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CHINESE BLACK BEAN SAUCE

1 cupchicken broth
2 tablespoons black bean and garlic sauce (see note)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch (for sauce, not marinade)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper, or to taste
2 scallions finely minced

To use as a marinade: In blender, mix together broth, black bean and garlic sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, ginger and red pepper until smooth and well blended. Transfer mixture to a container, stir in scallion. To use as a sauce: In blender, mix together until smooth and well blended all ingredients except green onions. Transfer mixture to small saucepan and stir in green onion. Over low-medium heat, bring mixture to simmer, stirring constantly, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle small amount of sauce in center of plates, place cooked chicken, fish or meat on top and drizzle small amount of sauce over top.

Note: Some commercially prepared sauces are labeled "black bean and garlic sauce," others, simply "black bean sauce." Either is suitable for this recipe. Makes about 1 cup.


CHINESE PEANUT SAUCE

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic, or to taste
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup finely minced fresh cilantro, optional
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper, or to taste

In medium saucepan over high heat, bring broth to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. In blender, place hot broth, peanut butter, soy sauce and garlic. Puree until smooth. Add vinegar and sugar and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to container. Stir in cilantro. Season to taste with red pepper. The mixture can be used as a marinade immediately. Place mixture in shallow, wide pan and add chicken, fish or meat, turning pieces so all sides are coated. Before using as a sauce, let mixture stand at room temperature for 1 hour, or covered and refrigerated up to 1 day, to allow flavors to fully develop. Heat mixture over medium heat until hot. Transfer sauce to pitcher. When ready to use, drizzle small amount of sauce in center of plates, place cooked chicken, fish or meat on top and drizzle small amount of sauce over top. Makes about 1 3/4 cups.


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