Brown sauce doesn't sound particularly appealing, does it? But, I assure you, that basic brown sauce is a quick and easy way to turn a collection of steamed, roasted or stir-fried vegetables into a really good, comprehensive meal.
Some brown sauce recipes (and, I assume some restaurants' brown sauce) uses beef broth as a base, but it's really not necessary; you can get the same rich, deep flavor with vegetable broth. Though giving it a bit of a helping hand with Bragg's Liquid Aminos (GF) or Maggi liquid seasoning (not GF) is a good idea; just substitute one tablespoon of it for one tablespoon of the soy sauce. When you use the proper ingredients, this sauce is both vegan and gluten-free, which is really handy if you ever find yourself needing to accommodate a lot of dietary requirements. For it to be gluten-free, though, you must use a GF soy sauce (and no Maggi, as noted). I use San-J tamari and like it quite a lot. If you don't have a gluten sensitivity, though, you can use standard soy sauce. I also use Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base as my vegetable broth of choice.
Serve this with some steamed baby bok choy, carrot slices, water chestnuts, and baked tofu (or whatever you like!) over white rice. It's delicious.
Basic Vegan/GF Chinese Brown Sauce
serves 4-8, depending on thickness
3 tablespoons gluten free tamari or soy sauce
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic (optional)
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon cornstarch (less, if you prefer a thin sauce)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar to taste)
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (optional)
Combine tamari, broth, ginger, garlic, and molasses in a small saucepan and heat on medium. Whisk in cornstarch and continue whisking until it thickens. For a thinner sauce, remove right away; for a thicker sauce, continue whisking and cooking over low heat. Add vinegar to taste (it will thin slightly) and sesame oil.