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I've eaten Chicken Pad Khing (Ginger Chicken Stir Fry) many times in Thai restaurants. Really love the dish. I'm a very amateur cook and recently attempted this at home. It came out ok with the exception that every recipe out there doesn't include much sauce. In the restaurant, there's normally a good amount of sauce with the chicken and vegetables. In the recipes, it advises a couple of table spoons of fish sauce, couple of table spoons of oyster sauce and some sugar. This produces a very small amount of sauce that once cooked, doesn't leave any visible sauce left. I'm sure it's added to the flavour but the dish is still quite dry.

The obvious conclusion could be just to make more of the same sauce. My concern is that that before cooking, this sauce has an overwhelming fishy, and not very nice smell. When you get the sauce in the restaurant, there's certainly no fish taste to it. My feeling is that multiplying the ingredients by 4 or 5 would make a largely fish tasting sauce. I'm therefore wondering if anyone knows what normally goes in to the dark sauce that is served up in a Thai restaurant?

  • Don't know for sure, so I'll leave answers to people more qualified, but my guess would be the addition of chicken stock (a cup, half a cup, something like that), and thicken until satisfied, using flour if necessary (which is not A Bad Thing(tm) to do, as some people would have you believe). – Willem van Rumpt Oct 15 '15 at 12:11
  • Like @Willem van Rumpt, I'm not sure of restaurant methods for this. I'd add 1T soy sauce to his suggestion of the broth and thickener to darken it without adding fishiness. Add near the end of the stir frying. You may need to reduce other salt in the dish if the broth is salty and to account for salt in soy sauce. – NadjaCS Oct 15 '15 at 16:47
  • Do you have any reason to suspect, if the fishy flavor is reduced by cooking the sauce, that increasing the amount of sauce would change that effect? Have you tried simply increasing the volume of sauce ingredients in equal proportion and cooking as before? – logophobe Oct 15 '15 at 19:29
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I just joined the other day after much lurking. Figured, I could help with this question. When I worked in a Thai restaurant, I had a couple of staple stir-fry sauces on hand. The basic one I had come up with had the folllowing:

  • 1 part thin (white) soy
  • 2 parts dark (black) soy
  • 1 part Golden Mountain brand soy (as this imparts a little bit of a different taste than the other thin soys imo, but really, it's just a thin soy, ultimately)
  • 1 part fish sauce
  • 5 parts oyster sauce
  • 1 part cornstarch

The sauce will last forever, covered in the pantry or fridge. You'd just need to stir it up before using and, aside from being so versatile (with the exception of coconut soups, I may have put some of this in every Thai dish we served), the great thing is your dishes will be consistent. I'd just make it up in 5 gallon buckets and fill my little jug that I kept wok-side from the walk-in bucket. From this basic sauce, I would add sugar, vinegar, and hots to it to make a drunken noodle stir-fry sauce, or thickeners to it to make the sauces for other noodle dishes. My aunt likes to add Maggi to her stir fry base, but I don't like the way Maggi sauce smells. One of my employees would throw in a handful of fried garlic and vegetable oil to her sauce, and that was a great addition that saved a couple steps in the cooking process. You can totally make this sauce your own.

The basic stir fry sauce (a few tablespoons) is added to vegetable stock (a good bit, at least 1/2 cup) in stir fry recipes and if I wanted a dish to have more sauce, like I always do in Gai Pad Khing, I'd add more stock and more stir fry base, tasting as I go along and usually having to add a few more teaspoons of sugar for my tastes, letting it reduce a little bit in the pan, then finishing it off with a ton of white pepper, again, my tastes. And I'd usually not use a thickener in this dish, because my dad didn't use thickener when he made it for me growing up.

And, the fish sauce smell doesn't really go away when it's cooked. I'd avoid adding more than a single tablespoon to any one dish.

Hope that helps!

Source: I'm Thai, have been cooking Thai food for 20plus years.

  • Doesn't oyster sauce require refrigeration? – Cascabel Oct 17 '15 at 6:17
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    Huh, I guess that best practice would indicate that oyster sauce should be kept in the refrigerator, but my family never did. Perhaps it's because we went through it so quickly. I'd definitely say that oyster sauce by itself should be refrigerated, but when it's mixed up in the stir fry base, do you think that the salt in the soy sauces and the fish sauce would keep it from going bad? It's probably best @Jefromi, to refrigerate the stir fry sauce, especially if it's not something you're planning on using up quickly. – Toss Newsense Oct 21 '15 at 21:26

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