• Yield: 1 cups

  • Time: 10 minutes prep, 10 minutes cooking

This recipe is very dear to my heart, as it was my first attempt to use ingredients that didn’t normally go together, but made sense to me. In Asian cooking, vinegar is often used to cut saltiness from soy sauce or other ingredients. For me, balsamic vinegar has the perfect mix of sweetness, acidity, and body to combine with the brown sugar and soy sauce here.

[Ed note: use this sauce as part of the prepration for Bill Kim's recipe for Honey Soy Flank Steak.]

Korean BBQ by Bill Kim Korean BBQ by Bill Kim


  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch, or as needed

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce


In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch dissolves and the mixture is the consistency of heavy cream, adding more cornstarch if the mixture is too thin.

Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir the cornstarch mixture briefly to recombine, then stir it into the soy-vinegar mixture and simmer over low heat for about 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from the heat, let cool completely, then refrigerate in an airtight container. This sauce will last for months without going bad.


Reprinted with permission from Korean BBQ: Master Your Grill in Seven Sauces, copyright © 2018 by Bill Kim with Chandra Ram. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.