Real Chinese All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce
My secret weapon for mid week meals - an All Purposes Chinese Stir Fry Sauce, a versatile base that makes a wonderfully glossy sauce for any stir fry, including stir fried noodles. Store it in the fridge in a jar for when you need it - just make sure to leave sufficient headroom in the jar so you can give it a good shake before using. This makes 1 1/2 cups of sauce which is enough for around 12 servings.
Prep Time2 mins
Total Time2 mins
Servings: 1 1/2 cups
- 1/4 cup / 65 ml light soy sauce (Note 1)
- 1/4 cup / 65 ml all purpose soy sauce (I use Kikkoman all purpose, or use more light soy sauce) (Note 1)
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup / 65 ml Chinese wine (or dry sherry) (Note 5)
- 1/4 cup / 40 g cornstarch / cornflour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil , toasted
- 1 - 2 tsp ground white pepper (I sometimes use 1 tbsp, I like the spiciness!)
Amount to Use (Note 6):
Stir Fry: I use 3 tbsp Stir Fry Sauce + 6 tbsp water to make a stir frying for 2 people using around 5 cups of uncooked ingredients (proteins + vegetables).
Noodles: I use 3 tbsp of the Stir Fry sauce + 5 - 6 tbsp water to make a noodle stir fry for 2 people using around 7 cups of the combined stir fry uncooked (vegetables - packed, proteins + noodles - if using).
By weight (Noodles & Stir Fry): Around 3 tbsp Stir Fry Sauce per 1 lb / 500g of combined ingredients (proteins + vegetables + noodles if using) plus 1/3 cup water.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in wok over high heat.
Add your choice of Base Flavourings - fry for 10 seconds or so to infuse oil.
Add stir fry ingredients in order of time to cook (starting with ingredients that take longest to cook), leaving leafy greens, like the leaves of bok choy, until when you add the sauce (otherwise they will wilt and overcook).
Add noodles (if using), sauce and water, your choice of Additional Flavourings and any leafy greens.
Gently toss to combine and to let the sauce cook for around 1 minute. The sauce will become a thick, glossy sauce that coats your stir fry.
Garlic, minced or finely sliced
Ginger, minced or finely sliced
Fresh chillies, minced or finely sliced
Additional Flavouring Suggestions
Sriracha, Chilli Bean Paste or other Spicy addition
Sweet chilli sauce
Substitute the water with pineapple or orange juice
Rice vinegar - for a touch of tartness
Fresh cilantro / coriander leaves, or thai basil - for freshness
Garlic or ordinary chives, chopped
Pinch of Chinese five spice powder
1. Light soy sauce is lighter in colour that the more common dark soy sauce, but it is actually saltier. The main reason for using light soy sauce in this recipe is so the colour is not as dark. So if you do not have light soy sauce, you can substitute it with normal soy sauce, but the sauce will be darker than it should be, and slightly less salty (but not very noticeable).
I use Lee Kum Kee brand for the light soy sauce and Kikkoman for the ordinary soy sauce. If you don't have all purpose soy sauce, just use more light soy sauce, and same if you don't have light soy sauce i.e. just use more all purpose.
2. If using dried rather than fresh noodles, add a few extra tablespoons of water. The reason for this is that dried noodles, even after cooking them (usually just by covering them in hot water in a bowl), absorb more liquids than fresh noodles. So you need more liquid to have a saucier finish.
3. To make this sauce vegan, substitute the oyster sauce with hoisin sauce. This gives the sauce a slight Chinese Five Spice Powder flavour which is thoroughly authentic!
4. This will last for weeks and weeks, depending on the expiry date of the ingredients you use. There is nothing in this that will go "off", so just check the expiry date of the ingredients you use in this, at use that as a guide. I usually use mine in about 4 weeks, but it will definitely last longer.
If you have it in the fridge for ages untouched, then you will need a butter knife or something to mix up the cornstarch that will settle and harden in the bottom of the jar.
5. Chinese Cooking Wine (Shaosing / Shaoxing wine) - this plays an important part in giving this sauce depth of flavour so it tastes like the sauce you get at Chinese restaurants. Without it, the sauce will lack "something". It's a cooking wine sold at supermarkets in Australia in the Asian section but much cheaper at Asian stores - here are the bottles I use. It has a very long shelf life - years and years (and it's used in 99% of the Chinese recipes on my site).
Best substitute is dry sherry, followed by Mirin or Japanese cooking sake. If you use Mirin, leave out the sugar in the recipe.
However, for those who cannot have alcohol, apple juice or grape juice is the best substitute. Otherwise, chicken broth/stock, as a second fall back, with 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar + 1/2 tsp sugar.
IMPORTANT: If you use a sub, then the shelf life of the sauce will be determined by the shelf life of what you use as the sub.
6. These quantities make stir fries that are nicely coated with sauce, but without pools of sauce. The stir fry is saucier than the noodles, so it soaks into the rice. With the noodles, the sauce clings to it really well so you don't need pools of sauce. If you want more sauce, increase the amount of Stir Fry Sauce used with double the amount of water e.g. If you add 1 tbsp Stir Fry Sauce, add 2 tbsp water.
7. Nutrition per serving (1 1/2 tbsp used per serving for a stir fry)
Serving: 18g | Calories: 34kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.7g | Protein: 0.6g | Fat: 1.7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.7g | Sodium: 504mg | Sugar: 0.9g