McDonald’s has a wide range of delicious sauces that make their fries even better. However, there is one sauce that has become more famous than any others - Szechuan sauce. This limited time sauce has likely become McDonald’s most known and sought-after sauce. Szechuan sauce is a mix of tangy and sweet with a hint of spice. It goes perfectly with McDonald’s fries, but it doesn’t only have to be used with fast food. This copycat recipe can be used with fish, chicken, spring rolls and more!
WHY IS SZECHUAN SAUCE SO FAMOUS?
Reading this recipe, you may be thinking, “Why is this sauce so famous?” The story of Szechuan sauce’s fame is a bit of a wild ride. In 1998, McDonald’s created Szechuan sauce to promote Disney’s latest movie “Mulan.” People enjoyed the sauce, but once the promotional event ended, the hype died down.
Many years later, a cartoon named “Rick and Morty,” showed an episode where Rick goes on a journey to taste the Szechuan sauce again. His goal to get this sauce is comedic and obsessive, and piqued the interest of many fans. “Rick and Morty” fans gathered together to use social media to push McDonald’s to bring this sauce back.
Thanks to the power of social media, McDonald’s decided to bring back the sauce. But, only in some stores and for one day. This caused an absolute ruckus! People would go to McDonald’s to try the sauce only to learn that said store didn’t sell it, or that they missed the one day it was sold. Szechuan sauce became more famous because of the frenzy than for its taste.
Soy Sauce: brings a savory flavor and saltiness.
Ginger Paste: ginger adds a nice spicy and sweet flavor.
Minced Garlic: adds an aromatic kick to the sauce. Feel free to add more garlic if you want a stronger garlic taste.
Sesame Oil: just a bit of sesame oil brings in a nice, nutty flavor to the Szechuan sauce.
Cornstarch: a cornstarch slurry will thicken the sauce.
Granulated Sugar: the flavors of the sauce are strong, so sugar helps to balance things out.
Ground Szechuan Peppercorns: it’s not Szechuan sauce without Szechuan peppers! They bring a gentle numbing spice.
Black Pepper: adds a layer of warmth and gentle spice.
Coriander: you can use fresh or powdered coriander. It adds earthy notes in the sauce.
Rice Vinegar: this lovely vinegar takes this sauce to the next level. It adds sweet and mild notes to the sauce.
Apple Cider Vinegar: brings acidic and tartness to the sauce.
Lime Juice: the sauce is famous for its tangy flavors. Much of it comes from lime juice.
HOW TO MAKE THIS FAMOUS SZECHUAN SAUCE
To get this Szechuan sauce ready, start by preparing the Szechuan peppercorns. Toast the peppercorns in a dry pan on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir them occasionally to evenly toast the peppercorns. Once they’re fragrant, grind them in a spice grinder (or coffee grinder) until a fine powder. Sift the Szechuan powder in a fine-mesh sieve to make sure no big pieces are left in the powder.
Now it’s time to get the sauce going! In a saucepan, mix water, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger paste, minced garlic and salt. Turn the stove to medium heat until the mix starts bubbling. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 12 minutes. Then cover the saucepan and let it continue simmering for another 12 minutes. Strain the Szechuan sauce through a fine mesh sieve to make the sauce extra smooth.
Add the smooth sauce back into the pan, and add in the cornstarch slurry. Mix it into the Szechuan sauce until it has thickened. Sprinkle in the sugar, ground Szechuan powder, black pepper and coriander powder. On medium heat, bring the sauce back to a bubble. Then, lower it to a simmer for a few minutes. Remove the lid and take the sauce off the heat to cool for a couple minutes.
Pour in the vinegar and lime juice, then let the sauce cool completely. The sauce is ready to use in any way you like!
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE RECIPE
What flavor does Szechuan sauce have?
It is a blend of sweet and spicy. It isn’t too spicy though, so it’s great for those who aren’t good with spicy food.
How else can I use this sauce for?
You can use it for almost anything. Enjoy it with egg rolls, fish, or chicken nuggets!
How can I make it spicy?
The sauce itself isn’t too spicy, so to make it spicier add a bit of chili oil.
- Place the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge where it can last for a few weeks.
A tangy and sweet sauce that tastes great with almost any dish. It may have become famous from a cartoon, but its flavor is unforgettable.
- 1 ½ c water
- ½ c light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 7 tbsp granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp ground Szechuan peppercorns
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp coriander powder
- 3 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Juice of half a lime
- Toast the Szechuan peppercorns over medium heat in a pan for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Use a spice or coffee grinder to grind the peppercorns. Sift the ground peppercorns to take out any big chunks of peppercorn.
- Heat 1 cup of water, soy sauce, ginger paste, minced garlic, soy sauce and a pinch of salt on medium heat in a saucepan. Bring it to a slight boil, or until it starts bubbling. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook for 12 minutes. Place a lid on the pan and let it simmer for another 12 minutes.
- Strain the sauce and pour it back into the pan.
- To make a cornstarch slurry, mix the cornstarch in ½ cup of water. Add the slurry, sugar, ground Szechuan, pepper, and coriander powder. Similar to the previous step, bring to a bubble, then bring it back down to a simmer for 3 minutes. Take the sauce off the stove, remove the lid, and let it rest for another 3 minutes.
- Pour in the vinegar and fresh lime juice. Wait until it cools completely, give it a good stir, then enjoy!