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Old 03-14-2009, 02:50 AM   #1
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Favorite Stir-Fry Sauces/Noodles?

I am now beginning to experiment with stir-fry. It seems the basic formula is to heat up the wok, throw in some oil, fry the meat, remove the meat, fry the veggies from most dense to least dense, add in your sauce (either with corn starch already mixed in or mixed in a separate bowl with some water), wait till the sauce bubbles and thickens, stir in meat and veggies until everything's coated and good to go.

What are your favorite stir-fry sauces? I made one today with water, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, some old sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar. I just threw it together randomly, and it came out way too sweet and thick. I figure I just need the right formula.

Also, what are your favorite noodles for stir-frying, and how do you prepare them? If I buy those dry rice-stick noodles from the asian store, do I just soak them in water for 15 minutes and stir fry them?

Thanks for the help!

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Old 03-14-2009, 07:02 AM   #2
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I cook rice stick noodles until they are tender then refresh under cold water before using in a stirfry, they are excellent! Dont soak them, cook them. Oyster sauce is a favourite with us also as is black bean sauce. Especially with beef and broccoli. Yum! Recipes for sauces made from common Asian or Japanese ingredients abound so do a search here to see what comes up.

I also use Udon noodles often and usually with a Japanese flavour like salmon and teriyaki sauce. Hokkein noodles are great with chicken and cashew nuts.

Have lots of fun stirfrying...it is a common way of cooking here in New Zealand given our large Asian and Japanese population, and it has spread to we natives! Cant beat one pan cooking....lol
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Old 03-14-2009, 10:59 AM   #3
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My favorite "quicky" stirfry sauce is a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, a couple of tablespoons of dry sherry, & a tablespoon of chili-garlic paste/sauce. This can be tweaked many ways with the addition of soaked & drained fermented black beans or fermented black bean paste, oyster sauce, hoison sauce, or whatever combo appeals to you or matches the dish you're making.

Also - don't be afraid to taste a little of your sauce before adding it. There's nothing in it that will hurt you, & even tho intense, it will give you an idea ahead of time as to whether or not it'll end up too sweet, or too spicy, so you can fix it before adding it to the other ingredients in the wok.

As far as noodles, as Lynan stated, I also always cook mine in boiling water & drain thoroughly before adding to a stirfry. Even the rice variety. The soaking method mentioned on the packages has never worked out well for me. I understand that "bean thread" noodles, which end up jellylike & translucent, do require soaking rather than cooking, but I'm not a fan of those, so have never bothered with them.
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:34 PM   #4
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I went ahead and made the noodle stir-fry last night by boiling the noodles as you all suggested. I also used the dry sherry/soy sauce/chili garlic sauce with a tiny bit of cornstarch in it. Worked great! Glad I asked first, haha.

I need to go back to the asian store today to grab some baby corn, bamboo and chestnuts. Oh, and some black bean sauce.
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:46 PM   #5
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Glad you enjoyed it. It's a good base that works well on its own, but is also very easy to tweak in any direction you want.
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Old 03-15-2009, 05:04 PM   #6
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Don't forget the oyster sauce, Turkeyman. I made an oyster sauce, soy, sherry, and sesame oil sauce the other day that was very good. I just add and taste, add and taste. I'll have to try the chili-garlic paste.
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Old 04-17-2009, 04:12 AM   #7
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I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets puzzled by the varieties of noodles available. Actually, I get confused with the differences between rice noodles and bean thread noodles. They look very similar to me, and one needs to be soaked, the other get boiled right away. BOTH, though, require very careful watching, or will turn into a glutinous mass of mess. I'm talking the very thin varieties I like (we don't see the more fetuchini style ones I used to buy in Hawaii around here, and actually wasn't that fond of). When I buy them in my local grocery, they come with instructions that work fine. But I often buy them (both bean threads and rice sticks, or as we used to call it in Hawaii, long rice) in Asian groceries, and .... well, no instructions in English. I'm getting better at guessing! Which need boiling, which soaking, how long? But I can never resist, I love to experiment with any kind of thin noodle and buy them all.

I have found that both rice sticks/vermicelli/long rice and bean threads work better in a stir fry (chop chae, Singapore rice noodles, etc), if, after cooking or soaking, whichever is appropriate, and before tossing in the wok/fry pan, integrate better with your other ingredients, if you rinse, then take a pair of scizzors and cut, cut, cut. It will keep you from winding up with a mass of noodle and your vegetables, meat, sauce not permeating the mass. And, I swear, it is easier to overcook these noodles than it is any other type of pasta I've ever dealt with.
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:02 AM   #8
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Christopher Ranch makes a jar of shredded ginger - with their garlic in your supermarket - that is an easy way to add a lot of flavor.

I've had a lot of success using bottled Asian marinades as a sauce - I usually just throw in some extras like ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, etc.
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:35 PM   #9
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I usually eat my stir-fry with rice, as they soak up most of the flavor and make for a yummy next day's lunch as rice cakes!

As for the frying, sesame seed oil or olive oil always seemed a simple and flavorful way to fry the meat and veggies.

I never liked sauces, and the only one I do like is teriyaki which I occasionally throw onto the chicken.

Otherwise I don't put any sauce on it besides soy sauce with no corn starch, not only is it healthy and lite but it's never sweet.

Bac choy and small corn are great additions too.
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Old 04-20-2009, 08:16 AM   #10
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I am a massive fan of wheat noodles. They are very thin, and come in little rolled "buns"... take 2 1/2 minutes to cook. Better than bean thread noodles by a mile. :)
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:43 AM   #11
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There are several recipes for stir-fry sauces here:

Cooks.com - Recipes - Stir Fry Sauce

I noticed none of you mentioned using chicken or beef broth in your sauces. I am no expert, but the ones I have made always used one or the other.
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:52 PM   #12
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I use a similar combination, hoisin, oyster sauce and soy sauce. I don't add sugar though, because the hoisin is already sweet enough for me. I like to stir fry rice noodles with that sauce combination. I soak the noodles until they are bendable. Probably 30 minutes, then I stir fry them. I have been using this recipe for a while now and it's turned out really well each time. I add some soy sauce at the end though. The recipe is a little different since it says to marinate the meat with the sauce, then stir fry, instead of adding the sauce to the whole tihng.
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:07 PM   #13
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I like the PaDang Thai peanut sauce when I have no time to make my own. Great on chicken salmon veg etc.
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Old 04-23-2009, 01:33 AM   #14
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Stir-fries are easy to make. It's the least time consuming thing to make in my opinion. I usually stock my house with soy sauce, fish sauce and some sort of oil. So, to make a yummy delicious stir fry. I would brown some garlic and/or ginger (basically some spices, if you're daring throw in some curry at the end), then brown the meat (if desired) throw in some sort of vegetables, add some salt, a little bit of sugar, finish it off with a little fish sauce or soy sauce. It should be yummy.

Stir-fry is the first thing I've ever actually learn how to make. Experiment with different things like garlic or ginger or sesame or a combination. Add lemon or lime to add some zest into it. Cook with different type of oil like peanut oil, sesame oil, or coconut oil, etc. For taste and flavor you would want. As for hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, and teriyaki sauce. I rarely use them. Unless, I specifically want that specific taste. But it's really up to you.

It's all about creativity really. Good luck.
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