It’s easy to get wrapped up in recipes, to go through the motions as you follow them, to forget to consider what you’re actually doing. I do this all the time.
Over the years, for instance, I couldn’t tell you how many soy dressings, soy dipping sauces, and soy marinades I’ve made, each some combination of ginger, garlic, sugar, mirin, sake, oil, vinegar, and chili paste. Each has been unique in composition, but very similar at heart: a balance of salty and sweet, acid and fat, and often heat.
I’ve loved nearly all of these sauces, and yet I continue to try new recipes in this genre, and I continue to stuff my abounding recipe file with more newspaper and magazine clippings. When will the madness end?