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Stir Fry Sauces and Seasonings

There are so many delicious sauces and seasonings that it is impossible to list all of them. Following are those that are most commonly used in stir fries:

Soy Sauce
There are several different versions of Chinese soy sauce as well as many different brands and versions made by other countries. The basic soy sauce found in your local grocery store is known as light soy (not to be confused with lite salt soy.) This is a light brown, thin, salty sauce made from fermented soy beans. There is also Chinese dark soy, which is a darker, sweeter soy sauce that contains molasses; and thick soy which is just the dark soy, thickened. Finally there is the mushroom soy which has mushrooms added for flavor.

Hosin Sauce
A sweet and spicy thick sauce made from fermented beans, garlic and vinegar, Hoisin is used both as a condiment and to add flavor to stir fries and other dishes. This can usually be found in the ethnic section of your local grocery store.

Oyster Sauce
This is a thick brown sauce made from oysters, which may have to be sought after at an oriental grocery store.

Fish Sauce
This is a very salty sauce made from fermented fish which is mainly found only in oriental grocery stores.

Xo Sauce
This is an interesting spicy fish sauce made from dried fish and shrimp. It can be used as a condiment or for flavoring almost any Chinese dish. This is usually only found in oriental grocery stores.

Bean Paste
Made from fermented beans, there are several varieties of both sweet and salty bean pastes. These can be found at any oriental grocer.

Vinegar
Both white vinegar and rice wine vinegar are used in stir fries. There are several different types of rice wine vinegar, some of which can be found in the ethnic section of your local grocery store. Rice wine vinegar can usually be substituted with standard cooking sherry if needed.

Chili Sauce
There is a sweet chili sauce, a hot chili sauce, and a hot chili garlic sauce; all of which are made with chili peppers and rice wine vinegar mixed with additional spices for the variations. These can all be found pre made, usually in the ethnic section of your local grocery store.

Basic White Sauce
This sauce can be made from scratch using soy sauce, chicken broth, sherry, sugar and sometimes ginger.

Basic Brown Sauce
This sauce can also be made from scratch using soy sauce, beef broth, sugar, and either Hoisin or oyster sauce. There are some basic stir fry sauces that can be found pre made either in powder or liquid form in your local grocery store.

Garlic Sauce
Found either brown or clear, this sauce is made from a mix of garlic, ginger, oyster sauce and chicken broth. Sesame oil and/or seeds may be added to make a sesame garlic sauce. Pre made versions can usually be found in the ethnic section of your local grocery store.

Sweet and Sour Sauce
This sauce can be used as a condiment or to flavor stir fries. Made from vinegar, sugar, ginger, soy sauce, and ketchup it can also be found pre made in the grocery store.

Kung Pao Sauce
A very spicy sauce made from soy, rice wine vinegar, sugar, dried chilies and roasted peanuts. This sauce is famous for its dishes such as Kung Pao Chicken.

Hunan Sauce
Hunan is a very spicy sauce made with dried chili peppers and their seeds, usually mixed with a basic white sauce or just some soy sauce and vinegar.

Szechuan Sauce
An authentic Szechuan sauce is made with Szechuan peppercorns usually mixed with a white sauce. These peppercorns are often substituted with hot red crushed or whole chili peppers or white pepper.

Orange Sauce
Made by adding orange juice and sometimes orange peel to a basic sauce and usually mixed with a sweetener.

Lemon Sauce
Lemon juice and or lemons usually mixed with a basic white sauce and sometimes sweetened.

Sesame Sauce
Sesame oil and sesame seeds are mixed with soy sauce and a sweetener. This sauce can be used in stir fries or with deep fried dishes such as a deep fried sesame chicken.

Peanut Sauce
Peanut butter and or peanuts are mixed with a white sauce and a sweetener.

Lobster Sauce
An authentic lobster sauce is made from a basic white sauce with ground pork and fermented black beans. An Americanized take out version of lobster sauce consists of mainly sherry, soy sauce, and chicken broth.

Black Bean Sauce
Made with fermented black beans, this sauce can often be found pre made at your local grocery store.

Curry Sauce
Curry powder is usually mixed with a basic white sauce or another base sauce.

Seasonings
Listed are some seasoning that are frequently used in stir fries along with the sauces.
White Pepper
Szechuan Peppercorns
Ginger
Green Onion
Onion
Cashews, Almonds, and other nuts
Litchi and other fruits
MSG
Five Spice Powder This is a blend of star anise, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.
Cornstarch or arrowroot - These are both thickeners that can be used interchangeably in the same amounts.

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