Kid-friendly Umami Sweet-Sour Soy Sauce Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Umami Sweet-Sour Soy Sauce

Recipe: Umami Sweet-Sour Soy Sauce

Umami Sweet-Sour Soy Sauce

by Erin Fletter
Photo by alinabuphoto/Shutterstock.com
prep time
5 minutes
cook time
makes
4-6 servings

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • measure :

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

  • slice :

    to cut into thin pieces using a sawing motion with your knife.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Small bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Whisk
scale
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Ingredients

Umami Sweet-Sour Soy Sauce

  • 1 green onion/scallion
  • 2 T soy sauce **(for GLUTEN/SOY ALLERGY sub coconut aminos)**
  • 1 T water
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil **(for SESAME ALLERGY sub olive or vegetable oil)**
  • 1 tsp sugar or honey

Food Allergen Substitutions

Umami Sweet-Sour Soy Sauce

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce in Soy Sauce.
  • Soy: Substitute coconut aminos for soy sauce in Soy Sauce.
  • Sesame: Substitute olive or vegetable oil for sesame oil in Soy Sauce.

Instructions

Umami Sweet-Sour Soy Sauce

1.
slice + measure + whisk

Slice 1 green onion into thin pieces. Measure and whisk together 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon water, 2 teaspoons vinegar, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Stir in the sliced green onion. Serve as a dipping sauce with Crispy Korean Kid-Made Veggie Pancakes (see recipe)!

Surprise Ingredient: Onions!

back to recipe
Photo by BearFotos/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I'm Onion!

"Did you know that onions are vegetables? My close relatives are chive, garlic, and leek, and I'm a distant cousin of the amaryllis and daffodil. I'm actually the edible bulb of the onion plant!  

History & Etymology

  • The onion is thought to be native to Asia, but there are also ancient remnants from Iran, India, and Egypt.
  • The Egyptians even worshiped onions! They believed their circular shape and layers symbolized eternal life, and often onions were placed in ancient tombs to bring prosperity to mummies in the afterlife.
  • Ancient Greek and Roman athletes used to eat onions to get strong, and they even rubbed onions on their bodies before competing in events like the Olympics.
  • In medieval times, people used onions as a form of currency! Imagine paying bills with a bag of onions!
  • Native Americans in Eastern Canada and the Eastern United States ate a species of wild onion, also called ramps or wild leek. 
  • China is the largest producer of onions. In the US, California grows the most onions.
  • Some people around the world say, possibly as early as 3,000 years ago in China, that onions can predict the weather. 
  • There is even a saying about onions and the weather that goes like this: "Onion's skin very thin, mild winter coming in; onion's skin thick and tough, coming winter cold and rough."
  • The word "onion" comes from Middle English from the Old French "oignon," based on the Latin "unionem," literally "union," indicating the unity of the layers of the onion. 

Anatomy

  • Onions are part of the "Allium cepa" genus. "Cepa" is Latin for "onion." The common onion plant grows from 6 to 18 inches tall. 
  • They have hollow green leaves that grow upward and fan out of a covered stem from the top of the bulb. Roots extend out of the basal plate at the bottom of the bulb into the soil.
  • The onion bulb is described as having a "globe" shape. It is made up of fleshy leaves that grow around the flower bud in the middle. These fleshy leaves are covered by scaly leaves, the onion's "skin," that dry out and become papery when it is time for the onion to be harvested.

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • There are lots of onion varieties! Green onions (also called scallions or spring onions) are mild in flavor, and both the bulbs and top leaves can be eaten. They are often found in salads and stir-fry dishes. They have a small, not fully developed white bulb end with long green stalks. The white shaft of the plant extends from the roots to the leaves.  
  • Yellow onions can be pungent or sweet. The Spanish onion is a common pungent variety typically found in grocery stores. The Vidalia is a sweet onion from the state of Georgia, and the Walla Walla is a sweet onion from the state of Washington. 
  • White onions have a sharp flavor and are often used in Mexican cooking. Red onions are sweeter than yellow and white onions and are used raw in salads and on burgers. 
  • The shallot is a smaller variety with a milder pungent flavor often used in sautéed dishes, sauces, and stocks. Pearl onions are tiny bulbs that are mild in flavor and great for pickling.
  • Store whole raw onions in a cool, dark location. Cut onions will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. Store them in an airtight container that will not absorb their smell (i.e., glass rather than plastic).
  • Onions can cause eye irritation and tears when you cut into them. This is because a chemical compound called syn-propanethial-S-oxide is released into the air when you slice an onion, and tears are produced to wash it away. 
  • Chilling onions in the refrigerator or a bowl of ice water before cutting them can decrease the amount of irritation. Other suggestions include using a sharp knife, holding a piece of bread in your mouth while you slice, or wearing goggles. 

Nutrition

  • Onions have a high water content, about 89 percent, and are low in calories. They contain low amounts of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients.

Let's Learn About Japan!

Photo by yamasan0708/Shutterstock.com
  • Japan is an East Asian island country with more than 6,800 islands! However, there are five main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu (called "Hondo" or "mainland"), Kyushu, Okinawa, and Shikoku. 
  • The country is governed by a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with an emperor, a prime minister, and a legislature. 
  • Japanese is the official language, with English becoming more widespread in business and education. 
  • Japan lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," contributing to its island geography. There are more than 111 active volcanoes, and Japan has the most earthquakes every year. Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain and volcano in Japan at 12,389.2 feet. 
  • Tokyo is Japan's capital and largest city. Japan's total area is 145,937 square miles, and its population is over 125.5 million. 
  • The Japanese word for Japan is "Nihon" or "Nippon." The Japanese or "kanji" characters used for its name mean "origin of the sun." This is the source of Japan's nickname, "Land of the Rising Sun." The red circle in the center of the Japanese flag represents the rising sun, or "circle of the sun." 
  • "Kanji" is a Japanese writing system that uses characters derived from Chinese writing. Each character represents a word or words. 
  • Ancient warriors of Japan were known as Samurai and were highly skilled swordsmen and fighters. 
  • Japan's national flower is the cherry blossom. The symbolism of the cherry blossom is abundant in Japan. The cherry blossom tree is also known as the Japanese cherry or "Sakura" (which means "cherry blossoms").
  • Haiku poetry originated in Japan. Haiku consists of just three lines, with the first line being 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables, and the 3rd line 5 syllables. 
  • Shigeichi Negishi, a Japanese engineer, created the first karaoke-like machine in 1967, using 8-track tapes and booklets for the lyrics. However, he was not successful in distributing his "Sparko Box" machines. 
  • Then, in the early 1970s, a Japanese musician, Daisuke Inoue, marketed tape machines, taped music, and amplifiers to bars to accompany regular people who wanted to get up on stage and sing, and his karaoke business model took off. 
  • Japan produces the most robotics globally. The ASIMO is a human-like robot created by Japanese engineers of Honda Motor Company in 2000. The acronym stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility.
  • Sumo wrestling is Japan's national sport, and like sumo, other martial arts originated in Japan, including karate, judo, kendo, jujutsu, and aikido. Western sports such as baseball, basketball, and soccer are also popular.
  • Since the 8th century, Coming of Age Day has been a holiday to celebrate a young person reaching the age of maturity—20 years old in Japan. Their special day serves to encourage them as they realize their adulthood. 
  • The Japanese tea ceremony is considered a traditional art in Japan, and some practice it as a hobby to share with family and friends. Tea was brought to Japan from China in the 9th century by a Buddhist monk. It is said that the ritual of drinking green tea began as a way for the monks to keep awake during meditation.
  • Japan has about four million vending machines, the highest per capita worldwide. The machines sell everything from hotdogs to underwear and soup to umbrellas!
  • In addition to sushi, other Japanese dishes include "soba" (thin buckwheat noodles), "teriyaki" (broiled or grilled seafood or meat with a soy sauce glaze), "tempura" (battered and deep-fried seafood, meat, and veggies), and yakitori (skewered grilled chicken). 
  • Many kids and adults enjoy bento boxes, which are lunch boxes filled with sushi and other snacks. Bento boxes are an experience with texture, shapes, and flavors!

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

  • Most school children in Japan wear uniforms, and their school breaks are shorter than in other countries. 
  • Kids have to learn 1,026 basic kanji characters by the time they finish sixth grade.
  • Parents and schools teach kids to respect their elders, teachers, and each other.
  • Primary school kids eat lunch together in their classrooms. A few students are assigned to get the lunches, serve them to their classmates, and return the dirty dishes to the school kitchen. Every student prepares themselves for lunch by cleaning their desks and washing their hands. In some schools they even put on a lunch uniform—a white garment and hat—to protect their clothes.
  • Some of the sports and martial arts kids participate in are baseball, soccer, swimming, judo, kendo, and karate.
  • School lunch may consist of rice or noodles, soup, fish or meat, fruit, salad, a cup of tea, and always a bottle or carton of milk.  
  • Two popular sweet treats kids in Japan like are "mochi," a molded cake made of rice, sugar, cornstarch, and water, sometimes with a sweet red bean filling, and "Pocky," a brand of chocolate-coated biscuit sticks.

Lettuce Joke Around

What did the boy do when he saw an onion ring?

He answered it!

The Yolk's On You

What do you call a hobbit with a healthy appetite?

Lord of the Onion Rings!

That's Berry Funny

Why did Mr. Potato Head have a cell phone?

In case Mr. Onion Rings!

The Yolk's On You

My cell phone got wet, so I put it in rice, but I don't think it's working.

The soy sauce just made things worse!

The Yolk's On You

What do you call an onion that won’t hold water?

A leek!

Lettuce Joke Around

I’m allergic to green onions.

Every time I eat them, I break out in chives!

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