Best Asian-Market Purchased sauce for stir -fried veggies?
I'm in Flushing New York and have access to fantastic Asian markets. I often make my own sauces for stir fries with ginger and garlic and sesame oil etc...However I want to have bottle of something to keep in the fridge for when I am uber-busy. I make a lot of pea shoot leaves ( dou miao) and choy sum. Any suggestions other than oyster sauce?
Like you said, oyster sauce is one. Other sauces I can think of as both useful for stir fried and for dipping:
Hoisin sauce (海鮮醬)
Black Bean Garlic Sauce (蒜蓉豆豉酱)
In my opinion, pea shoot leaves should not require any sauce aside from soy sauce. Choy sum can take on many sauces from plain nothing to soy sauce to even Hoisin sauce.
Try some sambal belacan (Malaysian) or sambal terasi (Indonesian) for those pea shoots. You can get these as a prepared paste with oil and seasonings in glass jars. Try kangkong (water spinach) with the sambal. Or other similar prepared shrimp pastes (e.g. shrimp paste w/ soy bean oil) similarly available in glass jars.
I presume you are using Lee Kum Kee brand of oyster sauce? If not, you should be.
For blanched-in-oily-water [rather than stir-fried] choy sum (and kai lan and tong ho and pak choy and wong nga pak and even the pea shoots if you wish; or lettuce especially romaine; or kale or chiffonaded collards or broccoli etc) - other than good oyster sauce (see above) I often use ponzu (soy) sauce + generous ground pepper (either white or black); sometimes a squirt of chili-garlic sauce (Lee Kum Kee is fine) + Kikkoman/good soy sauce.
With stir-fries that black bean garlic sauce mentioned by escondido is an option (don't overdo it) but not with all veggies; I personally wouldn't use it with choy sum. Other options include splashing some drunken chicken marinade in it (careful with it; but it works well for my taste) or some fish sauce (nước mắm)... Why not simply smash a clove or two of garlic, peel it and toss it in the oil? Takes 30 seconds. Then add the sauce of your choice, or nothing at all, besides salt. Or a splash of Shaohsing wine or that drunken chicken marinade I mentioned or your oyster sauce...
I have tried a few over the years, and honestly, the quality is awlays really, really sub-par.
That being said, my (Taiwanese) wife really liked Guy Fieri's stir-fry sauce. I think it is at least okay.
But really, the ones at the Asian markets are almost all gluey/salty/over soy sauced disasters.
I totally agree about bottled sauces. But I just found
one I love : Thai yellow curry sauce. I don't use it
straight, though -- I add it to my own sauce with chicken
broth, corn starch, sugar, lemon juice and garlic. Obviously,
you can use any additions you like, such as ginger.
For a little heat, try Thai red curry paste.
There is one Thai brand I really like. it comes in a little cardboard container, and when you get it, it is in a bag on the inside. The package reminds me of a pint of ice cream. If that is the brand you are thinking of - I totally agree. Alkl of those curries are good. But, not really for stir frying. I tend to cook the vegetables and protein on the side, then add in at the last minute. And I add Thai basil from the garden. Dang that is some good stuff.