Asian Glaze


For the past few years I’ve been noticing more and more products like barbeque sauces, marinades, finishing sauces, and the like being sold at supermarkets and gourmet food stores. I’m sure that some are good, but being someone who must make everything from scratch (I can’t help myself) I tend to turn up my nose at these usually overpriced products.

Let’s all agree that anything made at home will always be better and less expensive than purchasing it pre-made. And then when you make it in your own kitchen, you don’t typically add food color, additives, preservatives, thickeners, and other such chemicals.

So some of these products are Asian. But the thing is, it is so darn easy to make your own, with just a few basic Asian ingredients. You can also adjust the ingredients to make the liquid more Thai, more Vietnamese, more Chinese, etc., depending on what you’re after.

I would definitely use the following recipe as a marinade, or to toss some into a stir fry. But because I’m cooking these ingredients a bit, thickening them slightly, I’m calling this a glaze. It can be applied to any grilled meats and fish, or even to vegetables for instant Asian flavor. Here’s what I did.


Asian Glaze

Shallots, about 6 ounces after trimming and peeling
1 tablespoon peanut or other oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce*
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 lime

Begin by finely chopping the shallots. At the end of this sauce you have the option to puree it, so don’t worry about the uniformity of the chopping if you’re going to be pureeing the glaze.

Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a small pot. Heat it over low heat, and saute the shallots for about 5 minutes.
Add the soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, and honey to the shallots. Give everything a good stir

Then add the ginger, garlic, and about 1/3 cup of water.
Stir well, then let simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes. It depends how you want the consistency of the glaze.

Add the cayenne and squeeze in the lime juice, then remove the glaze from the heat.

Use the glaze while still warm.

I typically cook fish in butter, but butter isn’t very Asian, so I used a little olive oil to pan fry the Swai, and sprinkled it simply with salt and pepper.

If you don’t like the chopped bits, you can place the glaze in a blender and blend until smooth. It will make the glaze thicker as well.

If you want, top everything with sesame seeds, pine nuts, or some cilantro!

* If you don’t have sweet soy sauce, use an extra tablespoon on honey.


Other possible Asian ingredients:
Rice wine vinegar
Fish Sauce
Chile Paste
Black bean paste
Hoisin Sauce
Oyster Sauce
Shrimp Paste
Curry Paste
Sesame Oil

40 thoughts on “Asian Glaze

    • Sure! Although tamari has a denser flavor, so I would adjust the amount of other liquids, but Tamari is great to have on hand. I’m lucky and have no dietary restrictions, so I don’t bother with gluten-free options, but usually those folks know how to adjust recipes for themselves.

  1. I love this glaze/sauce Mimi. And I also love the idea of making our own glazes etc… minus all the sugar etc. etc. etc. You know, I think I’d also use this (minus the lime juice) as a basis for a peanut sauce for noodles!! Am I pinning this – of course!! ; o )

      • No – I just didn’t think the limes would go well with the addition of some peanut butter. What do you think – you’re The Chef !! ; o )

      • oh, gotcha. Actually I think peanut sauces and a lot of Asian style sauces have lime juice in them, but of course you can make yours to suit yourself! That’s the fun part of cooking!

      • Sorry – just found your comment. It seems I might be getting a bit closed minded in my ‘old age’! I’m gonna add that lime juice!! ; o ) (It’s funny – every time I see lime juice and think ‘tart’. I gotta get out of believing that limes are only good in things like Gin and Tonic – and Key Lime Pie…oh, and some beers!)

  2. I agree completely :). I’ve been trying to get my husband to give up on the bottled sauces. Last night I was in a rush and made an easy chicken stir fry in 5 minutes using a dash of soy and some sesame oil, which I flavored with curry powder and pepper. I threw in half an onion and lots of fresh spinach and was out of the house in 10 minutes! Delicious, easy, nutritious and home made. Mikey liked it!

  3. Hi, Mimi! Making this tonight. I love Asian inspired glazes. Your recipe is so balanced. Any excuse to eat fish, despit living in landlocked New Mexico! Great photos, by the way – they sold me before I even read the recipe. Why eat a bottled sauce or dressing when they are so easy to make for the week? :-)

  4. I’m really pleased to see this recipe. I do get tired of having little bits of glaze or dipping sauce or stir-fry sauces in my refrigerator. I sometimes purchase one or another for a particular recipe and then I may not need the rest for awhile. I think there’s enough versatility in this Asian glaze to fit most of my needs! It’s great!

  5. Your sauce looks so delicious. You are making me hungry! I could not agree more especially if you think about the things that are put in Asian sauces on the shelf with MSG.. etc, it is best to make your own…no doubt.

  6. I’m with you… making our own tastes best AND it doesn’t contain strange additives, so likely is more healthy. But there is another part of it too…. I like the creativity involved in cooking, so it’s more fun to experiment and create…. I like your Asian sauce recipe… sue

    • Thanks! That’s exactly the point! This can be easily turned into a Vietnamese sauce with some fish sauce and chili paste! (I’m generalizing about ingredients, of course!)

  7. Agree completely about pre-made sauces and marinades. I don’t think there are any that don’t have MSG in them which is a real killer for me. This looks like a great one that would go with a lot of different meats or fish. I never noticed that there was anything called a sweet soy sauce.

    • There are so many different varieties of soy-based sauces, including miso pastes, but you need an interpreter with you when you’re at the Asian grocery store!

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