I was laying in bed earlier today, failing to take a nap, but day dreaming about what makes Chinese food so darn tasty. Those thick voluptuous sauces that are so sweet and salty, and so delicious - I needed to attempt to recreate this. I've long been skeptical of using straight granulated sugar in savory foods, convinced that I could coax the sweetness out of vegetables. But it never quite compares to some of the sauces served at restaurants. After consulting my Chinese cookbook I convinced myself that plain old granulated sugar is the answer.
I put two pans on the stove; one for searing Skagit Valley Ranch pork country-ribs, and the other for sauteing veggies. While the pork got nicely browned, I sauteed onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, and summer squash. When the pork was perfectly browned on all sides I added some Bragg's Liquid Aminos (soy sauce), chicken demi-glace, and a splash of water. Then I put a lid on it and let it all simmer. Just before the veggies were done cooking I added some chicken demi-glace, Liquid Aminos, fish sauce, a pinch of granulated sugar, a small dollop of molasses, paprika, cinnamon, star anise, szechuan pepper, and salt. At the very end I added some chopped boc choy and turned off the heat.
Sugar is the answer. It works with the salt and other spices to create a truly well rounded flavor profile that fills your mouth with a comforting intensity. Oh and I made some wild rice pilaf to go with the pork and veggies also. Here it is basking in the sun and garnished with basil: