This Chinese Garlic Sauce is a flavorful, hearty, and satisfying brown stir-fry sauce. It’s a delicious and healthy homemade alternative to takeout and has the perfect combination of spicy, salty, and sweet flavors! The recipe is vegan, low in fat and calories, and can be made gluten-free!
I simply can’t get enough of homemade stir-fries. They are so quick and easy to make, and also pretty healthy since we don’t use artificial flavors (like MSG powder) or too much oil. What makes a stir-fry exceptionally delicious and flavorful? It’s the brown sauce! And here I am presenting you my best version of a homemade Chinese garlic sauce.
What Is Chinese Brown Sauce?
A Chinese brown sauce is a popular flavorful sauce in every Chinese takeout. The main ingredients are soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, sometimes oyster sauce, and a meat-based broth. You’ll find variations with beef broth or chicken broth. My vegan brown sauce is meatless, of course, and therefore contains vegetable broth.
Other ingredients often found in a Chinese brown sauce are cornstarch (to thicken the sauce), fresh garlic & ginger, and some spices like pepper, chili, and sesame oil.
How To Make Chinese Garlic Sauce?
This recipe has only 4 simple steps and it actually takes less than 10 minutes to make this spicy garlic sauce! Check the following step-by-step photos:
STEP 1: For the sauce, simply add all ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and stir with a whisk. Set aside.
STEP 2: Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the fresh garlic and ginger and sauté for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant. Stir frequently.
STEP 3: Whisk the sauce again as the cornstarch will sink to the bottom, then pour it into the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes until thickened, stirring frequently.
STEP 4: Use the garlic sauce immediately, for example, in your favorite stir-fry. Or let it cool completely and pour the sauce into a clean glass jar.
How To Serve?
This brown sauce is basically an all-purpose stir-fry sauce, which means you can use it in any stir-fry meal. My favorite way to serve this Szechuan sauce is over stir-fried broccoli. Have you ever tried broccoli with garlic sauce? If not, you are missing out! I also love to add slices of peppers, carrots, and onion.
The sauce also makes a great dip for summer rolls or even dumplings! The possibilities are endless!
Tips & Substitutes
How to store? Store sauce leftovers in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days.
Make it spicier or less spicy: If you love spicy Chinese (or Asian) food, simply increase the amount of red pepper flakes. You can also use fresh chilis or add a little hot sauce or Sriracha to taste! If you are sensitive to spicy food or have a toddler/kid, then leave out the red pepper flakes and use less fresh ginger.
Vegetable oil: You can use canola oil or any vegetable cooking oil of choice.
Sweetener: I used maple syrup, however, any other sweetener is fine. Some examples are agave syrup, brown rice syrup, or date syrup. You can also use regular sugar to taste.
Cornstarch: If you have a corn allergy, simply use arrowroot flour, tapioca flour/starch, or potato starch. Any starch is fine and will thicken the sauce.
Soy sauce: I used gluten-free dark soy sauce. You can also use a combination of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. Make sure to use tamari (or a gluten-free soy sauce) if you are a celiac. If you want a soy-free alternative then I would recommend using coconut aminos.
This Szechuan Sauce Is:
- Can be made gluten-free
- A little spicy
- Sweet, sour & salty
- Easy to make with simple ingredients
- Ready in less than 10 minutes
- Can be made oil-free
Should you give this Chinese garlic sauce recipe a try, please leave a comment below, and don’t forget to tag me in your Instagram or Facebook post with @elavegan and #elavegan because I love to see your remakes!
If you love Asian food, definitely also check out the following delicious vegan recipes:
Chinese Garlic Sauce
For The Sauce:
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp soy sauce (*see notes)
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (*see notes)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or less/more to taste
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (*see notes)
- 1/2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns or black peppercorns
- 2 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry (optional)
For The Pan:
- 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil (*see notes)
- 4 tsp fresh garlic minced (4 garlic cloves)
- 2 tsp fresh ginger minced
- Add all ingredients for the sauce into a medium-sized bowl and stir with a whisk. Set aside.
- Next, heat vegetable oil in a saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add fresh garlic and ginger and sauté for 30-60 seconds, stirring frequently.
- Whisk the sauce again, then pour it into the saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes until thickened, stirring frequently.
- Use the sauce immediately, for example, in a stir-fry or as a dip for summer rolls. Or let it cool completely and pour the sauce into a clean jar.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 or 5 days. Enjoy!
- Vegetable oil: You can use canola oil or any vegetable cooking oil of choice. You can also leave it out and use more vegetable broth.
- Sweetener: I used maple syrup, however, any other sweetener is fine.
- Cornstarch: You can use arrowroot flour, tapioca flour/starch, or potato starch.
- Soy sauce: You can use a combination of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. Make sure to use tamari or gluten-free soy sauce if you are a celiac. If you want a soy-free alternative then I would recommend using coconut aminos.
- Check the step-by-step photos above in the blog post.
- Recipe serves 4. Nutrition facts are for one serving (1/4 of the recipe).
If you are using Pinterest, feel free to pin the following photos: