My Mum's delicious Ginger Sauce

Monday, March 11, 2019

Dipping sauces often plays the second fiddle, accompanying the main dish and eaten on the side.

If you take a food photo, the small plate of sauce is likely to be blurred or "bokeh-ed" out in the background as the meat dish takes center stage.

But there are times when the dipping sauce is so good that it becomes the reason why you keep dipping something with it.

My mums favourite ginger sauce always accompany her Steamed Chicken during CNY reunion dinners and on other occasions. And the sauce always ran out way before the chicken was eaten up.

She has never left behind a recipe but from palate memories and some experiment, I have settled on this recipe.

One key ingredient to this sauce is galangal. I have come to appreciate the versatility of this ingredient through Thai cooking and Chao Shan Cuisine. I was very inspired by how Chao Shan cuisine uses galangal through Netflix's Flavorful Origins series on this cuisine.

If you are cooking a small amount, using a mortar and pestle is the way to go for the smashed texture.  (read my inserting satire on the "Rock of Ages"). However, most times, I prepare a large amount of this sauce. It is more practical to grind it coarsely in a grinder and the finish off in the mortar. Old galangal can be as hard as a rock but a good grinder (I use the Sumeet Mixer Grinder - this is the best for Asian cooking, Panasonic also makes mixer grinders) will make short work of it. If you want to grind everything in the electric grinder, that is an acceptable compromise.

It is important to squeeze the ginger juice out before you fry it so that the ginger will caramelise faster. You ned a lot of oil for this sauce to work. And it is also important to add enough salt.

Apart from Galangal, I add normal ginger, coriander roots, stems and leaves. Adding the ginger juice and chicken stock (handy if you are boiling soup at the same time) towards the end of the cooking will help to make the sauce more viscous.

Here is the recipe. Trust me. You won't regret learning this sauce.


500g galangal (fresh if possible, not dried out)
200g old ginger
100 gm garlic
2 stalks of coriander leaves
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
a bowl of oil (or chicken oil, if any)
1 tbsp of sesame oil
2 tbsp Chinese wine
half a bowl of chicken stock or water

Galangal and cekur
Pounding the coriander roots
The Summit grinder workhorse
Pound or grind the peeled galangal, ginger, cekur and coriander roots. Diced the garlic separately.

In a wok or pot, heat up the oil in a small flame. Add the diced garlic and fry until lightly browned. Then add the ginger paste, salt, sugar and fish sauce. Simmer and stir occasionally for 15 minutes. Towards the end, add some cut coriander stems, leaves and dashes of Chinese wine. Then add some chicken stock and some of the ginger juice back in. Have a taste. Adjust with some salt or sugar if necessary. Simmer for 2 minutes or so and dish out.

When it is cooled, bottle it up. It keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks.

It is great as a dipping sauce for Steamed Chicken, pork or fish. Depending on the the size of the chicken, a 25-to 30 minutes of steaming will be sufficient.

This sauce can be used for the Steamed Chicken in Ginger Sauce. 

My brother holding the late of Steamed Chicken which he has just chopped. 

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