This Indonesian seasoning can be purchased at Asian food stores, but this homemade version is so simple, why not give it a try? It is used in two of the following sauces.
Makes about 3 cups.
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 cups Chinese soy sauce
1/4 cup water
3 to 4 lemongrass stalks (about 10 1-inch pieces) or 1 tsp. sliced stalks
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Chinese star anise
Melt sugar in medium saucepan until completely dissolved and light caramel color. Gradually stir in soy sauce (mixture will bubble over if liquid is added too quickly); stir in remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes.
Cool 1 hour. Strain through several layers of cheesecloth into jar with tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate until ready to use.