I’m bringing up Chinese condiment packets because I’m in mourning that there won’t be any more Thanksgiving ham til next year, unless I make one. Hey, problem solved! Let me explain: I believe there is nothing more awesome than Chinese mustard for creating a ham glaze that’s spicy enough to offset the salty chewiness and sweetness from the excessive amounts of honey necessary to make the ham I’m referring to. But that’s not all those packets are good for.
First off, toss the soy sauce unless you absolutely have no other option. If it’s not in a brand-name packet, the dark liquid within is unfortunately not what it seems. Your soy sauce must have soy in it to be soy sauce, otherwise it is hydrolyzed vegetable protein, caramel coloring and salt sauce.
Now combine the three packets — duck sauce, hot mustard and soy (subbing in a teaspoon of real soy sauce if necessary), pour over literally any protein, marinate for an appropriate amount of time (half an hour to several hours) and cook in the manner that makes you most comfortable. Psychic Jess says: here’s how to cook a juicy chicken breast. Lunch expert Jess says: never been a better time for a tofu steak.
Another legit way to use up pretty non-legit seasonings (I admit, besides corn syrup I don’t actually know what’s in duck sauce) is by way of peanut noodles. Say you have a jar of peanut butter and oh, none of the other stuff. Packet trio to the rescue. Add the contents to a quarter cup of peanut butter, stir to combine and toss with noodles. Super good chilled. Cost: like, nothing.
Finally, the old standby I rely on to pad out lots of lunch columns, chicken salad! For this you’ll need, wait for it, the three Chinese condiment packets that came with your takeout, a squirt of mayonnaise, leftover shredded chicken, and if you’re feeling fancy, some kind of finely chopped onioney green produce such as scallions or chives. Actually those are the only two onioney green members of the produce family I can think of. Load this stuff into a baguette.
You had no condiments. You had no marinade. But, like so many others, you had a few sets of loose Chinese sauce packets rattling around in the back of the silverware region of that drawer, and now you have it all.
More condiment love on Food Republic: