Chinese Red Marinade

Chinese Red Marinade
Dr. David James Killock/Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 1/4 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
413 Calories
1g Fat
97g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 413
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 4858mg 211%
Total Carbohydrate 97g 35%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 81g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 13mg 64%
Calcium 88mg 7%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 747mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe is a delicious Asian-inspired marinade for almost any kind of meat, fish, or vegetable. Like the Chinese barbecue sauce called char siu, this marinade includes Chinese spice powder, soy sauce, sherry, and garlic and imparts a reddish color to the food; honey, chili sauce, and ginger round out the recipe, bringing a little sweetness and spice to the marinade.

Chinese five-spice powder can often be found in the grocery store's spice section but is fresher, less expensive, and more authentic when bought at an Asian market. You can also make your own, which requires cloves, fennel, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, and Chinese cinnamon; the Sichuan peppercorns are toasted first, which brings out their flavor and aroma, and then all of the spices are blended together.

There are several different types of Asian chili sauce, ranging from sweet to spicy. Use whichever style you prefer and whatever heat level you can handle; a Sichuan variety will be very hot, while sriracha or Thai chili sauce (nam chim kai) will be milder.

No cooking is required to make this Chinese red marinade, so it's quick and easy to put together. Any leftover can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. This recipe is enough for three to four pounds of meat or chicken; if preparing a larger quantity of meat, simply double or triple the marinade recipe. Use this marinade with sirloin or flank steak, boneless chicken or chicken thighs, salmon or shrimp, tofu, or vegetables such as eggplant and peppers.


  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) honey

  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) dry sherry

  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) chili sauce

  • 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) freshly grated ginger

  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) Chinese five-spice powder

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Add all of the ingredients to a glass or plastic bowl and mix well.

  3. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in ​the refrigerator for up to 5 days after preparation.

  4. Enjoy.

How to Use

Marinate red meats for 6 to 24 hours, poultry for 2 to 12 hours, and vegetables for 1 to 2 hours. Marinate fish and seafood for just 15 to 30 minutes. Be sure to refrigerate while marinating.


You can use some of the marinade to baste the food while it's cooking. Either set some of the Chinese red marinade aside before adding the meat, or once the meat is on the grill, boil the marinade for at least one minute. This is to be sure it is free of any contaminates since it was in contact with raw meat or chicken.