Whether it’s used as an Asian marinade for beef, chicken, pork, tofu or fish, or as a dressing for vegetables, salads, or pastas, or even as a flavoring for rice, quinoa, or any number of grains, this is the ultimate Asian master sauce and is the secret to making meal prep easier than ever before.
Healthy and delicious food doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, when your cooking method centers around meal prep and batch cooking, the most basic of ingredients can easily be transformed into craveable dishes everyone will want and come back asking for more.
The secret is in the master sauce, and it’s the whole idea behind batch cooking.
This strategy is the centerpiece of our Nourished Planner Batch Cooking Basics meal prep guide, where we share the strategy and recipes for preparing five basic master recipes as the interchangeable base to build just one meal, or even a whole week’s worth.
This Asian master sauce recipe is a multi-layer tool that isn’t limited to just being a seasoning added to a dish at the end. With a simple shake of a mason jar, this master sauce can become a marinade, a salad dressing, added to the cooking water for a more flavorful grain or sautéed or tossed with vegetables for even more infused flavor within reach of your garlic-scented fingertips.
Ingredients for Asian Marinade Master Sauce
This marinade is super simple with just a few ingredients that together become a flavor-infusing powerhouse:
- ponzu sauce—a citrus-flavored soy sauce found in the Asian aisle.
- sesame oil—keep your sesame oil in the refrigerator after opening where it will stay good for up to 2 years.
- canola oil—you can also use another neutral flavored oil like vegetable or grapeseed oil.
- rice vinegar—use seasoned or regular rice vinegar. Seasoned rice vinegar has a bit more sugar and salt in it.
- honey—you can also use brown sugar or granulated sugar
- fresh garlic—I prefer pressed garlic rather than minced because it melds together better
- fresh ginger—grate or mince, but like the garlic, I prefer grated
- red pepper flakes—optional, but I never leave them out
Add 2 tablespoons of fresh juice (orange, pineapple, mango) and toasted sesame seeds, or swap out the ponzu sauce with fish sauce or regular soy sauce for a slightly different flavor.
How to Use As an Asian Marinade
To use as a marinade, add this Asian master sauce to your choice of protein and marinade for 15 minutes for more delicate proteins like shrimp, fish, or tofu and up to overnight for pork, chicken, or thinner cuts or cubes of beef.
*I’ll be sharing the recipe for the marinated steak above later this week so stay tuned!
Thicker pieces of meat can tolerate a longer marinade up to overnight, or double the recipe and use as the braising liquid for thicker cuts like roast pork ribs, with 2-3 cups of a beef broth for a low and slow braise in the oven (275°F for 3-4 hours).
How to Use As an Asian Stir-Fry Sauce
To turn this sauce into a stir-fry, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken as a sauce with your favorite protein and vegetables over rice, noodles, or quinoa. Or season veggies all on their own too.
*And, I’ll be sharing the recipe for the steak and broccoli ramen noodles above later this week too!
To use this Asian master sauce as a flavoring, add 2 tablespoons or more to grains or rice as it cooks (or stir in afterward), or use as a dressing for a green lettuce Asian chicken salad or a Vietnamese-inspired rice noodle salad with shredded carrots, bean sprouts and cucumbers.
The Secret Ingredient for Easy Meal Prep
Check out the Nourished Planner Batch Cooking Basics meal prep guide to learn how to add more variety but not much more time in the kitchen with the secrets to turning 5 basic recipes into 20+ meals by basic ingredients in different ways so your weekly meal planning doesn’t taste like the same old thing.
Asian Marinade and Master Sauce
Yield 3 /4 cup
You can mix this marinade in a bowl, or make it even simpler by adding everything to a jar with a fitted lid and shake, shake, shake.
- 1/2 cup ponzu
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes (optional)
- Add all of the ingredients to a jar with a fitted lid and shake well until combined, or stir with a whisk. Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
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