Spiced Sweet Soy Sauce: A Sichuan Recipe


Spiced Sweet Soy Sauce is the soul of many Sichuan dishes. It’s traditionally used to season cold dishes, but we’ve found it adds tremendous flavor to simple stir fried vegetables and is an easy way to add a deep flavor to  many hot dishes. Its flavor is complex, but it couldn’t be easier to make.  It’s soy sauce with a bit of water simmered with cinnamon, star anise, Sichuan pepper, ginger, and date sugar or syrup. 

Once made, it’s a quick and easy way to add flavor to vegetables, noodles, dumplings, and meat.

We especially love to use it as a seasoning for cucumber salads, stir fried vegetables, sautéed greens, dumplings, and noodles! It also makes a great dip for cold hard boiled eggs! 

Take note: This Chinese style flavored sweet soy sauce is different from sweet soy sauce found in many Asian markets– that particular sauce is usually from Indonesia and is a much different sauce than this soy sauce.  



Ginger Root Fresh ginger is best for this recipe, but if it isn’t available ½ teaspoon of Dried Ginger Powder can be substituted. 

Korintje Cinnamon Stick. Korintje Cinnamon is a sweet mellow cinnamon that adds just the right balance of sweet and a bit of spice to this sichuan sauce. 

Sichuan Peppercorns. Sichuan Peppercorns are known for their numbing qualities, but they also have an intense citrusy flavor which shines through in this sauce. 

Star Anise. Star Anise has a subtle sweetness with herbal notes. It is a strong spice, and more is not better! One star anise will add plenty of flavor to this sichuan recipe. 

Fennel Seed. Fennel seeds add another layer of anise and sweetness to this Chinese recipe. 

Soy Sauce.

Use a light soy sauce. Light soy sauce has much less sodium when cooked down. If you need this recipe to be gluten free, tamari soy sauce works just as well as light soy sauce.

Date Syrup.

You can substitute date or brown sugar for the date syrup, but we love the rich sweetness the dates add to the soy sauce.

Technique or How to Make Spiced Sweet Soy Sauce? 

Simmer over low heat until it reduces by half which will be about 15 -20 minutes.  That’s all it takes!

Store in the fridge and this sauce lasts for months. 

Recipes That Call For Spiced Sweet Soy Sauce: 

Homemade Wonton Recipe

Sweet & Sour & Hot Tofu

Let’s Get Cooking!   

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Spiced Sweet Soy Sauce: A Sichuan Recipe

Difficulty: Beginner
Servings: 16



  1. Toast your Sichuan Peppercorns in a dry frying pan or wok over low heat until you smell the pepper or for about three to four minutes. Immediately, crush in a mortar and pestle or with a heavy pan.  After heating, they become quite brittle and will crush easily.  

  2. Add all ingredients to a saucepan, stir, and bring to a simmer.

  3. Allow to simmer until reduced to half.  This should take about 15-20 minutes.

  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month. 

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