Everyone loves sauces, dressings, dips and spreads. I wrote an article for the November/December Chef Magazine, Dressing Saucy, all about how chefs can capitalize on consumers’ cravings for a spicy kick with sauces, condiments and dressings that crank up the heat. Before I get to my recipe for slow cooker chicken with Asian-style barbecue sauce, you need to hear about some of these sauces.
Reading, researching and talking to chefs about sauces, condiments and dressings gave me some serious culinary envy.
Most of the sauces I learned about were chefs’ unique creations: green chile pimento cheese sauce, spicy lobster cream sauce and mole amarillo, made with aguajillo and aji amarillo peppers, Marcona almonds, garlic and corn to add sweetness to the Romesco-style sauce.
Among these sauces, I also came across some bottled sauces that chefs are creating for consumers, a few of which will have a permanent place in our pantry.
Gochujang by Chung Jung One
A Korean Chile Sauce that combines red peppers, cane sugar, garlic, sea salt and other ingredients to create a sweet and savory umami flavor, Gochujang has been a Korean household staple for centuries.
You can sub your favorite household hot sauce for Gochujang, which is thicker and richer than traditional Sriracha. There are also a number of flavors that you can use in different recipes: think Bulgogi-style Korean Barbecue, hot wings and dipping sauces.
You can even add a little bit to your favorite recipes to create fusion dishes with new flavors: burgers, pasta sauces, scrambled eggs.
Gochujang by Chung Jung One is available at most national grocery chains and comes in a few flavors, including a Spicy Ketchup sauce and a Spicy Miso sauce.
Variety is the spice of life and Tabanero is the spice of, well, anything. Made from carrots, onions, garlic, Key Lime juice, red habanero peppers and Agave nectar, Tabanero is flavorful and versatile.
If you’re the type that puts hot sauce on everything (that is not me, but it is a certain someone who I happen to live with) then you can add Tabanero to your favorite recipes for tacos, crab cakes, chicken wings, pulled pork and to add some heat to your favorite sauces, like pomodoro sauce and puttanesca sauce.
Available in three flavors – Original, Extra Hot and Agave Sweet and Spicy, you can find it at select grocery chains and online.
Urban Belly Korean Inspired Sauces
Bill Kim, a Chicago chef and restauranteur, is well known for his fiery Asian-fusion cuisine, in which he blends traditional Asian dishes with the spices of Latin American culture.
His house made sauces became so popular that he created a line of sauces available to the retail market.
Now, home chefs can integrate Belly Bomb, Belly Soy, Belly Fire and Belly Swang into their own cooking. Bill’s sauces are meant to be household staples and not what he calls “vanity sauces.” We’ve used the Belly Bomb sauce as a dipping sauce, Belly Soy in stir-fry and Belly Swang barbecue sauce over chicken in the crockpot.
It was really, really good.
But, because Urban Belly sauces are only available at the restaurants in Chicago, I decided to make my own Asian style barbecue sauce for an easy crock pot chicken dinner.
It is perfect for entertaining or to cook on Sunday and eat all week: over rice, in tacos, in a stir-fry with vegetables — you name it.
It’s the perfect answer to batch cooking for a busy week and although not as authentic as Kim’s sauces, it’s made from ingredients you probably already have in your pantry fulfilling two major requirements for dinner: quick and easy.
- ½ cup low sodium chicken stock
- ⅓ cup hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce or chili garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh gingerroot
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 12 thighs)
- Spray 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In slow cooker, mix stock, ⅓ cup of the hoisin sauce, the ketchup, honey, soy sauce, garlic, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Sriracha, the gingerroot and 2 teaspoons sesame oil with whisk. Add chicken; toss to coat. Cover; cook on High heat setting 3 to 4 hours.
- During last 30 minutes of cook time, make coleslaw. In large bowl, beat rice vinegar, sugar, 2 teaspoons Sriracha and 1 teaspoon sesame oil with whisk. Add coleslaw mix; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- Remove chicken from slow cooker using slotted spoon. Remove sauce to another bowl. Place chicken on cutting board. Shred chicken using 2 forks, removing any bits of fat.
- Return chicken and 1½ cups of the sauce to slow cooker. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons hoisin; decrease to Low heat setting. Cook about 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
- Serve on buns; top with coleslaw. Serve with remaining sauce, if desired.