Chinese master sauce

Chinese master sauce

Chinese master sauce/stock, or 滷水汁, 鹵水 or 高汤, is a marinade that NEVER runs out. You can keep using it and even leave is to your children through your will might you ever choke on a chicken/fish bone from one of the 10000 times you are going to (re)use this marinade.. (and not sift it before freezing).

This traditional sauce originates from the Chinese cuisine and is used in the Cantonese and Fujian kitchen.

This salty, sweet, savoury, umami, marinade gets richer every time you use it. Let it thaw, marinade and cook your main ingredient, add a tiny bit of the ingredients to restore to original volume, cook again, skim, sift, freeze, repeat…

There are restaurants that use the same Chinese master sauce for over 40 years, and there are rumours of some sauces even celebrating their centenary!

This ancient master sauce goes well with beef, pork, fowl, fish and tofu. Here you can find a recipe for a whole chicken.

Use a seperate sauce for the meats and one for fish. If you have vegetarian/vegan guest over; or guest that don’t eat pork; you can make a seperate batch for that too.

To keep this sauce hygienic; you have to cook it again after every use. This will be a good time to replenish it again with some fluids and other ingredients. Did you think it was too sweet? Leave the sugar out this time. Too little orange to your liking? Add some exra orange peel this time..etc.

In the fridge you can use the Chinese mastersauce again within 3 days; in the freezer it can last 1 month.

Chinese master sauce or stock; is a marinade. And with many marinades; The longer you let the meat marinate in the sauce; the better. I usually let it marinate 24 hours for a whole chicken. Fish and smaller cuts of meat from the morning till dinner time. Turn the meat/fish halfway.

I often use Lee kum kee, Mee chun and Pearl river bridge for the soy sauce. These are Chinese soy sauces. But Japanese and Thai soy sauce works too.

The rice wine has to be Shaoxing/Shaohsing rice wine.

Chinese master sauce

Recipe by (Stef Bruurs)Cuisine: Chinese
Prep for reuse time


Cooking time



A rich, salty and sweet Chinese marinade for all meats and tofu.


  • 300 ml/ 10 fl. oz water

  • 125 ml/4 fl. oz light soy sauce

  • 125 ml/4 fl. oz dark soy sauce

  • 250 ml/ 8 fl. oz rice wine

  • 200 gr/7 oz cane sugar or an other brown sugar

  • 5 cm/2 inch ginger (or 1 big tablespoon ginger powder)

  • Cloves from 1 garlic bulb

  • 3 spring onions

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • Seeds of 2 cardamom pods (dark ones)

  • 8 star anice

  • Peel of 1/3 orange

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper corns (or 1/2 grounded).

  • 1 red pepper (Cayenne/Habanero/Adjuma/Scotch bonnet/etc)


  • Well..just toss everything together in a pan! Turn the heat on; and stir in the beginning to dissolve the sugar.
  • Let it all simmer on low heat, with the lid on, for 1 hour.
  • Let is cool down with the ingredient that you want to marinate in it. Let it 2-24 hours marinate; depending on how thick the meat is you want to marinate and how much flavour you want.
  • Preparing it for reuse:
  • Add some of all ingredients to bring it back to original level. Let is cook for at least 20 minutes.
  • Let is cool down quickly, sift and put it in the fridge or freezer.


  • You can add a half teaspoon of Sichuan pepper for an even more authentic taste.
  • Or leave ALL the pepper out if you do not like spicy.
  • Kikkoman soy sauce is certified kosher. Kikkoman halal soy sauce and Kikkoman glutenfree soy sauce are bothl halal, kosher ánd glutenfree.