Feel free to adjust this recipe to your taste — just remember you want a balance of savory, sweet and tangy notes.
3/4 cup apple juice or cider
1/2 can tomato paste
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
juice of 1/2 lime
2 cloves minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
pinch chili flakes (optional)
In a small pot combine the apple juice or cider, tomato paste, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, lime juice, minced garlic, smoked paprika, Chinese five spice powder and pinch of chili flakes (these are optional).
Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer, allowing to cook for and about 20 minutes —you want the sauce to reduce by at least one third.
Cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge. The sauce will thicken more once chilled.
If you are adding the chili flakes remember that a little goes a long way. So add a very small amount, taste and adjust after a few minutes of allowing the chili to integrate into the sauce.