Chinese Garlic Sauce for Stir-Fries

Chinese garlic stir-fry sauce

The Spruce

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
36 Calories
2g Fat
4g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 236mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 4mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Chinese garlic sauce—similar to brown-sauce—it is quite popular in Western take-aways.

In Chinese cooking, sometimes stir-fried dishes can generate some liquid during cooking and a lot of Chinese chefs will stir in some potato starch water. Potato starch water is usually 1-2 teaspoons of potato starch mixed with a couple of tablespoons of cold water and this will “thicken” the sauce in the stir-fried dishes.

Regardless though of the authenticity of garlic sauce in Chinese sauce, garlic is a great ingredient with multiple health—and taste—benefits. Garlic is closely related to onions, shallots, and leeks and has been used in both cuisines and for medicinal purposes from at least the Egyptian times.

  • Garlic contains a compound called allicin which is great for your digestive tract.
  • Garlic contains manganese, vitamin’s B6 and C, selenium, and fiber
  • Contains very little calories. 1 ounce of 28 grams of garlic contains 42 calories, 1.8 grams of protein and 9 grams of carbohydrates.
  • It can help to cure colds and combat sickness.
  • Can help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Garlic also contains antioxidants that can help to prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
  • Research has been done to prove the exercise benefits of eating garlic. It has been proven to improve the performance of lab animals but tests in humans are so far inconclusive.
  • Garlic is good for your bones, given its high manganese content.

There is only one commonly used garlic type sauce in Chinese cooking which is used as a dumpling dipping sauce.


Click Play to See This Chinese Garlic Sauce Recipe Come Together


  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce (or according to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or peanut oil)
  • 3 to 4 medium cloves garlic (finely chopped; or 4 teaspoons chopped garlic)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauces, rice wine or sherry, chili sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl, stirring to combine.

  3. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in water.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until aromatic (around 30 seconds).

  5. Quickly re-stir the sauce, add it to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring. (This will take about a minute).

  6. Re-stir the cornstarch-water mixture and add it to the sauce, stirring to thicken.

  7. Use in your favorite stir-fries and enjoy!


  • With the exception of the rice wine or dry sherry, the seasonings for garlic sauce are available in the international food section of many local supermarkets. 
Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. US Department of Agriculture. Food Data Central.

  2. Ried K. Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Individuals, Regulates Serum Cholesterol, and Stimulates Immunity: An Updated Meta-analysis and Review. J Nutr. 2016;146(2):389S-396S.  doi:10.3945/jn.114.202192

  3. Pepa GD, Brandi ML. Microelements for bone boost: the last but not the least. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2016;13(3):181-185.  doi:10.11138/ccmbm/2016.13.3.181