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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ultimate Stir-Fry Sauce

Ultimate Stir-Fry Sauce

The ultimate stir-fry sauce is about using the sauces in my pantry for a quick meal with lots of oomph in flavor. On the left are the umami flavors of Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce) and Chinese oyster sauce. In the middle are the sweeter black sauces of Indonesian Kecap Manis and Chinese hoisin sauce. I've covered all the black sauces in my post: Chinese Black Bean, Hoisin, and Oyster Sauces and Indonesian Kecap Manis. Then on the far right is Huy Fong's Sriracha chili sauce.

Adjust according to your taste, but the perfect ratio for me is 2 tsp each of the fish, oyster, kecap manis, and hoisin sauces and 1 tsp of the chili sauce. I sometimes add 1 or 2 tsp of rice wine or vinegar.

Mix and add to any stir-fry or use as a quick marinade. Double or triple the recipe for larger batches.

I know it sounds simplistic, but that's why it works.

These are sauces I always have on hand and they're easy enough to make on the spot. I actually really don't measure out the exact portions but eyeball those amounts when pouring into a bowl, mix, and stir-fry. Too easy!

I think what I like best is that the sauces are a combination of Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese (if I use mirin), Thai, and Vietnamese flavors. The fish and oyster sauces are salty enough that I don't need to add salt too. In the same line, the kecap manis and hoisin sauces are sweet enough that extra sugar isn't needed. Also, I've been loving kecap manis since its thickness means more concentrated soy sauce flavor, and the darkness gives a lovely color to marinades. And finish it all off with a little punch of spice, but not too much, with the Sriracha.

P.S. This is my 1,000th post!

Some stir-fry recipes where you can use this sauce include:
Banh Bot Chien (Vietnamese Fried Rice Flour Cake)
Banh Cuon Xao Bo (Vietnamese Rolled Rice Noodles Stir-Fry with Beef)
Banh Cuon Xao Thap Cam (Vietnamese Combination Rolled Rice Noodle Stir-Fry)
Banh Uot Xao Bo (Vietnamese Wet Rice Noodle Sheet Stir-fry with Beef), Bok Choy, Broccoli, Bean Sprouts, and Spinach
Chinese Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry
Mi Xao Don Chay (Vietnamese Vegetarian Crispy Chow Mein)
Mi Xao Don Thit Bo (Vietnamese Crispy Chow Mein with Beef)
Pad See-Ew (Thai Rice Noodles with Soy Sauce, Broccoli, Chicken, and Eggs)
Pho Ap Chao Bo (Vietnamese Pan-Fried Rice Noodles Sauteed with Beef)
Yaki Udon (Japanese Stir-Fried Udon Noodles)

1 year ago today, Cowgirl Chocolates.
2 years ago today, Blood Orange Granita.


  1. Congrats on your 1000th post! I remember reading an earlier post of you where you mentioned your ultimate stir-fry sauce and for the life of me I couldn't find it on your blog. Maybe I missed the hyphen in my search?

    Anyway, this sounds so insanely simple and yummy. I have that exact fish sauce! I was planning to ask you if you notice a difference in quality/taste of fish sauce based on price. I buy the Squid brand because it's what my family had and it's cheap. The other day I noticed a pretty big price difference between my Squid brand and other brands so I'm wondering if that equates to much better quality? I guess I'll just have to buy it and try it one day.

    Now I have to pick up the Indonesian Kecap Manis and Chinese hoisin sauce. I wonder if I can easily find the Kecap Manis in my local Thai market.

  2. Do you ever use Maggi seasoning sauce? I have a Vietnamese friend who uses that all the time, but I don't know much about it. Is it just sweet soy sauce?

  3. Congrats on 1000 posts!

    Strange that just yesterday I needed a kecap manis brand recommendation, and today it's in your post :)

    Thanks for the Daikokuya recommendation, by the way, my kid (& I) loved it.

  4. Vuthy,
    I just mentioned the sauce in my banh bot chien recipe from a few days ago. Hadn't gotten around to writing it up. You know I don't always go by dates. :P

    If you click on my fish sauce link, I explain why I cook with Squid (saltier and cheaper) and make sauces with Three Crabs.

    My sister loves kecap manis so much that she uses that solely as her all-purpose sauce.

    I use Maggi as I would soy sauce, but kecap manis is thick, sweet soy sauce so using both soy sauce/Maggi and kecap manis would be redundant. There's a Maggi post somewhere on the blog where I talk about the different types, but I often just use it as I would soy sauce.

    Thanks! Actually, the kecap manis post is from way back. :) I love Daikokuya. So glad you liked it too.

  5. Saw this today, made it with beef & broccoli, had no kecap manis so just subbed with some dark soy sauce & sugar... worked out great. Thanks :)

  6. Happy 1000th post! I'm barely at 200 yet... and its already been a year.

    Oyster Sauce+Hoisin Sauce+Soy Sauce= Definitely delicious! Chinese/Taiwanese/Hong Kong television cooking shows love this combo too, usually without the hoisin though.

  7. hi wc - congrats on your 1000th post! very cool!

    i need to get some kecap manis - i have everything else...nice to know that stir fry sauce is so easy to make with what i have on hand.

  8. Congrats on your 100th. entry! I've had the noodle sheets frozen for some time (since vyounwouldn't give us the recipe-LOL). This time!! Thanks! Frank - Nova Scotia.

  9. TS,

    Wow! That was fast! Glad you liked it. Dark soy sauce and sugar is the perfect substitute for kecap manis.

    I like how the hoisin sauce adds a nice sweetness contrast to the fish sauce, without being too sweet.

    Kecap manis is often located with soy sauce or if there's a separate Indonesian aisle at the grocery store. Haha. It's just my made up stir-fry sauce, can be anything you want!

    Thanks! I haven't given you the recipe because I haven't tried to make it yet. Haha! I usually just buy it for a few bucks. :P

  10. This is a wonderful addition to my sauce recipes. I made a double batch so that I can experiment with different additions. I first used it as written to some chicken fried rice. Then I did a stir fry pork and vegetable dish and added a bit of sesame oil as a finish. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Nancy,
    Yay! I love comments on old posts that let me know people are using some of the older recipes. I like your addition of sesame oil. I use that myself with the rest of the sauces in the recipe for marinades pretty often.


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