A sauce, popular in Asian cooking, that brings a multitude of sweet and spicy flavors to a dish: fermented soybeans, molasses, vinegar, mustard, sesame seeds, garlic, and chiles. Look for hoisin sauce alongside the soy sauce in most supermarkets or in Asian markets.
Hoisin sauce is a thick, pungent sauce commonly used in Chinese cuisine as a glaze for meat, an addition to stir fries, or as dipping sauce. It is darkly colored in appearance and sweet and salty in taste. Although regional variants exist, hoisin sauce usually includes soy, red chiles, and garlic. Vinegar and sugar are also commonly added. The word hoisin is a Romanization of the Chinese word for seafood as pronounced in Cantonese or haixian as pronounced in Mandarin.
Peking-style hoisin sauce ingredients include starches such as sweet potato, wheat or rice, and water, sugar, soybeans, sesame seeds, white distilled vinegar, salt, garlic, red chili peppers, and sometimes preservatives or coloring agents. Traditionally, hoisin sauce is made using toasted mashed soy beans. Despite the literal meaning, hoisin sauce does not contain seafood, nor is it typically used with it. Neither does it contain plums, even though it is frequently misidentified as plum sauce.