Spring Stir Fry: DIY Universal Stir Fry Sauce

My favorite stir fry.

“Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot 9 days old.” 

My garden peas have pushed through the soil, still tiny but looking strong. For some reason, that childhood rhyme came to mind, so indulge me! 

Peas are really a lovely seasonal vegetable, so when they’re abundant, peas are in my meal rotation a lot. 

These legumes are good for you, too. Peas are high in fiber, low in fat and a good source of vegetable protein.

Pea varieties

This year I’m growing sweet sugar snaps. You can find those, along with snow peas, usually year round at the grocery. Both have edible pods. 

English peas are the real plump peas. These you have to shell and are the ones often frozen or canned.

Check out the photo to see the 3 kinds and how they differ, looks wise.

Left to right: Snow, Sugar Snaps and English Peas

Sauté peas in a bit of butter with shallots and/or fresh mint. Yum!

Or try them in this family favorite stir fry. No need to buy stir fry sauce when you can make a batch at home. 

I made this on my cable show recently and got to feature my indispensable pepper and salt mills.

I have been using Peppermates for over 2 decades and just received some complimentary new ones from the company to test out. Still highest quality. In fact, my older ones are still OK to use, but the crank doesn’t turn as easily as they once did.

These mills fit in my hand well, and the outside wipes clean easily. They’re also good for grinding spices.

Spring stir fry with homemade stir fry sauce

The secret ingredient is teriyaki sauce. You can use a good store bought sauce or make your own.


This makes a nice amount. Store leftover sauce in refrigerator.

1/2 cup Tamari or soy sauce

1/4 cup teriyaki sauce

1 cup water

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons each garlic and minced ginger

1/4 cup or so cornstarch

Sugar or honey to taste (start with a teaspoon or so) optional

Freshly ground pepper to taste


Whisk ingredients together. 

Stir fry ingredients

Think peas, greens, broccoli, bell pepper, onion, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms or whatever tweaks your fancy. (about 5 cups)

Up to 1 pound of meat, sliced thin or seafood is good in this too. Or extra firm tofu, chunked up. Optional but good and gives a boost of protein. 


Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet or wok. 

If using meat, seafood or tofu, stir fry over fairly high heat until just cooked through. Set aside.

Add more oil if necessary. Stir in vegetables and fry until crisp tender.

Place meat back in pan with vegetables.

Pour stir fry sauce over mixture. Go to taste on sauce. Toss and stir until sauce thickens a little and mixture is coated. 

Serve with rice cooked in broth, or water.

Homemade teriyaki sauce

Whisk together:

1/4 cup Tamari or soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or more to taste

Brown sugar to taste: start with 1/4 cup

Honey to taste: start with 2 teaspoons
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Whisk together separately and set aside:

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water


Cook everything but cornstarch mixture over low heat until sugar dissolves. 

Whisk in cornstarch mixture and cook until it thickens. If too thick, add a bit of water.

Adapted slightly from food.com.

Tip: Make rice more flavorful

Cook in broth instead of water.

Tamari and Soy: What’s the difference?

Soy is made from soybeans and roasted wheat. It has a saltier flavor than Tamari. You can find organic and reduced sodium versions. Best to buy a quality soy sauce.

Tamari, a Japanese form of soy, has little to no wheat (check label). It tastes less salty and more refined to me. It has a thicker consistency than soy, fewer additives and preservatives and about 2 G protein per tablespoon.

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