Having trouble finding the perfect stir fry recipe? Why not create your own?! This requires no special ingredients and uses items you likely already have on hand or can purchase at the grocery — without making any trips to specialty shops. You can choose what items go into it so it can be low sodium, vegan, meat lovers, low or no added sugar, gluten free, or however you’d like it to be! Do you like your stir fry sauce sweet, spicy, tangy, thick or thin? It is your choice!
Warning: Heavy on the ginger. Start with 1/2 tsp and then adjust upwards to taste later on. It’s a great anti-inflammatory and I hardly taste it myself anymore after 5 cups a day of boiled fresh, reduced down, VERY strong ginger root tea.
Creating Your Own Stir Fry Sauce
To prepare tofu, meat, or poultry (optional) and begin making sauce:
Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil or sesame oil or coconut oil.
Stir in the following seasonings first to release flavors:
1 Tbsp onion powder,
2 tsp garlic powder,
¼ tsp ground black pepper,
2 tsp curry,
4 Tbsp ginger,
then once sort of paste is made pour in ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce.
Heat it through and stir in 2 to 3 Tbsp brown sugar.
Stir in chopped green onions (3 Tbsp to ½ cup) to taste.
Sauté tofu, meat, or poultry until glazed, and seared.
To finish preparing the sauce:
If not adding optional tofu, beef, pork, or poultry such as chicken or duck then simply make the above base sauce without adding those items before proceeding.
Add equal amounts of pineapple juice and broth. May use orange or apple juice instead if desired.
This should equal about a third to half the amount of sauce you think you’ll need to just coat your entire dish since additional liquid will develop as vegetables are cooked.
Otherwise, any extra sauce can be saved and frozen for future use if required.
You may remove the tofu, meat, or poultry if desired but only do so after simmering in the juice and broth to lend flavor to, as well as absorb flavors from, the broth for a few minutes. Or you can also just leave it there and proceed with making and perfecting your broth/sauce until later.
After simmers for five minutes taste test for desired sweetness. Adjust if needed by adding 1 Tbsp of choice of either brown sugar, granulated sugar, sucralose, unsweetened applesauce, or honey. Stir and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes and taste again. Repeat until desired sweetness, if any, is reached.
If you wish to add tanginess, stir in 1 Tablespoon choice of preferred vinegar at a time until desired tanginess is reached. Lemon and lime juice if desired may also be added 1 teaspoon at a time.
If you wish to add some heat for a spicy flair, add pinch of red pepper flakes and a few drops of Tiger or Sriracha sauce … careful it gets very spicy very quickly…start very slowly with 1 drop at a time until desired heat is reached (plus can always add more later while cooking or to individual servings after its cooked). Also, Tiger sauce can have a bit of a delayed effect so wait a few moments after taste testing before deciding if more is needed.
Note — especially if using Sriracha sauce — that any left overs and frozen saved sauce will develop more heat over an extended time. So if making enough sauce ahead to freeze for future use you will probably want to wait until then to spice it up much if at all. Otherwise, you can simply dilute overly spicy sauce in the future with additional freshly made sauce.
This is your moment of truth and the time in which to adjust your sauce to meet your personal taste preferences.
If desired or needed, add any additional seasonings, hot sauces, soy sauce, sweeteners, tangy vinegar, juices, broth, or even add a quarter teaspoon of salt if the soy fails to provide the desired saltiness. You may even add lemon or lime juice a teaspoon at a time if you want.
Just add small amounts at a time and slowly adjust to taste. If accidently add too much dilute it by adding additional broth, however, if adding things very slowly and gradually adjusting then you shouldn’t have any major or irreparable errors.
Note the amounts and write them down as you go along for future reference if you prefer that to making gradual adjustments later on.
Once you have your flavors just right then you may thicken the sauce if desired. If freezing some or all for future use you may wait until then to thicken or you may simply need to thin at that time with additional broth if the natural juices formed by vegetables isn’t adequate. Not everyone wants a thickened or gelled sauce. It is a matter of personal preference.
If using applesauce or apple juice you will find that in addition to adding natural sweetness that the sauce also gradually thickens or gels in the same way as adding cornstarch. This is because apples contain fruit pectin. Apples are where the pure fruit pectin powder comes from that is used in the canning of jellies and jams. If needed or desired, you can thicken the sauce further with the addition of a tablespoon more applesauce or juice (although it takes longer than cornstarch since the pectin must cook out first) at a time or simply add and whisk in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch at a time until the desired thickness is reached.
Note the amount if preferred for future cornstarch or apple slurry use.
Once your sauce is completed remove your tofu, poultry, or meat if you have done so already.
Pour your sauce up into a measuring cup or pitcher and set aside to be added to your stir fry a little at a time just enough to coat. Any left over can be frozen for future use.
Making stir fry:
Return tofu, meat, or poultry to pan (if actually used; not required).
If desired, add sesame seeds or other seeds or even nuts.
Begin adding vegetables and tossing with enough stir fry sauce to coat as needed.
Start with those veggies that require the longest time to become tender and gradually work your way up until adding those that take the least amount of time.
You’d want to stir fry items like sliced carrots and broccoli first, followed by onions and bell peppers, and save items like shredded cabbage and mushrooms until later.
When done add your cans (drained) of baby corn, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts.
Finally, items like spinach leaves would go in at the very last moment since no actual cook time required because they will wilt sufficiently in the hang over heat after the dish is removed from the burner.
Additionally, you’d want to add frozen veggies sooner to allow time to thaw and heat up before adding fresh veggies.
If a veggie is just right and you still have a ways to go spoon it out and set aside to avoid over cooking and stir it back in at the end. Eventually as you get used to adding certain veggies you’ll get better at adding them at just the right time.
Remember, you want your stir fry veggies to be tender but never soggy!
And another option is to lightly steam your veggies first then stir into stir fry with the sauce and just simmer a few minutes to meld the flavors. Not quite as flavorful perhaps as doing the other way but still good! You can even toss in left over veggies and meats!
*** Oh! NOW she tells me! ***
Yes, make the sauce ahead and you have tons more leeway with such things.
This is your creation so change things up as desired! I do the unthinkable and add Lee & Perrins Worcestershire sauce to my stir fry sauce along with the soy sauce whenever I’m making it with shaved or thin sliced beef as well as if using tofu.