who didn’t like spicy agreed that it was an awesome sauce**

From Classic Chinese Cuisine by Nina Simonds

Dumpling Dipping Sauce II (p.112)

1/2 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
1 Tablespoon chili oil
(plus a pinch of sugar)

**Verdict: I thought it tasted amazing and made a double recipe, but I was promptly informed that while it was tasty, it was too hot. So I sliced some scallions in this one to differentiate it and went on to make…**

Dumpling Dipping Sauce I (p.112)

1/2 cup soy sauce
3 Tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
(plus a pinch of sugar)

**Verdict: So this was judged not to be the dipping sauce found in every chinese restaurant, but it was still found to be quite acceptable and very tasty.**

But even after eating up all of the tasty dumplings we hadn’t gotten through at bridge and after giving away about a third of the sweet-hot spicy sauce, I still had a ton of these dipping sauces left over.

So I thawed a pork loin roast.

After one evening in the fridge, it was thawed enough that I could take it out of the plastic back and score it with cross-hatched knife cuts. I put it back in the back and added some marinade:

  • a couple ginger slices
  • some 5 spice powder
  • and about half a cup of the two dipping sauces combined (I just dumped the two containers together after people left, since I didn’t mind the heat)

And I left it for another night.

It still wasn’t completely thawed, but I went ahead and roasted it anyway – with three cloves stuck in the crosshatching cut into the fatty side, a light dusting of powdered thyme, and salt over the fat (because it’s tasty!).

I cooked it according to the directions in my Joy of Cooking. Pre-heat oven to 450F; insert roast and turn down to 350F; cook 30-35 minutes/pound. I was generous in my time estimate because it was still a bit frozen in the middle, but I ended up with thoroughly a cooked roast I would not have wanted to have in the oven all that much longer.

So that first night, I just cut off bites and ate it slathered in the sweet-hot garlic sauce to finish that off – they went together perfectly.


But now I have the rest of the (cooked) roast in my fridge. So I took a few slices of pork, cut them into strips and made wraps/quesadillas/soft tacos with them.

In a bit of olive oil, I grilled down

  • half an onion, cut into short strips
  • 2 jalepeno peppers with just the flesh (no seeds or white part) diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • a little less that a tablespoon of pickled ginger, ripped into smaller pieces
  • a fistful of baby carrots cut into matchsticks
  • pork strips
  • shredded napa cabbage
  • and sprinkled over with black vinegar and some of the dipping sauce

Then I warmed a tortilla, piled on some lettuce from an oriental mix that had been on sale at my supermarket, and then put the pork/veggie mixture on top – and ate it. With a bit of homemade chinese mustard. Yum yum yum.


So last night, I not only still had leftover pork in my fridge (which I’ll get to next week), but also I had leftover wrap filling. So I put it on a salad.

Pretty much just more of that same salad mix, the rest of the filling popped into the microwave for a bit, and a salad dressing (made from a quarter of a teaspoon of chinese mustard, some plum sauce, some black vinegar, some more of the dipping sauce, and a dollop of honey).

The only thing I could have done to make it any better was slice up some more napa cabbage to refresh the cooked-down cabbage in the filling.


Now I have to figure out what to do with the rest of the roast (though sandwiches, with mayonnaise on white bread, are high up on the list).

ETA: There was also random fried rice (made from French red rice because I had acquired it randomly, and I thought its nuttiness would be kinda like brown rice and all that – it ended up being tasty food). It took a lot more work that brown rice to make the flavors play nice with the strong ricey ones.

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