Kid-friendly Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce

Recipe: Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce

Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Volodymyr Plysiuk/
prep time
5 minutes
cook time
5 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce

Every chef needs a garlic sauce recipe up their sleeve. It’s a versatile addition to practically any Asian dish. Use it to flavor noodles, rice, and stir-fries, or as a stand-alone dip!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mince :

    to chop into teeny tiny pieces.

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

Equipment Checklist



Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C soy sauce **(for GLUTEN/SOY ALLERGY sub coconut aminos)**
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1 T white sugar
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper

Food Allergen Substitutions

Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce

  • Soy/Gluten/Wheat: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce in Garlic Sauce.


Spicy Sweet Garlic Sauce

mince + measure

Mince all 4 garlic cloves and combine with 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 pinch of salt, and 1 pinch of black pepper.

simmer + blend

Simmer all the ingredients in a small pot for 5 minutes over medium-high heat until all the garlic is soft and the sugar is dissolved. (Tip: For a less spicier sauce, cook the garlic a little longer.) Blend this mixture in a blender or using a hand blender until smooth. Serve warm drizzled over Sweet Yu Xiang Chinese Eggplant Stir-Fry (see recipe) or Japanese Tofu Crispy Katsu (see recipe).

Surprise Ingredient: Garlic!

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Photo by nafterphoto/

Hi! I'm Garlic!

"You might be familiar with my strong aroma and taste, but did you know that I'm the bulb of a plant with white, pink, or purple flowers! I'm used in many savory dishes that just wouldn't be the same without me!"

History & Etymology

  • Garlic has been grown for thousands of years in China, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used garlic in traditional medicine and cooking. 
  • It was found in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun, who lived from around 1341 BCE to 1323 BCE.
  • Galen, a Roman Greek physician writing in the 2nd century, mentioned garlic as a cure-all.
  • Garlic is native to many parts of Asia, and China produces the most, about 76 percent. 
  • Garlic has long been a staple in vampire folklore as a vampire repellent. Wear some around your neck; a vampire would not dare come near!
  • The word "garlic" comes from the Old English "gārlēac," from "gār" or "spear" (the cloves look like a spearhead) and "lēac" or "leek." 


  • Garlic, or Allium sativum, is a species of the Allium genus. It is related to chives, leeks, onions, scallions, and shallots. It is a perennial flowering plant that grows from a bulb. 
  • Garlic can be cultivated by planting a clove in the ground. It is usually planted in the fall and harvested in late spring or early summer. A stalk will begin to grow from the plant's center, and produce a flower bud, called a "garlic scape," which will eventually flower unless the scape is removed to encourage the bulb's growth. Garlic scapes taste like garlic!
  • A garlic bulb is made up of 10 to 20 cloves. The bulb and cloves are covered with white, papery protective leaves or sheaths that are removed before eating or cooking.

How to Pick, Buy & Eat

  • Garlic is almost ready to pick when the plant leaves turn yellow. It is time to harvest when the two lower leaves turn brown. If you dig out a bulb from the ground and the cloves have not fully grown into their skins, wait a little longer before picking the rest. 
  • You can eat garlic right after picking it or let the bulbs dry out (cure) so they last longer in storage. Lay them out where the air will circulate, or hang them from their stems in a shady, dry place. Depending on the weather, curing can take two weeks to two months. The roots will shrivel and become stiff, and the leaves will be completely dried out and brown.  
  • After removing the leaves at the neck of the garlic bulb, and trimming the roots, store the bulbs in a breathable container where they can remain dry. 
  • When choosing garlic from the market, the cloves in a garlic bulb should feel firm, not soft, when you squeeze them gently. If they are too dry, the space where a clove would be may feel hollow.  
  • When you are ready to use a few garlic cloves in a recipe, press down on the bulb, root side down, to loosen the cloves. Separate the cloves you need with your fingers and use a knife to trim the tip and root end. Then, lay the flat side of a large knife on a clove on a cutting board and press down on the blade to lightly crush the clove and release its skin, making it easier to peel off. It can then be used whole, sliced, or minced. 
  • Garlic is a root vegetable and an essential ingredient in many countries' dishes. You can use garlic to season sauces, spreads, salad dressings, meats, breads, and vegetables. It adds a warm, distinctive flavor to butter and mashed potatoes. 
  • Garlic produces a pleasant but pungent aroma; if it gets on your hands, there are several ideas to remove the smell from your skin. You can try various scrubs: a paste of salt, baking soda, and water; salt and lemon juice; or coffee grounds or instant coffee and water. Rubbing vinegar or tomato juice on your hands might work. Another method is to hold a stainless steel utensil under cold running water and then rub your hands on the utensil (or stainless steel sink). Supposedly, when the stainless steel molecules bind to the sulfur molecules in the garlic, the odor transfers to the stainless steel.


  • Garlic, especially raw garlic, has a few health benefits when eaten regularly. It is thought that eating 1 to 2 cloves a day may help to lower cholesterol, protect the heart, fight infections, prevent some cancers, and reduce blood clotting. A sulfur-containing compound in garlic called "allicin" is primarily responsible for these benefits.
  • Garlic can also be detrimental to health by contributing to acid reflux, and if a person is taking medicine to prevent clots, they may want to avoid garlic.

Let's Learn About China!

Photo by XiXinXing/
  • China's official name is The People's Republic of China. It became a republic in 1912; however, the first Chinese dynasty appeared around 2100 BCE. China is one of the largest countries in the world, and it has the most people!
  • The official language of China is Mandarin. However, various dialects are spoken in different regions of the country. For example, in Shanghai, they speak Shanghainese.
  • China is around the same size as the continental United States but only has one official time zone. The continental US has four.  
  • China's capital city is Beijing, while the most populated city is Shanghai.  
  • The Great Wall in China is the largest man-made construction on Earth, stretching an incredible 5,500 miles. Its builders used mortar that included sticky rice to bind the Great Wall's stones! 
  • China's land is diverse, with high mountains, low coastal lands, deserts, and damp tropical areas. Just like the United States!
  • The Chinese are known for their papermaking, porcelain, and silk cloth. In addition to paper, they also invented the compass during the Han dynasty (202 BCE to 220 CE), woodblock printing in the Tang dynasty (by 7th century), gunpowder in the Tang dynasty (9th century), and movable type made of porcelain (for printing) between 1039 and 1048 CE, during the Song dynasty.
  • Chinese cuisine varies by region. Climate, local agriculture, ethnic and class backgrounds, and outside influences all contribute to China's food diversity. There are eight major regional Chinese cuisines: Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang.
  • Wheat is farmed in northern China, so noodles and other foods made from wheat are consumed more in the North. On the other hand, rice is cultivated in southern China; therefore, rice is a staple in the South.  
  • Tea has long been part of Chinese culture across all parts of society. China was the first country to grow and drink tea and, today, it exports the most green tea worldwide.

What's It Like to Be a Kid in China?

  • School success is greatly emphasized in China. Chinese kids go to school five days a week (six days before 1995), and their school day runs from 7:30 or 8 am until 4 or 5 pm. After school, they might do homework for three hours.
  • In primary school, kids learn the Chinese language, which is made up of about 7,000 characters, not letters. The characters represent words. By the time they finish primary school, they will have learned about 4,000 characters. They will also learn a foreign language, especially English.
  • Kids may not have aunts, uncles, or cousins because, at one time, the Chinese government allowed couples to have just one child due to the high population. That later changed to two, and in May 2021, the policy changed again to allow three kids, so now a child may have a sibling or two. 
  • Some of the holidays that kids celebrate with their families are Chinese New Year, the Dragon Boat Festival, and National Day. National Day is celebrated with fireworks and parades to commemorate the formal proclamation of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. 
  • Kids enjoy playing ping pong, basketball, volleyball, and badminton. They also play video games and ride their bikes. 
  • Rice and noodles are staples, and kids may eat these at every meal. They'll eat their food using chopsticks, not forks!

That's Berry Funny

What is an ice cream cone's favorite vegetable? 


Lettuce Joke Around

I've started using garlic in my magic act. I crush it, add basil and some pine nuts, blend them together with some Parmesan and olive oil...


THYME for a Laugh

Did you hear about the dog who ate a bunch of garlic?

His bark was worse than his bite!

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