Preparing an excellent all-purpose Chinese stir-fry sauce takes less than 10 minutes! Combining savory Asian ingredients will boost the taste of any meat or vegetable stir-fry recipe.
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Stir-fry is a great option when you’re in a pinch of time but looking for a fast, flavorful, and wholesome meal. It’s a one-pan wok dinner that can be filled with healthy proteins and vegetables. One way to speed up meal prep is to make a quick homemade stir-fry sauce with simple ingredients. Just stir and simmer!
This versatile sauce combines Asian-inspired flavors. Soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and a touch of honey. That’s it! It adds a delicious savory glaze to wok-fired ingredients.
Stir-fry sauce ingredients
Soy sauce and oyster sauces add a rich, umami flavor. Shaoxing cooking wine adds depth. It’s made from fermented glutinous rice, wheat-based yeast, and water. Dry sherry or Japanese Mirin sweet cooking wine can be substituted. Honey adds a touch of sweetness for balance. Brown sugar or granulated sugar are good swaps.
Sesame oil adds a roasted flavor. The key to adding body and glossiness is using a little thickening agent, like cornstarch or arrowroot powder, which is whisked right into the mixture. Add red pepper flakes, chili oil, or Sriracha for a spicy taste. For zing, add fresh ginger or minced garlic. For tanginess, add rice vinegar. The sauce is very customizable.
Sauce yield and use
This easy stir-fry sauce recipe makes about 1 cup, plenty to add to about one pound of protein or four cups of vegetables. You can add as much sauce as you like or save half for another meal later in the week. Make sure to shake or whisk before cooking, as the cornstarch will settle to the bottom of the container over time. This sauce is also great for noodles like chow mein or lo mein.
A good rule of thumb: Use ½ cup of sauce for every pound of protein and four cups of vegetables.
Storing the sauce
Make a batch of the stir-fry sauce and store it in an airtight container like a mason jar in the refrigerator. The sauce can keep for up to a week. I often double the batch and portion it out for each day to make meal prep easy.
How to use a stir-fry sauce
Stir fry the vegetables and proteins first. Colorful and crisp bell peppers, carrots, bok choy, and green beans make great additions. Thin slices of chicken, pork, beef, or tofu make for a hearty meal.
The sauce should be added to the hot pan at the end of cooking. To thicken the stir-fry sauce, use medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Make sure to stir constantly! The elevated temperatures allow the starches to swell and instantly thicken the liquid in under a minute.
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Properly adding a thickening agent to sauces
When using cornstarch or arrowroot powder, the fine white powder needs to be whisked and fully dispersed in cool-to-room temperature liquid. This process creates a slurry mixture, which does not clump when added to a hot pan. If the dry powder is added directly to the hot liquid, it will swell too quickly and form lumps that are difficult to blend into a sauce. Use 2 ¼ teaspoons of arrowroot powder for 1 ½ teaspoons of cornstarch.
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- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- ½ cup unsalted chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine, optional
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Mix the Ingredients – In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together soy sauce, oyster sauce, chicken stock, cooking wine, and honey. Add cornstarch and whisk until most of the powder is dissolved and no lumps remain. Add sesame oil and whisk to combine.
- Storing – Transfer to a glass jar or container and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Make sure to shake or whisk the sauce before cooking.
- Add to a Stir-Fry – Follow the instructions of your favorite stir-fry recipe to cook the protein and vegetables. Add the sauce to the center of the pan or wok over medium-high heat, stirring until thickened, 60 to 90 seconds. Stir to combine all ingredients.
- Recipe Yield: 1 cup. Typically, ½ cup is used for 1 pound of protein and 4 cups of vegetables. However, this makes extra to serve on the side.
- Make it Vegan: Substitute hoisin sauce for oyster sauce. Substitute vegetable broth/stock for chicken stock. Use brown sugar, granulated sugar, or maple sugar instead of honey.
- Make it Gluten-free: Make sure the oyster or hoisin sauce is labeled gluten-free. Use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos. Use Mirin or sherry instead of Shaoxing wine.
- Storing: Store uncooked sauce in an airtight container for 1 week in the refrigerator. The cooked sauce can be stored for up to 3 days and reheated before use.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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