Sweet and Sour Sauce

I’ve been in a Spring Roll frenzy as of late. I crave them nearly every day and love the fact that I can load nearly five servings of veggies into just one roll. They are super easy to make, and if stored properly, keep in the fridge for many days. Jeff, on the other hand, is not quite as passionate about them as I am, although he likes them.  After days of enjoying fresh spring rolls with spicy sesame ginger sauce, I offered Jeff the final serving to which he replied, “No thanks.”  Feeling somewhat dejected, I asked why he does not enjoy the spring roll as much as I, and his reply was, “They would be great with Mock Duck and Sweet and Sour Sauce.” Ah hah! Now I am happy because I won’t have to eat spring rolls alone. All I have to do is include the duck and the sauce. It’s a good thing.

It’s funny how when you buy things from the store and never have a tradition of cooking the item from scratch, it can seem so mysterious and intimidating to think about recreating it.  I don’t think I could have listed the ingredients of sweet and sour sauce before yesterday. I just assumed it was a flavor infused syrup of some sort. The fact that it’s thickened with cornstarch and can be made with fruits and vegetables really surprised me. I loved the idea of sweetening the sauce naturally with pineapple and its’ juice in order to keep the sugar content a little lower. Considering such a small amount is consumed in one sitting, I am not going to feel as guilty about feeding this to my family as I would have had it been a commercially processed product.

I searched through at least a million recipes until I got the general gist of the sauce. There’s an amazing rendition on Tastes Like Home that I would have preferred, but the boys like their chunks smaller, so I went with a grated version. In fact, I sent the onion, carrot and ginger all through the grater attachment on the food processor which made this really easy to whip up. It’s still got quite a lot of sugar, but at least it has some fruit and veggies as well. Making it from scratch is also very economical. Using all organic ingredients, this project cost perhaps six dollars and yielded about five cups of sauce.

By the way, I found these wonderful jars at Ikea today. Since I’ve been into making refrigerator pickled peppers, I was really psyched to find the jars!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 6 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. chile flakes
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 3 Tbs. corn starch dissolved in 4 Tbs. cold water

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a sauce pan except the corn starch mixture. Let the ingredients simmer for five minutes or so, then add the cornstarch to thicken. Let it cool a bit and pour into glass storage.

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