Vegetable Stir-Fry Sauce

Sauteing vegetables in a wok
Dave King / Getty Images
Ratings (27)
  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: about 1/2 cup (3 to 4 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
11 Calories
0g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: about 1/2 cup (3 to 4 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 11
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 366mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
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.)

A vegetable stir-fry is only as good as its sauce, so it is important to prepare one with the right balance of ingredients. This vegetable stir-fry includes oyster sauce, rice wine, sugar, and chicken broth, and is thickened by a cornstarch slurry. The sauce works well with almost any fresh vegetables, such as broccoli, bok choy, bell peppers, and baby corn. If you like, to enhance the appearance of the finished dish, you can top the stir-fried vegetables with toasted sesame seeds.


  • 1/4 cup chicken broth (or water)
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • Vegetables (i.e. mushrooms, carrots, water chestnuts, bok choy, broccoli, etc.)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Optional: 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the chicken broth or water, oyster sauce, rice wine or sherry, sugar, and black pepper.

  3. In a separate small bowl, stir the cornstarch into the water. Keep both bowls near the stove.

  4. Stir-fry the vegetables. Once the vegetables are stir-fried, push the vegetables to the sides of the wok.

  5. Give the sauce a quick re-stir and pour into the middle of the pan. Bring to a boil.

  6. Give the cornstarch/water mixture another stir and pour into the sauce, mixing quickly to thicken.

  7. Stir to combine the vegetables with the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.

  8. Remove the wok from the heat and stir in the sesame oil.

  9. Serve, sprinkling the sesame seeds over if desired.


It is important to follow the directions when adding sauce to a stir-fry. If you add it along with the vegetables, then the vegetables will not be able to crisp up and obtain a crunchy exterior; instead, they will end up simmering in the sauce and simply get soft and mushy. You also want to wait to add the cornstarch slurry until after the rest of the sauce ingredients have had time to come to a boil; otherwise, the ingredients won’t blend properly and will not have a nice balance of flavors.

The cornstarch helps thicken the sauce and mixing it with water first (called a cornstarch slurry) prevents the cornstarch from becoming lumpy when it combines with the sauce. Sesame oil is best when added at the end of a recipe as a finishing touch; it has a low smoke point so will easily burn when in contact with high heat, as in a wok. The flavor is very concentrated so only a little bit is needed.

If you are stir-frying different types of vegetables, there are some techniques you'll want to implement to assure a successful dish. Keep in mind that certain vegetables will take longer to cook than others, and cutting them into even sized pieces as well as adding them to the wok at different times are ways to help them cook at the same rate. You also want to be sure to continue moving the vegetables around the pan to keep them from burning.