Authentic Szechuan Sauce! Use as a flavorful stir-fry sauce for veggies or noodles, or use it as a marinade for tofu, chicken, shrimp or beef! Healthier than store-bought versions, no preservatives, msg, and it is gluten-free adaptable and vegan! Can be made in 5 minutes flat and keeps for 10 days in the fridge!
Here’s a simple authentic recipe for Chinese-style Szechuan Sauce that we’ve been using ever since our trip to Shanghai a few years ago!
I”m a huge fan of Spicy Szechuan Sauce but hate all the preservatives, sugars and msg that goes into store-bought versions, so we make our own at home. So fast and easy!
It is full of flavor and can be made very spicy or kept very mild. It has a multitude of uses, but mainly we’ve been using it for quick and easy stir fry or as a marinade for meat or tofu. You’ve seen a version of it in the Sheet Pan Szechuan Chicken and Brussel Sprouts recipe a while back and so many of you have commented on the recipe, I thought it deserved a post of its own!
This version of Szechuan Sauce has Szechuan Peppercorns in it — but if you don’t have them, don’t fret! Just use black pepper or peppercorns! The Szechuan peppercorns give the sauce a really authentic “zingy-ness” that is hard to replicate, but it also tastes just fine without!
Wonderful for meal prep, you can use this scratch-made sauce in this flavorful stir-fry as well!
Always remember to go lightly at first with Szechuan peppercorns they are definitely an acquired taste, perfumy and complex, while having a unusual numbing effect on the tongue. Some people looooooove this. Some do not. The best thing to do is just try one! We all taste things differently!
When I first tried Szechuan peppercorns, I have to admit, I was not a fan. But after I went to China, and had them in moderate doses, I actually grew to love them. So be sure start conservatively! Remember you can always just plop one in your mouth to get the gist of it. 😉
Whether you add the Szechuan peppercorns or not, the Szechuan Sauce is still delicious and worth making so I hope you give it a try. It’s especially great on tofu – either baked or crispy pan seared!
Authentic Szechuan Sauce! Use as easy delicious stir-fry sauce or flavorful marinade – preservative-free, msg free, gluten-free adaptable, vegan and full of amazing flavor! Can be made in 5 minutes! Keeps for 10 days in the fridge!
- Prep Time: 10
- Total Time: 10
- Yield: ½ cup 1x
- Category: sauce, condiment
- Method: Whisked
- Cuisine: Chinese
- ½ –1 teaspoon Szechuan Peppercorns (or sub black peppercorns)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce ( of GF Liquid Aminos)
- 3 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, brown sugar or sugar alternative
- 1 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar (or black vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine (shaoxing) or mirin (both optional)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced (use a garlic press)
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely minced ( or use ginger paste)
- 1 tablespoon garlic chili paste (like sambal oelek) more for more spicy or sub 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
- optional- 2-3 teaspoons corn starch, to thicken, see notes.
Toast szechuan peppercorns in a hot dry skillet over medium heat, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Crush.
Place all ingredients in a medium bowl or small jar and whisk until well combined.
If using as a stir-fry sauce, and you would like to thicken it, whisk in 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
If using as a marinade, forgo the cornstarch and make sure to season what you are marinating ( chicken, tofu, beef) with salt. The marinade alone will probably not be salty enough.
If making a stir-fry, try adding a few dry Chinese or Arbol chilies (5-10) to the stir-fry, right before adding the Szechuan Sauce. Do not eat the chilis. 😉
Makes a little over ½ a cup and will keep for 10 days in the fridge.
If you prefer a thicker sauce when stir-frying, add corn starch.
Szechuan Peppercorns add a unique flavor, but using too much will overpower. If unfamiliar, start with ½ teaspoon. If you’ve never tired one, just plop one in in your mouth and taste it. It has a very strong perfumy flavor and numbing effect on the tongue, adding interesting complexity! A little goes a long way. This may be very pleasant, or very unpleasant to you. This, for me was an acquired taste. You can absolutely leave these out and sub black peppercorns.
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