Lots of recipes for these kinds of sauces rely on a slurry made of cornflour and water. There is no greater travesty than ruining a sauce with a glob of starch that just won't whisk away, so I have avoided that here and extended the cooking time a little (don't panic, only 10 minutes) to get that jammy consistency. This makes just enough for the chicken recipe below, so if you want a decent batch of the stuff, simply triple the recipe.
- ¼ cup castor sugar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (or brown sugar)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
- In a small saucepan combine all the ingredients. Place over the lowest heat setting and simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring fairly regularly to prevent catching. After 15 minutes the sauce should be beginning to thicken. Continue to cook until it starts to reduce and takes on a jammy appearance. It's ready when it coats the back of the spoon and you can swipe your finger through it (this may take a further 10-15 minutes).
- Serve warm if using immediately or pour into a sterile jar with a screw-top lid and store into the fridge for up to two weeks.
Makes ½-¾ cup
The finished sauce should be jammy and sticky. Photo: Katrina Meynink
What to do with it
Sweet and sour chicken (pictured top)
- Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Cut a chicken into eight pieces and thoroughly pat dry each piece – this ensures the crispy skin. Spread the pieces over a baking tray. Shove a bit of butter under the skin wherever you can, this is more difficult when the chicken is cut into pieces so try your best. Season generously with salt.
- Roast for 20 minutes or until skin is crisp and golden and meat is cooked through. When piping hot, drizzle over the sweet 'n' sour sauce. You can scatter a few coriander leaves for freshness, but honestly, this is the kind of food that is best eaten straight from the tray as soon as it emerges from the oven.
- Drizzle over roasted cauliflower.
- Toss through noodles.
- Pan-fry pork in the sauce and use it to top a cheat's ramen with stock and noodles.