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The (Asian) Sauces Mom Can’t Live Without

The (Asian) Sauces Mom Can’t Live Without

From the deep, dark cave that is Pepper’s Pantry comes…our favorite Asian sauces! Half the time we have no idea where she got them (especially the ones that have literally no English on the label), but chances are she snuck off to Thaitown when she was “getting her hair done” or “running an errand.” Either way the pantry always has all of these things (plus many more! I am sure there will be a second installment to this at some point), and JK you can actually find most of these at your local Asian grocer or even just a plain old supermarket with a good selection of international products).


Mom is even known to travel with her favorites (word to the wise: if you're taking a bottle of fish sauce on the road, make sure it's SEALED AIRTIGHT. Recommendation from a friend…)Don’t be afraid of these bottles! Sometimes we even use two or three to make the flavors of a dish really come alive. Mix, match, and experiment. Have fun!


For more of Mom's Thai must-haves watch here.


Soy Sauce


Simply fermented soybeans, wheat (but there are gluten-free versions, too), water, and salt. As you know this is a multi-cultural condiment for me, and I’ve used it on a lot of Asian recipes but also in the super savory French onion soup from original Cravings. Comes in low sodium and regular versions (which one do you think we use more???)



Kwong Hung Seng Sauce/Sweet Soy Sauce


Think soy plus some sugar, then think of the possibilities. Drinkably ridiculously good, and great for giving food a really deep golden color.





Soy Bean Paste


Funky and stinky, in other words: the best. Since half of the best Asian sauces have the aroma of smelly socks, this one fits the bill. Add to wokky-skillety things like Pepper’s famous Pad Thai Carbonara (from Hungry For More).




Seasoning Sauce


| Think of this as a thinner Maggi. Filled with to the brim with MSG, it’s umami to the max, in the best possible way.



Sweet Chili Sauce


The OG crossover condiment! Pours as freely as water and is always on the table when we’re serving dumplings, wontons, spring rolls, etc.




Oyster Sauce


| Mildly fishy, brown-saucy, the secret to lots of your favorite Asian stir-fry type items without you even knowing it. Sometimes contains oyster extract (juice), sometimes has no oyster at all, but you get the idea.



Sweet Plum Sauce (not to be confused with hoisin sauce)


Made with vinegar, cornstarch, and fermented plums. Since it’s a little tangy it’s a great dipping sauce for spring rolls and other fried stuff.






Japanese cooking wine, sweetened with sugar, almost like a thin simple syrup combined with (let’s face it) cheap wine. It adds sweetness (with a touch of dry) to Asian sauces and, because of the sugar, serves as a bit of a thickener, too.



Maggi Seasoning


This is like a little bottle of umami magic. Just looking at the bottle makes my mouth water. Just remember, it’s really concentrated and salty, and a little bit goes a long way.


Fish Sauce


So in Vietnam they pack tiny little anchovy fishes into barrels with salt, and let them sit in the sun for months, and then the golden liquid that drip, drip, drips out is our beloved fish sauce. This finds its way into more of mom’s dishes than anything else and is as popular in Thailand as it is in Vietnam and you should always, always have a bottle around. It lasts forever in the pantry and don’t worry about refrigerating it.



This is the ultimate set for creating clean-out-the-fridge meals. Aside from just stir-frying, the Teigen-Legend fam uses the wok and spider strainer for deep-frying and big-batch sautéing. Big enough for a pound of noodles Bundled with wooden tongs and a spider strainer Steam, serve, and store, all using a tempered glass lid.
Through these 80 recipes, Pepper teaches you how to make all her hits––influenced by Thailand, California, and everywhere in between. No one loves this book more than Chrissy: “I’m SO proud of Yai and all of the hard work she put into making this book come to life. It has all of my favorite recipes that mom used to make for us growing up, like chicken satay and papaya salad, as well as modern twists on classic Thai food like pad thai Brussels sprouts and nam prik moo sloppy joes!