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Stir Fry with Chicken & Veggies: Need Sauce

anyone suggest some sauces for chicken and veggie stir fry?

My usual is the Soy Sauce, Olive Oil and the thickener, but I am tired of it and its too bland.

Suggestions appreciated

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  1. 1 cup of chicken broth or water
    2 Tbs black soy sauce
    3 Tbs Oyster sauce
    2 Tbs dry sherry
    2 Tbs Ketchup
    3 Tbs sugar
    4 garlic cloves (minced)
    1 Tbs finely diced ginger
    1 tsp ground white pepper (black is ok)
    Combine all in saucepan and bring to a boil.
    Cool and keep in fridge.

    I triple the recipe and freeze in portions.

    1 Reply
    1. re: billieboy

      See below (not responding here to you, billieboy. I wanted to respond to all three of you). Sorry

    2. Stock up on rice wine vinegar, mirin, sesame oil, regular and dark soy sauce. Experiment with adding and varying the proportions of the liquids. Play with the flavor by using garlic, red pepper, fresh ginger, sugar, and then a starch at the end to thicken if necessary. These are the primary ingredients for most stir-fry sauces and will be used if you want to follow a more disciplined recipe. There are no real wrong ways to make a stir fry sauce though - have fun.

      1. As others have advised, fresh ginger and garlic and dry sherry will brighten up your sauce, big time! Have fun experimenting!

        1. The above are spot on and this thread can be closed.

          Big, I'll only add fresh chile peppers to the ingredients and crushing all the diced solids - garlic, ginger, chiles, and maybe some oil (but never olive oil!) in a mortar and pestle and starting by wokking the paste in the very hot (not olive) oil prior to throwing in the chicken and veggies. One other, you can dredge the marinated chicken in the thickener (corn starch, arrowroot) for good results.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            No olive oil - but in the wok heat a combo of peanut and sesame oils then add crushed garlic and grated ginger...... some chile peppers as Sam advised.... Chop all your veggies the same size. Thinly slice your chicken. stir fry in the wok - then remove to a plate. add more peanut & sesame oils if needed and add the sliced veggies plus soy sauce & oyster sauce . Stir fry till veggies are wilted. put everything back into the wok and add a slurry made of cornstarch & cold water. Stir fry till thickened, taste for seasoning and add whatever you want to bring the dish to your liking.

            I say get all your veggies, meat, and sauce prepped beforehand and add everyting in order.

          2. Try this: Rinse, drain 1 TB fermented black beans, mash or chop w/1 clove garlic and mix w/ 1-2TB soy sauce. In hot pan, add (not olive) oil, salt, and the chicken and veggies (sliced and par-boiled if necess), and some or all of the sauce mixture. Stir fry a minute or two, add 1/2-1c chicken broth or water, cover until veggies are done, usually just another min or 2. Thicken if you want w/cornstarch-water slurry.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sarah

              I usually flavour the stir fry oil with a chunk of garlic and ginger before anything else. Then make a sauce with soya sauce, sesame oil, sherry or mirin, some black bean paste, some fermented tofu and chili, a bit of cornstarch, maybe some miso if you need yet another type of salt, chicken broth or water, sambal oelek .. try some variations on these and add only at the end of the frying process with enough water that it does turn pasty.

            2. I just noticed on your post that you use olive oil. I agree with Sam. Don't use it. Two reasons...It adds a none-chinese flavour and it burns at too low a temp for good stir-fry. Use peanut oil. It is a little pricier than canola or corn, but you don't use much..a couple of Tsps.
              Also try a splash of chili oil before the garlic and ginger.

              1. thanks for all the ideas,

                Can I get an idea how everyone actually cooks the stir fry? My method is too put the oil and soy sauce into the wok, heat the oil, add the chicken, cook, take out the chicken, add more soy and oil and then cook the veggies and at the end add the chicken back.

                any suggestions or am I doing this correct?


                4 Replies
                1. re: BigLouie

                  Sam can tell you better than anybody. Follow his advice if he comes on.

                  1. re: BigLouie

                    Read my response yesterday for a quickie stir-fry option. Instead of the bb sauce, you can just use soy or soy-oyster sauce combo...

                    1. re: BigLouie

                      That's basically what I do BL.... After you heat the oils add minced garlic and grated ginger for flavor and let that become fragrant then
                      add the chicken, etc. I add the soy sauce when I add back the meat.....See my response under Sam's.

                      1. re: BigLouie

                        Until Sam comes online and corrects me (please!), here's my method:

                        Cut everything into bite sizes
                        Order ingredients from long to fast cooking
                        Decide on the flavor profile (I typically make 2 stir fries for a meal so I want contrast)
                        Peanut/canola oil with garlic, ginger, mirin, lite soy, red hot peppers
                        Oil with sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, sugar, garlic, ginger
                        (Actually, I'm kind of making this part up since I smell and add/adjust as I go)
                        Heat oil until shimmering (very hot)
                        Quickly add garlic, ginger, and the longest cooking item - be careful not to burn
                        Add chosen oils, liquids, aromatics - not too much since the veggies will add moisture
                        Continue to add foods while continually stirring
                        Remove - this should take scant minutes to make
                        Adjust flavors if necessary (although it probably won't need it)
                        Dress with sesame seeds, parsley, cilantro as desired

                        I know most people use cornstarch or arrowroot as a thickener but I use such little oil and liquids when I stir-fry - I rarely do.

                        Hope Sam approves.

                      2. Your big flavor hits are going to come from garlic, ginger, and high heat. Before you cook anything -- meat, veggies, sauces -- grate or crush the garlic, ginger, and maybe a pepper or spice and add to the peanut or canola oil (not olive -- burns too easily and not an Asian flavor). Add this flavor to every cooking step. Do not add the soy at this point -- you want high heat, and the soy will burn and leave only bitterness and too much salt. Use soy as a marinade to be poured off or as a main flavoring agent in the final sauce -- buy a good quality Soy Superior or better a mushroom soy in a winesize and shaped bottle at an Asian grocery -- it will be much less expensive than the horrible La Choy or Kikkoman or store brands.

                        1. I use this one quiet often.

                          2 tbl Dry sherry
                          2 tbl Hoisin sauce
                          1 tbl Black bean sauce
                          1 tbl Vinegar
                          1 tsp Sugar
                          1/4 tsp chili paste, (1/4 to 1/2)
                          1 tsp. hot bean paste (optional)
                          1 tbl. black beans, rinsed and chopped (optional)

                          1. Fish sauce. Lime juice. In other words, look into Southeast Asian recipes for lighter and brighter stir fries. This addictive road will lead you to shrimp paste and chilis, eventually.
                            : )

                            1. I agree with those who - first heat the oil, toss in and stir the crushed up ginger, garlic, and chile, then the marinaded and lightly cornstarchede chicken, then the veggies in order of cooking time, and the liquids like soy sauce, possibly some stock depending on the dish, and possibly a bit of corn starch slurry if needed near the end.

                              Thinking about it, another element important to getting even , fast, and light cooking is tossing/flicking/salteando the ingredients with strong wrist action.

                              Big, let us all know how yoiur next batch comes out!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                thank you all very much. First I am going to hit an asian grocery store and stock my cupboard with the suggested ingredients and then I will start trying the various suggestions. thanks again folks