HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Need a basic stir fry sauce

bwillia Apr 11, 2007 04:18 PM

I wanted to make a stir fry tonight, and wanted just a basic sauce to go with some vegetables I have on hand - broccoli, asparagus, onion, and mushrooms. Preferably something with garlic. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. m
    mojoeater RE: bwillia Apr 11, 2007 04:21 PM

    sesame oil, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper and soy sauce. mmmm.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mojoeater
      bwillia RE: mojoeater Apr 11, 2007 04:23 PM

      Do you know how much of each ingredient or do you just eyeball it?

      1. re: bwillia
        mojoeater RE: bwillia Apr 11, 2007 07:29 PM

        I eyeball everything. I think I own measuring cups, but am not sure where they are. If you like ginger a lot, put in more ginger. If you like it spicy, add extra red pepper, etc.

      2. re: mojoeater
        ConchGoddess RE: mojoeater Jan 22, 2012 06:21 PM

        Simple and perfect! I am SO glad I happened upon this site first off when I put in a search for a stir fry sauce. No need for amounts, just blend to your own taste. I mixed it in a bowl and added it to the wok about a minute before the veggies were done. Totally yummy! Thanks!

        1. re: mojoeater
          nooodle RE: mojoeater Aug 6, 2012 07:38 PM

          yes, you can add more or less items to this basic one, lovely. i throw in some lime if i have it or any other citrus, there's always the addition of rice vinegar or non sauce ing. like cilantro, cumin, nuts, fresh chili... stir fry in our house is fry up whatever we have on the day!

        2. t
          tkalex9052 RE: bwillia Apr 11, 2007 04:32 PM

          sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, crushed ginger and a few red pepper flakes. Mix to taste.

          1. h
            howchow RE: bwillia Apr 11, 2007 05:43 PM

            1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
            3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
            1 tablespoon sherry or Chinese cooking wine
            1 tablespoon sugar
            1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
            1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
            1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
            1 tablespoon peanut oil
            3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
            1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

            In a small bowl, combine the stock with the soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch slurry, vinegar and sesame oil. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
            In a medium saucepan, heat the peanut oil until shimmering. Add the ginger and crushed red pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant and golden. Add the stock mixture and boil over high heat until thickened and glossy, about 1 minute.

            I usually add some garlic and some fresh orange juice instead of all that stock and 1/4 t. salt - I think this is really nice because it gives you a lot of sauce - I don't like a dry stir fry, especially over rice.

            good luck.

            2 Replies
            1. re: howchow
              mamaciita RE: howchow Apr 11, 2007 07:44 PM

              This is almost exactly the sauce I make for stir-fry. I generally use brown sugar and add finely sliced scallions.

              1. re: howchow
                shrtyduwop RE: howchow Mar 28, 2008 12:31 PM

                Thanks howchow, i made it last night and it was great! i used pineapple juice instead of the broth and added 2 cloves of garlic also.

              2. Sam Fujisaka RE: bwillia Apr 12, 2007 08:25 AM

                Technique rather than recipe: add the aromatics--garlic and ginger to the hot oil.

                Toss in the vegetables and perhaps a bit of fermented black beans. If used, throw in the cornstarch slurry with enough time for the starch to thicken and cook a bit.

                Add what makes up the "sauce" right near the end--chili, touch of sugar, wine, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce...

                Traditional stir frys are done quickly with all cooking and putting together of ingredients in the same wok.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                  MakingSense RE: Sam Fujisaka Apr 12, 2007 07:37 PM

                  Good advice from Sam as always.
                  Aromatic - garlic and ginger in the hot oil. I usually leave mine in large pieces, the better to make sure they don't burn in the high heat of the wok. If they start to, I can snatch them out quickly.
                  Toss the veggies and meat in the proper order. Those that need the most time first.
                  Then at the very last minute, add the sauce. I generally include the cornstarch with the other sauce ingredients since it seems to take only seconds to coat the hot food. It cooks through quickly.
                  You should vary the ingredients in your sauce according to what you include in your stir fry. Sauce is not a kitchen sink. One size does not fit all. Just because it was terrific with beef doesn't mean it will make shrimp or snow peas taste good.
                  Don't add a lot of sauce because you don't want to turn your beautiful stir fry into a steamed, sodden mess sitting in a pool of glop. The sauce should coat every piece of food and just leave enough to drizzle gently on the rice you'll probably serve with the stir fry.

                2. singleguychef RE: bwillia Apr 12, 2007 12:23 PM

                  I have basic stir-fry sauce made up depending on the Asian style of cuisine, but they generally create a mix of aromatics and a sweet-savory taste. Here's my general ingredients:

                  Chinese: Sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic/ginger, and oyster sauce.

                  Japanese: Sesame oil, soy sauce and Mirin (sweet rice cooking wine)

                  Vietnamese: Fish sauce, sugar, lemon juice and chili.

                  Also, for a variety on the Chinese stir-fry, I use a black bean sauce from the jar and add the other ingredients mentioned above.

                  And yes, I eyeball it in terms of how much of each. Generally enough to coat all the meat or whatever I'm stir-frying. When I mix all the ingredients ahead of time in a small bowl, I add just a little bit at a time in my hot wok. I don't pour it all in. Again, by adding a little at a time, you can adjust to how much food you're cooking and also not drown out the heat in your wok.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: singleguychef
                    Hotspots RE: singleguychef Jun 22, 2013 07:14 AM

                    Great! Most Stirfry recipes have so many ingredients, I'm tired before I begin. These are simple, yummy and quick!! Thanks

                  2. z
                    zorgclyde RE: bwillia Apr 12, 2007 09:46 PM

                    The garlic would go in the beginning with very hot oil.
                    I think if you have good ingredients a good sauce would just be a high quality broth and some salt/white pepper/a little cornstarch. Rice wine would be optional, to personal taste.
                    But as previous poster said, technique and timing is everything. Key is to get the veggies crisp on the outside and juicy inside.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: zorgclyde
                      bwillia RE: zorgclyde Apr 17, 2007 11:04 AM

                      What is the purpose of cornstarch? Most stir fry recipes ask for it, and I'm not sure what it adds to the meal.

                      1. re: bwillia
                        jrhsfcm RE: bwillia Apr 17, 2007 11:42 AM

                        Cornstarch is a thickening agent.

                        1. re: bwillia
                          singleguychef RE: bwillia Apr 17, 2007 01:16 PM

                          yes, it's simply for thickening. Most Western dishes are accustomed to flour, but Chinese dishes uses cornstarch. I feel it also has less chances of leaving an aftertaste like flour sometimes does if not cooked all the way.

                          1. re: bwillia
                            MakingSense RE: bwillia Apr 17, 2007 02:30 PM

                            Cornstarch is a thickening agent. It thickens very quickly without the raw taste that flour has, as singleguychef says. This allows you to add it at the end. Flour tends to make a sauce opaque while cornstarch sauces are closer to translucent. Prettier. It also allows the sauce to coat the food. A little of it goes a long way though, so use a light hand to avoid gloppiness.

                            1. re: MakingSense
                              chef chicklet RE: MakingSense Mar 28, 2008 01:29 PM

                              Yes, I use 2 to 1 ratio of cornstarch, for whatever sauce base I choose to use....but sometime make it thinner and I use broth instead of water. It all depends on the amount of food in the wok, so this is a hard answer to give exact portions.

                              Basic sauce was a hard one for me to think of an answer.
                              Pineapple, fresh ginger, a little brown sugar, with chili paste is nice with pork and chicken.

                        2. arifa RE: bwillia Apr 18, 2007 11:19 AM

                          i like the sauce in this recipe:

                          this one is also good on broccoli:

                          1. Hank Hanover RE: bwillia Jun 23, 2013 07:54 AM

                            ere is a basic one. You can add 2 tsps of cornstarch to it to thicken if you like.

                            Soy-Sesame Stir-Fry Sauce
                            1/4 cup chicken broth
                            1/4 cup soy sauce
                            2 tsp rice wine vinegar
                            2 tsp toasted sesame oil
                            1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
                            1 tsp sugar
                            Combine all in a 1-cup measuring cup.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Hank Hanover
                              Hotspots RE: Hank Hanover Jun 23, 2013 10:57 AM

                              Thanks, I love stir fry but hate all the ingredients. Usually just grab a bag each of coleslaw mix and zucchini slaw mix; mix them together in large ziplock. Keeps for a week or so and really cuts down on prep time. I just need a good easy sauce.

                              1. re: Hotspots
                                Hank Hanover RE: Hotspots Jun 30, 2013 07:32 AM

                                I have seen a bag of stir fry vegetables in the frozen food section of the store. If you had 1 or of those in the freezer and kept a pint of basic stir fry sauce in the fridge and kept packets of small chunks of chicken and pork in the freezer, an emergency dinner would only be 10 -15 minutes away.

                                I keep some rice in the fridge, too.

                            Show Hidden Posts