Homemade Asian Sauces

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My husband and I are trying to eat more vegetarian meals and what better and easier way to serve them than to stir-fry vegetables in a wok.  It’s fast, low calorie, and keeps the nutrients inherent in the fresh veggies.  But the dishes can easily come out all tasting the same if you don’t flavor them with different sauces.  Here are five easy ones you can inexpensively make at home and save money on expensive store-bought brands.

Sweet and Sour Sauce


  • 1 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 1/16 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


Heat oil in a wok, stir in garlic and ginger, add the 1/2 cup of water, vinegar, sugar and ketchup, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, dissolve the cornstarch in water and stir in salt.

Once wok sauce is heated, add the cornstarch mixture and cook until desired consistency.

Thai Peanut Sauce

  • 4 teaspoons corn oil
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chili pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup of water

In a blender, combine corn oil, onion, garlic and hot chili pepper; blend for 1 minute.
Empty the mixture into a saucepan and place over low heat until the mixture starts releasing aroma. Add peanut butter and mix well over low heat.

Add water and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in vinegar and sugar; continue to simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Taste and add more vinegar and sugar if the mixture does not have the sour and sweet taste.

Place sauce in a shallow plate for satay dipping or pour over fresh salad.

Chinese Hot Mustard


  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup powdered mustard (found at a local Chinese grocery)
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil


Slowly stir the water into the mustard powder. Add the oil, stir and serve.

Fish Sauce


  • 12 to 14 anchovy filets
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce


Soak anchovies in water for about an hour. Strain, add soy sauce and stir.

Hot Chili Sauce


  • 6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. hot chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt


Mix chili powder and salt in a small glass bowl. Heat oil in a small sauce pan, slowly pour into the powder mixture, stirring constantly, and let stand until cool, about 15 minutes.

Carol #strivetosimplify

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