Asian Spice Mixes: Fried Rice and Stir Fry

Sarah Ozimek and her husband Tim are the travel-loving masterminds behind Curious Cuisiniere, a site that explores cultural and regional cuisines, making it easy to travel the world from the comfort of your own kitchen. You can find them on Facebook and Pinterest.

Asian Spice Mix

Fried rice and stir fries are easy ways to transform whatever ingredients you have on hand into a quick dinner. Using a spice mix makes that dinner even faster and ensures you have a perfectly seasoned meal every time.

It can be so tempting to grab a packet of seasoning from the store, but if you ever look at the ingredients in those spice mix packets you’ll probably think twice about using them. What are all those ingredients? They sure don’t look like spices to me.

Let’s take a look:

Corn Starch – A starch derived from corn used primarily as a thickener for sauces and as an anti-caking agent.

Maltodextrin – We found this to be the first or second ingredient in many of the mixes we looked at. Maltodextrin is an inexpensive additive derived from a starch, usually corn or wheat.  It is a carbohydrate with little to no taste, that is used to thicken foods and as a filler. Maltodextrin has a high glycemic index rating, which could cause blood sugar spikes. While it is technically “natural” because it is derived from plants, it is highly processed.

Spice and Coloring – Spices – what are they? Coloring, is most likely highly processed chemical based.

Caramel Color – An agent to darken food that is produced by processing one of a number of types of sweeteners.

Natural Flavor – Most likely products of a series of chemical processes. All that is required for the “natural” labeling is that the ingredients started out edible.

Sodium Diacetate – A salt of acetic acid used to give a salty tart flavor. It also acts as a preservative since it has antimicrobial properties.

Silicon Dioxide – To prevent caking. Most commonly, it is milled from natural sources.

Sesame Oil – A refined oil, but how on earth did they get it into powdered form?

The only ‘real’ ingredients we found in the mixes we grabbed were salt and garlic. WOW.

You Already Have Everything You Need

Making a good seasoning mix is so incredibly simple, and we’ve constructed our copycat mixes to contain ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. Salt, garlic powder, ginger powder, sugar, and ground pepper.

Is that all? We were surprised too. But, these basic ingredients, along with a little soy sauce added during cooking, created the perfect Asian-style flavor for stir fry and fried rice.

(A note about including sugar in the spice mix. Your sugar preference is up to you. If you have a granulated sugar that you are comfortable using, add it to the dry mix. If not, omit the sugar in the mix and add 1/2 tsp of raw honey to your stir fry or fried rice along with the soy sauce during cooking.)

For more ethnic spice mixes that you can easily make from pantry staples, check out our Basic Taco Seasoning and our collection of other homemade pantry staples.

Stir Fry made with Asian Spice Mix

Stir Fry Spice Mix
Author: 
Prep Time: 
Cook Time: 
Total Time: 
Serves/Yield: ½ cup
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoons muscovado, rapadura, or coconut sugar (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Instructions
To make the spice mix
  1. Mix all ingredients well and store in the pantry in a sealed container.
To use the spice mix:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large wok over high heat and sauté 1 pound of meat or other protein of your choice, until golden.
  2. Add 4 cups of chopped vegetables, and saute until warmed through.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons spice mix and 2 tablespoons soy sauce to the meat and vegetables. Saute until evenly coated. Serve immediately.
Notes
If you prefer not to use granulated sugars, omit the sugar in the seasoning mix and add ½ tsp raw honey when you cook your stir fry.

Be sure to check the ingredients list on your soy sauce! While traditional soy sauce meets the unprocessed requirements, many brands sneak preservatives and other ingredients into their sauces. Also, Tamari is a great gluten-free option.

Fried Rice made with Asian Spice Mix
Fried Rice Spice Mix
Author: 
Prep Time: 
Cook Time: 
Total Time: 
Serves/Yield: ½ cup
 
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon muscovado, rapadura, or coconut sugar*
  • 1 tablespoon salt
Instructions
To make the spice mix:
  1. Mix all ingredients well and store in the pantry in a sealed container.
To use the spice mix:
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large wok over high heat. Add 2 cups cold, cooked, white rice. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the rice begins to crisp.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons seasoning mix and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Mix well.
  3. Push the rice to the side of the wok and crack 2 eggs into the free space. Scramble the eggs and saute until cooked through.
  4. Stir the eggs into the rice.
  5. Mix in ½ cup peas or chopped carrots and ½ cooked, diced meat, if desired. Serve immediately.
Notes
If you prefer not to use granulated sugars, omit the sugar in the seasoning mix and add ½ tsp raw honey when you cook your stir fry.

Be sure to check the ingredients list on your soy sauce! While traditional soy sauce meets the unprocessed requirements, many brands sneak preservatives and other ingredients into their sauces. Also, Tamari is a great gluten-free option.

 

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7 Comments on "Asian Spice Mixes: Fried Rice and Stir Fry"

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Mary T
Guest

Looking forward to the flowchart!

Marge Evans
Guest

why not use freash garlic and ginger and green onions? I would never use that much sugar.

Sarah
Guest

Marge, it is a dry mix. To have on hand. Hence, that is why it wouldn’t have fresh. The stir frymix also makes 1/2 cup and you use 1/4 of said mix per use. That means you get 1/2 tsp sugar for an ENTIRE meal. As for the fried rice mix, it makes 1/2 cup and you use only 2 teaspoons mix per batch. A half cup has 8 Tablespoons or 24 teaspoons, meaning….the dry mix makes 12 batches. That is ONE Tablespoon of sugar divided amongst 12 batches.

Hilary T
Guest

This was really good. I have tried numerous recipes for stir fry sauces, and not found one I wanted to make a second time. This one will become our regular seasoning and I really appreciate that it is a dry mix that I can have on had. I usually try to keep a bag of frozen stir fry vegetable in the freezer for a quick easy meal and this will be a great addition to the pantry. Even my pickiest child ate a bowl of rice and veggies and tried several new vegetables with out complaining and I have to partly attribute that to the tasty seasoning!

Kelly
Guest

I love this! I make all my own spice mixes. It really cuts down on time and my kids can easily cook. I might add dried chives and pepper.
It’s hard to find non-gmo soy sauce. Is there something else I could use that’s similar?

Andrew
Admin

So glad you like this Kelly! Any certified Organic Soy Sauce will be non-GMO. I’d suggest giving the San-J Tamari or Eden Soy Sauce a try.

plasterers bristol
Guest

sounds lovely this, will be giving this ago over the weekend. Thanks for posting.

Simon

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