Bring it all together
Yes, you can just sprinkle some soy sauce over your stir-fry, and it will taste good. But a little more prep and you can have something wonderful. A homemade sauce begins with about ½ to ¾ cup of an acidic liquid (like chicken or vegetable broth or citrus juices), 1 to 4 Tbsp. of a prepared sauce like soy, hoisin, or oyster sauce, and around 1 Tbsp. of a thickener (usually cornstarch or arrowroot). Other options include adding alcohol, like wine or sherry; citrus zest; or a teaspoon (or less) of sesame oil. After you return the cooked protein to the vegetables in the wok, pour in the sauce, stirring until it thickens and is coating the protein like a glaze. Remove to a dish, top with a handful of crunchy add-ons—like bean sprouts, peanuts, or chopped cashews—and you’re ready to serve.
|Even when you’re making your own sauce—such as Sweet and Sour Sauce (left) and Orange Hoisin Sauce (right)—you’ll most likely be using a prepared sauce as a base. Typically this would mean soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin, curry paste, or fish sauce. If you can’t find them in your local supermarket, try an Asian market (where they may be cheaper, to boot).|