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Natural Awakenings National

Saucy Secrets: Ginger and Garlic Provides Wonderful Base for a Variety of Asian Sauces

Jun 01, 2010 03:00AM ● By Ying Chang Compestine

Marinating is an often-overlooked technique for optimal grilling, imparting the flavors of fresh herbs, spices, oils and vinegars to foods, while increasing moisture content to reduce the potential for charring and the development of carcinogens during cooking. Even brief dips before cooking is beneficial, but for best results, marinate food for at least one hour or overnight before grilling.

The homemade marinades featured here contain far less fat and sodium than most commercial brands (they can even double as salad dressings or stir-fry condiments). So feast with a glad heart on a warm summer’s day or eve—the heat is on and the eating’s good.


Ginger-Garlic Sauce

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

This basic marinade is your jumping-off point for a host of variations. Any leftover sauce can be refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.

2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, white part only, minced
6 Tbsp low-sodium organic soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine or sake
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1-1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

Mix all ingredients in a small container. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to one week.


Spicy Sesame Sauce

To the Ginger-Garlic sauce, add 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds and 2 teaspoons minced fresh red chili pepper. Mix well.


Honey-Basil Sauce

Using the ginger-garlic sauce recipe, replace ginger and green onion with ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, minced, and replace the sesame oil with 1 tablespoon of flavored olive oil. Add ½ tablespoons honey and mix well.


Apricot-Ginger Glaze

Use the ginger-garlic sauce recipe, but replace the rice wine, lemon juice and rice vinegar with ¾ cup apricot jam. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking steadily.


Shrimp and Fruit Kabobs

Serves 6. Serve with noodles.

1 pound large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1½  cups apricot-ginger glaze, divided
3 medium plums, pitted and cut in half
3 medium red Bartlett pears or 3 fresh peaches, pitted and cut into quarters
1 small pineapple, skinned and cut into 1-inch chunks

1. Combine shrimp and 1 cup glaze in a large bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Remove shrimp from glaze. Alternately, thread shrimp, plums, pears or peaches, and pineapple onto six 15-inch skewers, leaving about 1/8-inch between each piece to allow even cooking.

3. Preheat grill to medium. Grill shrimp kabobs, turning occasionally, until shrimp turns opaque throughout and fruit is browned and tender?about 8-10 minutes. Baste with remaining glaze during the last 3 minutes of cooking.

Honey-Basil Veggie Kabobs

Serves 6. Serve with grilled tofu, seafood or pasta.

3 small green zucchini, cut diagonally into one-inch chunks
3 small yellow squash, cut diagonally into one-inch chunks
½  lb baby bella mushrooms
1 lb cherry tomatoes
1 cup honey-basil sauce

Wash vegetables and place in a large bowl. Add sauce; toss to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Onto six 15-inch bamboo skewers, alternately thread zucchini, squash, mushrooms and tomatoes. Leave about 1/8 inch between each piece to allow even cooking.

Preheat grill to medium. Grill kabobs, turning occasionally, until golden and tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Ying Chang Compestine is the author of several cookbooks, including Secrets from the Healthy Asian Kitchen.

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