When I was a beginner cook, I would make stir-fry chicken with a bottle of thick brown stir-fry sauce from the store. It wasn’t bad, but it did have a lot of sodium, sugar, and probably some questionable ingredients (I didn’t read much in the way of labels back then).
Once I decided to be more ‘legit’ and make my own stir-fry sauce, I went through iterations of several different recipes. I finally found one that I consistently like, and it’s this one.
This stir-fry sauce has a nice balance of sweet and sour, savory but not overly salty, with a hint of garlic and ginger.
And, depending on how long you cook it, you can have it more runny and juicy or thick and sticky, however you like it.
The best thing about having a good, dependable sauce as your base is that you can add whatever ingredients you like to your stir-fry.
Tofu, broccoli, carrots, onions, celery, snow peas, zucchini, bell peppers of any color… use your imagination (or, if you’re like me, whatever veggie scraps you have sitting in your fridge/freezer). Then you can serve that gorgeous stir-fry on a bed of rice (white/brown/cauliflower, steamed or fried), quinoa, or noodles. Here I served it with a very lazy (but nutritious!) version of fried “rice” – it’s actually a combination of seasoned, precooked brown rice and quinoa, with mixed frozen veggies stirred in.
By the way, I get these at Costco – they come in packs of 6. And no, I’m not being sponsored by “Seeds of Change” (although I should be, haha).
It’s not hard at all to make your own stir-fry sauce, and you’ll be rewarded with a much fresher flavor (not to mention, you’ll know what’s in it). I mix all the ingredients in the same measuring cup. You can choose to cook the sauce separately in it’s own pan (great idea if you want to make a double batch to keep some in the fridge), or in the same pan as the rest of your stir-fry ingredients.
Thanks and enjoy!
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
- 1/3 cup soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free option)
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar (preferably coconut sugar)
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- Optional: pinch red pepper flakes or 1 tsp. chili sauce, for heat
- 3-4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 2 tsp. fresh ginger, pressed or minced
- 1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- In a large measuring cup, combine 1/2 cup broth or water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes or chili sauce, if using. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger; saute for about 1 minute until fragrant.
- Pour in the sauce mixture; stir and let come to a boil.
- In the same measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup broth or water with the cornstarch. Slowly pour into the pan, stirring immediately to incorporate with the sauce.
- Let the mixture boil again, then reduce heat slightly and let simmer 2-3 minutes until slightly thick. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat. Add immediately to stir-fry, or let cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
To make this sauce in the same pan as your stir-fry (instead of separately):
Stir-fry your veggies/proteins as desired in a large pan or wok. Mix sauce ingredients in a large cup as described above. Make a little well in the center of your stir-fry pan; add oil, garlic, and ginger. Saute along with the rest of your ingredients, then continue cooking as described in steps 3-5 above.
Nutrition information below is for approximately 3 Tablespoons of sauce only. Does not count other stir-fry ingredients.