Dr. Jimbob's Home -> Coooking -> Chinese Utility Sauce




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Chinese Utility Sauce

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Dr. Jimbob's Grandma's Recipe for Utility Sauce

I call this stuff "utility sauce" because it has a batch of uses. Mainly, it's used as a dipping sauce for Peking ravioli (a.k.a. gyoza, potstickers, Chinese dumplings, jiaozi). But this soy-sauce based concoction can also be used as a substitute for soy sauce in coastal-style hongshao cooking. It can also be used to marinate meats, or to provide infusions of salt wherever needed. It's also useful because it tends to last a long time (nothing can grow in that much salt!).

My grandmother is the master at doing this recipe; I learned it through my mother.


  • scallions, usually 2-4
  • garlic, 1-3 cloves
  • ground black pepper, 1 pinch
  • canola oil, about 1/4 - 1/3 cup
  • soy sauce, about 1/2 - 3/4 cup
  • oyster sauce, about 3-5 tablespoons
  • sesame oil, about 1 tablespoon
  • (optional) Chinese chili death sauce from the hell of the burning tongues


  1. Chop up the scallions, mince the garlic, and place it in the bottom of a heat-resistant small bowl. Sprinkle the pepper on top.
  2. Heat the oil over high heat for about 60-90 seconds. Pour over the scallions and garlic -- you'll know that it's hot enough if the oil sizzles over the scallions.
  3. Pour the soy sauce and oyster sauce into the mix. Season to taste (I like it saltier, and probably use more of each than I should).
  4. (optional) Add some chili sauce as well (I usually use one teaspoon or so).
  5. Stir in the sesame oil just before using.

NB: This is my grandmother's recipe. You're welcome to it (she says it's OK), but please don't take credit for it without citing her.

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Dr. Jimbob's Home -> Coooking -> Chinese Utility Sauce

Last updated: July 5, 2000 by James C.S. Liu

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