Duck sauce is a sweet and sour sauce that has a long association as the perfect compliment to Chinese cuisine. It can be used as a glaze and an ingredient in recipes as well as being an ideal dipping sauce. It's made with dried fruit, sugar, and spices.
The basic ingredients duck sauce are quite common, and it's usually made with dried plums, dried apricots, vinegar, sugar, and a few spices. Because of the fruit, it's sometimes referred to as plum sauce or apricot sauce. In fact, when the sauce is used as an ingredient in some recipes, it will often be listed as by one of it's fruity names.
What makes duck sauce match so well with many Chinese dishes is the sweet and sour flavor combination. Many Chinese dishes use portions of chicken or fish that are deep-fried. Using a fork or chop sticks, a bite-sized piece can be dunked in the sauce before it is eaten. The result is a sweet and sour taste that is combined with the satisfying crunch of the fried batter. Along with the fried meats, the sauce is also great for dipping an egg roll or even mixing in fried rice.
Outside of Chinese cuisine, duck sauce can also be used as a glaze on various types of meat. Boneless chicken breasts can be coated with a layer and baked, for example, and even grilled fish can be spread with just a hint before it is grilled. The sauce works very well with wild duck as well, as one might expect. Spreading a little over the duck before baking and then a second glazing a few moments before the duck is ready to come out of the oven will give the meat a pleasing taste that adds a sweet and sour flavor to the natural juices.
The sauce can also be used on other items, and makes a good glaze for baked or barbecued spareribs. Brushing it on during the cooking process will help bring out the natural flavor of the spareribs, and also give them a wonderful presentation. Along with spareribs, baked and grilled pork chops can also benefit from this glaze.
As a sweet and sour dipping sauce or glaze, duck sauce is a versatile condiment that can easily dress up all types of food. It is commonly available at most supermarkets, although the ingredients can often be purchased at any supermarket or Asian food markets for cooks who want to make it at home.