Homemade Hoisin Sauce (low-carb)

I made some Moo Shu Pork for dinner tonight.  We love the stuff!  But I needed some Hoisin Sauce to go with it and had none in the pantry.  All the commercial stuff either has sugar, high fructose corn syrup or molasses in the ingredient listing.  I checked my several recipes for this sauce (gathered around the net over the past 9 years) and the only two I had actually tried before were annotated “not so good” and “nothing special”.  :{

So I set about creating my own instead.  Since Hoisin is basically a seasoned plum jam/sauce, and I had an open bag of no-sugar-added prunes (which is just dried plums) in my pantry, I started with 10 of those.  Then I added a few ingredients that store-bought brands mention on their labels, guessing the amounts for those items, tasting as I went along.

Well, I’m here to tell you the final sauce came out pretty darn good!  Not exactly like the high-sugar stuff right out of the jar at the store, but I suspect it will taste much better and closer to that flavor when it has “aged” a bit.  We ate it while it was still warm tonight, so the anise (licorice) flavor in the Chinese 5-Spice Powder was pretty pronounced. That aroma and taste is already mellowing, after just a few hours, actually.   All in all, not bad for my first shot at a low-carb version of this essential Chinese condiment. Most commercial hoisin sauce has around 8 carbs per tablespoon, so this number is trimmed down considerably in mine.  Using liquid Splenda lowers carbs a tad more.

I’ll post the Moo Shu Pork recipe as soon as I can calculate nutritionals and get it typed up.  That dish I have been cooking for years, using Gloria Bley-Miller’s marvelous cookbook The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook  as my “Bible” for Chinese cooking.  I can cook Moo Shu pork blindfolded but have been holing off to obtain a couple ingredients I can’t get locally.  This sauce is suitable once you get to Phase 2 of Atkins, since it is used in such small amounts on the “pancake” that you will use to roll up the Moo Shu Pork.  This sauce is totally unsuitable for Primal or Paleo due to the soy beans, as all legumes are eschewed in those food plans.  Sauce should keep a long time in a jar in the refrigerator.  Mine is now 3 months old and it smells/tastes just fine.


10 large dried prunes (4 oz) Delmonte brand no sugar added

½ c. water

1 T. rice wine vinegar

3 T. low-sodium soy sauce (use regular if you prefer)

¼ tsp. Chinese 5-Spice powder

3 T. granular Splenda (liquid Splenda will lower carbs a smidge)

2 T. Eden soy black beans, well-mashed to a paste (or fermented black bean paste)

DIRECTIONS:  Place prunes in small saucepan with about ½ c. tap water.  Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer until they are soft, or about 5 minutes.  Mash well into the water with a fork until pretty smooth.  You can puree in a blender or food processor if you like, but I did not think this necessary.  Remove from heat.

Mash the beans on a paper plate to as smooth a paste as possible and stir into the prune mixture.  Add vinegar, soy sauce and 5-Spice powder to the pot and stir well.  Spoon into a serving dish or lidded jar and store any not used immediately in your refrigerator.  I do not know how long this keeps yet, and it sure has no preservatives in it.  But since it’s just made from dried fruit+vinegar (a preservative by nature)+soy sauce (fermented), I suspect a pretty long time.  Perhaps 2 weeks?  Maybe longer?  Just don’t know.  The soy beans will be what spoils first in this combo.  I’ll try to remember to post back my findings on that when mine no longer seems to smell/look right to me and I toss it out.  🙂

NUTRITIONAL INFO:   Makes about 1 cup (16 Tbsp.).  Each tablespoon using granular Splenda contains:

17.2 cals, 0.1g fat, 3.65g carbs, 0.51g fiber, 3.14g Net CARBS (2.89 NC with liquid Splenda), 0.45g protein, 101 mg sodium


5 thoughts on “Homemade Hoisin Sauce (low-carb)

  1. Pam Buckman

    Love the hoisin sauce! Now I can go to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant and have pho, having them substitute shirataki noodles for the rice noodles.

    I do have a request, though. Do you have a low carb substitute for oyster sauce? I’d love to make Thai beef and broccoli using shirataki fettucine noodles. The recipe calls for oyster sauce (as do many other Thai recipes); unfortunately oyster sauce has sugar.


    1. I’m so glad you liked the hoisin sauce. No, I have not developed an oyster sauce. Wouldn’t know where to begin on that one, as I don’t know what’s in it.

    1. Now you’ve got my creative juices going and I’ll consider creating this so it’s suitable for low-carb. Some research on the net will tell lme at least where to begin. Stay tuned. 🙂

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