How Do I Choose the Best Chicken Stir-Fry Sauce?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 26 October 2019
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As you look for a chicken stir-fry sauce, consider the different ingredients and flavors in it and consider matching the sauce to the rest of the dish. For example, if you are cooking a stir-fry that includes mushrooms and scallions, then you might use a savory sauce that compliments these flavors. If you would like a chicken stir-fry sauce that adds a great deal of flavor, however, then choose one that creates contrast in the dish. This allows you to build additional flavors into the stir-fry through the sauce, rather than needing to add more ingredients to the dish.

There are a number of ways in which chicken stir-fry sauce can be prepared, usually as part of making the actual stir-fry itself. One of the simplest ways to choose the best sauce is to simply use ingredients and flavors already present in the dish, to ensure that the sauce compliments the rest of the stir-fry. If, for example, you are using peppers and chili flakes in the dish, then you might consider a chicken stir-fry sauce that includes chili oil to compliment those flavors.

The basis of the chicken stir-fry sauce itself can also be inherently complimentary to the rest of the flavors. Using chicken stock as the base for the sauce often works well and provides more flavor than water. Common ingredients such as soy sauce and garlic add fairly neutral flavors that usually work well with any stir-fry.


A more dynamic and complex chicken stir-fry sauce can also be created through the use of ingredients and flavors that are in contrast to the rest of the dish. For example, if you are using fairly neutral flavors in the stir-fry, such as carrots, peas, and cabbage, then you can create a chicken stir-fry sauce that has a strong flavor. The use of fish oil or chili oil can make a sauce powerful and interesting, while providing contrast that brings out the flavors of the original ingredients.

Exercise caution when using a chicken stir-fry sauce, however, as it is possible to make a dish that clashes with itself or is too intense. Using ingredients that work well together can potentially become overpowering, especially with strong sweet or salty flavors. If you are using potentially sweet ingredients, like certain peppers or onions, then a sweet sauce can make the dish too intense. Similarly, contrasts in flavors should be used sparingly, as some hot and sweet combinations may be effective, but too many different tastes at once can become overwhelming.


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Post 4

My favorite chicken stir-fry dish was cooked with pineapple and red bell peppers. It had a hint of sweetness that was offset by a salty sauce, and the combination was perfect.

I'm not sure what all was in the sauce, but I do remember detecting garlic and soy sauce. There was probably more to it than that, though.

The sauce was rather chunky. I think it had bits of pineapple in it, too. The saltiness of the soy and the savoriness of the garlic were the perfect partners for it.

Without the sauce, the stir-fry would probably have been too sweet. The chef who made it certainly knew what he was doing.

Post 3

@lighth0se33 – I think that soy sauce goes great with chicken stir-fry dishes, too. Teriyaki is a bit too sweet for my tastes, but soy is nice and salty.

In fact, when I am making stir-fry chicken and adding a bit of soy, I know that I can leave out the salt altogether. I add ginger and garlic to flavor the chicken, but I make a point to avoid reaching for the salt shaker.

Many Asian restaurants serve soy sauce in a little dish along with their chicken stir-fry platters. It is just assumed that you will want to dip your chicken in it. I think that they know best about choosing sauces to go with the food that they have prepared themselves, and I have taken their advice in my own kitchen when choosing sauces.

Post 2

@Kristee – A hot dish and a hot sauce never go together. Even if your friend had made a curry sauce to go with the curry chicken, it would have been too much.

In some cases, sauces that match the flavor of the food work great, though. Consider teriyaki stir-fry dishes served with teriyaki sauce. My husband makes a stir-fry chicken teriyaki with rice and vegetables that is even better when dipped in a teriyaki-based sauce.

He pours pure teriyaki sauce onto the food while it is cooking. For the sauce, he uses a mixture of mayonnaise and teriyaki.

This takes some of the intensity out of the teriyaki, and it adds thickness to the dip. So, even though the flavors match, they aren't exactly alike.

Post 1

I have had some chicken stir-fry sauces that really clashed with the food before, and it kind of ruined my appetite for the whole meal. My friend was just learning to cook, and she didn't realize that the two would not mesh.

She had made a curry chicken stir-fry, and this was intensely spicy, but good, at least when eaten by itself. The sauce had a sort of Mexican flair, because she had added jalapenos and chili powder to it.

She thought that a spicy dish should be served with a spicy sauce, but in fact, the opposite is true. If your food is spicy, you need a cooling sauce to soothe your tongue and tone it down a bit.

This is why restaurants often serve ranch with buffalo wings. It helps take the burn out of the wings and keeps your tongue from bursting into flames.

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