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Thick Sauce in Stir Fry Chicken and Vegetables

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What do I use to get a thick sauce when I make stir fry chicken and vegetables in my wok? Sort of like the chow mein you get in a Chinese restaurant?

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  1. Cornstarch is the thickener of choice with me (make a slurry first, don't add the powder to the sauce directly), though other things can do it....okra, for example, though not typical to a Chinese stir fry will thicken up a sauce. Reduction over heat will work too, depending on your type of sauce and its components.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pinehurst

      +1 on cornstarch or potato starch. And you don't need much. A teaspoon or two dissolved in twice as much cold water should do the trick for the amount of ingredients that would fit into a wok for home use.

      I wouldn't recommend okra for stir fry, though, because it takes a little time over heat for whatever chemical it contains that thickens, and most stir fry really is a quick in and out job.

    2. You actually might want to start the cornstarch on the raw chicken. slice the chicken really thinly and toss with cornstarch, then set aside for 20 minutes. It "velvets" the chicken and then, once you cook, thickens the sauce.

      4 Replies
      1. re: katecm

        So I should use cornstarch on the chicken instead of flour?

        1. re: sfcpianoman

          That's what I do with all of my stir-fries.

          1. re: katecm

            Thanks katecm. I'll try it!!

        2. re: katecm

          That's an excellent suggestion, kate.

        3. Cornstarch or potato starch.... something along these lines.