Black Pepper Sauce (黑椒汁)

Black Pepper Sauce (黑椒汁)
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What do you think of when you think of Hong Kong cuisine? Chinese? Cantonese? Well, you're heading in the right direction (sort of)!

Besides the typical Chinese and Cantonese food that can be found anywhere in Hong Kong. "Western style" food is a big part of locals' daily diet from breakfast to lunch to afternoon tea to dinner. Food is adaptive, and most "Western style" food in Hong Kong was created to tailer locals' tastes. After so many years of being a colony of the Brits (and practicing the art of having afternoon tea everyday), Hong Kong's version of "western" food still plays a big part of the city's dining culture. And as a Hong Konger, I can always appreciate a good cup of Milk Tea (black tea with milk and sugar)!

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So where am I going with this? This black pepper sauce (黑椒汁) is a great example of how western culture had influenced this Chinese city over a long period of time. Like many dishes offered in cha chaan tengs where locals eat on a daily basis, the black pepper sauce was born out of unification of the east and west. Seriously, the sauce calls for both soy sauce AND ketchup! Yes, you read that right. Soy sauce of the east, and ketchup of the west. Somehow, the flavors are blended beautifully together to accompany the spiciness of freshly ground black pepper.

Hong Kong-style black pepper sauce is usually served with steak or chicken, and it comes with your choice of rice or spaghetti. To me, the sauce is great because it can be served with many kinds of proteins and vegetables, and it's got several layers of flavor built into it. Ask a Hong Konger if he or she has eaten any black pepper sauce (黑椒汁) growing up, the answer will always be yes.

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Black Pepper Sauce (黑椒汁)

Prep time: 10 mins  Cook time: 5 mins  Total time: 15 mins

Serves: about 1 cup

You'll need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine (such as ShaoXing 紹興)
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar

Approach:

  1. Cook the minced garlic with some oil in a hot pan until fragrant, then add chopped onion and cook until it becomes transparent in color.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir until everything is mixed in. Let it cook for 5 minutes until sauce has thickened.