Is there anything better than Chinese takeout? The massive menus, the little cardboard containers with the metal handles, the fun of cracking open fortune cookies, and the utterly stunning amount of leftovers that fill your fridge all make for a more than satisfying culinary experience.
But often the monstrous pile of sauce packets that are inevitably included with your order is so large that the majority of them end up sitting around untouched for months until someone eventually tosses them in the trash. It's a tragedy that all too many people commit, and is particularly offensive in the case of the most delicious of them all — the Chinese duck sauce. It's tangy, it's gooey, and it certainly doesn't deserve the indignity of ending up in the garbage. Luckily, there is an easy way to make use of all that extra duck sauce — you can use it to make a marinade.
Thinking Outside The Container
Sure, dipping eggrolls in duck sauce is practically a national pastime (well, for most of the nation anyway, duck sauce is still not a thing out west). But the sweet, fruit-based flavor of the sauce makes for a perfect base for a marinade too. And it's hard to top its versatility as it plays well with everything from pork loins to chicken thighs to flank steak -- and many points in between -- giving a fun punch of Asian flavor to whatever protein you choose.
Although you could use it in its original state, a duck sauce is fairly mild all on its own. Typically, it's made from fruits like plums, apricots, and peaches -- or a combination of the three -- along with vinegar, sugar, ginger, and sometimes chili peppers. But none of those flavors jump out at you in an obvious way right out of the packet, which means a duck sauce marinade is best when paired with other ingredients.
Even just a bit of salt and some water to thin the consistency makes for a tasty and straightforward option when added to a trio of duck sauce packets. You can also pair it with other Asian-inspired flavors like soy, mandarin orange zest, garlic, and sesame oil to add complexity to the flavor. As with any marinade, experimentation is half the fun. After you add your meat, throw it in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors infuse before cooking.
What About The Other Packets?
Of course, duck sauce is just one in a pile of condiments that may get tossed in your takeout bag, and surely it's not the only one worthy of being put to good use once the leftovers are gone. Hot mustard is a fan favorite at any Chinese takeout spot, but it's also one of the most beloved, yet hard-to-find of McDonald's dipping sauces. Why not bust out one of those packets next time you have a few fries or McNuggets and save yourself the aggravation of the search?
Soy sauce makes for a great secret ingredient as it has about as many uses as WD-40 and can add flavor to all kinds of cuisine well outside the Asian realm. A drizzle in a carne asada marinade or a few drops added to grilled vegetables will pick things up nicely. It can also be used effectively as a substitute for salt, while adding a much-welcome dose of umami at the same time. And if you are lucky enough to find sriracha at the bottom of your bag -- yes, there has been a shortage recently -- its garlicky heat can be used to punch up everything from Mom's mac and cheese to your favorite egg salad sandwich recipe.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.