Word of the Day: Thixotropic

These are the kinds of words that show up at our dinner table. (To my husband’s credit, there was more than one scientist at the table, and it actually was part of a conversation about . . .drum roll please . . . the properties of mud flats.)

From Wikipedia:

Thixotropy is the property of some non-newtonian pseudoplastic fluids to show a time-dependent change in viscosity; the longer the fluid undergoes shear, the lower its viscosity.

Which, in English, means something is thixotropic if it’s normally sort of solid-looking but liquefies when it gets shaken up. Ketchup, for example. Or this barbecue sauce.

Apricot-Ginger BBQ Sauce 1

Recipe for Apricot-Ginger Barbecue Sauce
Recipe 188 of 365

It ain’t the real, slow-cooked kind of barbecue sauce, but it’s delicious and a bit spicy, with just a hint of sweetness. Slather it on chicken or pork while you grill it, or mix it with shredded beef and stuff into a burrito.

TIME: 20 minutes
MAKES: 2 cups

1/2 pound apricots (about 5 small)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup ketchup
1 – 2 teaspoons sriracha (Thai chili-garlic sauce), or to taste
1/4 packed cup brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Score the apricot bottoms with an X and cook for 1 minute in a pot of boiling water. Shock in ice water, peel, halve, and pit them.

Combine the apricot flesh, ginger, and garlic in a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Add the soy sauce, and puree again to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and stir in the ketchup, sriracha, and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a low simmer. Cook for 20 minutes at a low simmer, stirring occasionally. Season again, to taste, if necessary. Use immediately, or cool to room temperature and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week.

2 Comments

Filed under recipe

2 responses to “Word of the Day: Thixotropic

  1. Best… recipe… introduction… ever…

    • s*

      or peanut butter. i learned this word from my sometimes-scientist husband many years ago while watching the peanut butter grinder at our co-op churn out the freshly ground peanut butter. encouraging its thixotropicity (can i say that?) was definitely needed in order to coax the maximum amount of peanut butter into the jar.
      maybe it’s a (sometimes) scientist thing.

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