by Helen Chin Lui

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
Notes: Serves 4-6

This is a lovely and light sauce. It is quick to make. You can divide the sauce into two and serve the other half another day or freeze.  You can also double the recipe to keep some on hand in the freezer.  Use this sauce to top pasta or rice.


4 lbs meaty tomato, chopped.  Vine fresh plum tomatoes are your best choice, but you can substitute 2 cans 29 oz cans of diced tomatoes

¼ C olive oil

5-6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 T thinly sliced ginger

¼ t red pepper flakes (optional), or 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped, with or without seeds.  Including the seeds will add heat.

1 small red or white onion, sliced

½ C good dry white wine

¼ C Asian oyster sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ C fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly


To peel fresh tomatoes, fill a medium pot of water half way and bring to a boil.  Drop in enough tomatoes to fill the pot (do not overcrowd) and boil for 2-3 minutes, until the skin cracks.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and drop them into cold or ice water.  Peel the skin and set aside.  Be careful, as the tomatoes will be hot.  Repeat until all the tomatoes are peeled.  Once the tomatoes are peeled, slice them in half and gently squeeze to remove as much water and seeds as possible, and dice them into bite-sized pieces.

Heat a medium size pot over medium hot heat. Add olive oil to the heated pot.  The bottom of the pan should be covered with oil.  Add more oil if necessary.  Add chopped garlic, ginger and pepper flakes (or jalapeno pepper) to the oil and sauté until the garlic is browned. Once you are able to smell the garlic and ginger. Add sliced onion and cook until browned.  Add chopped tomatoes, wine, oyster sauce, salt and pepper.

Turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture to a boil.  As soon as it comes to a boil, turn down the heat to low, and simmer with the lid slightly tipped, for about 20-25 minutes.  If the sauce is too thin, simmer another 5-10 minutes on high heat with the lid OFF.  This will help to evaporate liquids.  Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the sliced basil.  Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serve with rice, spaghetti or rice noodles.


Italian Tomato Sauce

To turn this recipe into an Italian Tomato Sauce, omit ginger and asian oyster sauce.  Add 1 teaspoon of dried oregano and basil and 2 medium size bay leafs.

Seafood Sauce

In the last 2-4 minutes of cooking time, add 8 oz seafood – any firm white fish, shrimp, scallops or sliced calamari.  Do not cook the seafood for more than 2-4 minutes or it will overcook.  If you want to use clams or mussels, add them to the pot when 10-12 minutes of cooking time remain, and cook until shells open.  Discard any unopened shells.

Meat Sauce

If you want to add beef to your sauce, broil or grill either 8 oz steak, pork or chicken to desired doneness..  Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes.  Slice the meat thinly, add meat and juices to the sauce, and cook on low heat for another five minutes. You may also add a two cups of your favorite vegetables along with the meat sauce.

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