Hoisin sauce is one of the key ingredients in Chinese cooking. Sweet and somewhat spicy, this versatile, tangy reddish-brown sauce -- I know someone who puts it on pizza -- is made from soybean mash, sugar, flour, vinegar, salt, garlic, sesame and chilies. Hoisin can be mixed into stir-fries or used as a dip with Peking duck.
This unusual East-meets-West recipe for Asian-style meat loaf uses the ketchup-like condiment. Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, mix 1 pound each of ground beef and pork, 3 slices of day-old bread broken up into bite-sized pieces, 2 lightly beaten eggs, 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped celery stalks and 10 sliced water chestnuts. Season with 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander and 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce. Mix well. Pat into a shallow baking dish and bake uncovered in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Drain off any grease. Spread 1/4 cup hoisin sauce over top of meat loaf and continue baking for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving with rice and steamed veggies, or use it the following day to make fabulous leftover sandwiches.