The History Behind Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen New Easy Stir-Fry Sauce Bottle

Article Contributed by Nicole Herman, with Notes from Helen Chen

Helen Chen is a leading Asian culinary expert, cookbook author, cooking instructor and developer of Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® cookware and cooking supplies, in partnership with Harold Import Co. (Scroll to the base of this post to learn more about Helen.) Every great tool has a great story – This is the history behind Helen’s new Easy Stir-Fry Sauce Bottle.

Helen Chen Teaching a Stir-Fry Cooking Class

Helen Chen Teaching a Stir-Fry Cooking Class

A Note From Helen –

It all started with a brilliant idea from my mother, Joyce Chen. In the 1950’s our restaurant was the first to serve authentic Sichuan dishes before Sichuan cuisine was even on the radar in the United States. The two most popular dishes were the ones made in the Kung Pao and Yu Xiang styles.  These dishes quickly became favorites with our restaurant clientele.  Since all of our dishes were cooked to order, our chefs had to cook the most popular ones multiple times each night.  My mother’s creative idea was to make the sauces herself, in advance, and have our chefs cook with them.  This would not only save them time, but also provide consistent quality control so no matter which chef cooked the dish, it would always come out of the kitchen perfectly delicious every time.

Chinese chefs can be just as temperamental as any other professional chef, but it was a testament to the quality of these sauces that our chefs not only agreed to use them, but quickly embraced the idea whole-heartedly when they realized how quick and easy they were to use…and how delicious they tasted.

For my mother, who was always thinking of ways to improve her art, it was a natural progression to take this concept from our restaurant kitchen to home kitchens.  For a time we had our own line of bottled stir-fry sauces.  Although they are no longer in production, people who remember them always tell me how wonderful they were and ask where they can buy more.

Enter, Helen’s Asian Kitchen Easy Stir-Fry Sauce Bottle.  The genesis of my new stir-fry sauce bottle came from my mother’s incredibly innovative idea of making her own stir-fry sauces, and  now you can too! I’ve chosen four of my own delicious and versatile stir-fry sauces that can make the home cook a master chef.  Now stir-frying can be truly quick, easy and always delicious.

Helen Chen Teaching Stir-Fry Cooking Class

Helen Chen Teaching Stir-Fry Cooking Class

My four unique sauces (Mandarin Orange, Canton Oyster, Beijing Hoisin and Sichuan Black Bean) are made with ingredients that can be readily found in most American supermarkets.  And for those people with food allergies, making sauces from scratch allows for substitutions that fit dietary requirements.  To use, simply follow the recipe – ingredients and quantities are printed right on the bottle – shake, and you’re ready to cook.  The sauces are incredibly versatile and may be used with just about any meat, seafood, vegetable, noodles or even as a marinade for kebabs or for barbecuing.  With your own bottled cooking sauces it’s easy to cook for one or for eight.  Plus, once the sauce is made, it will keep in the refrigerator for future use.

I’d like to share with you an easy stir-fry noodles recipe made with my Canton Oyster sauce, the recipe for which is also found right on my Easy Stir-Fry Sauce Bottle.

Recipe: Helen’s Easy Stir-Fry Noodles with Oyster Sauce (made in Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® Easy Stir Fry Sauce Bottle)

Helen Chen's Easy Stir Fry Noodles

Helen Chen’s Easy Stir Fry Noodles with Oyster Sauce

You may vary the type and amount of shredded vegetables in this versatile recipe, or make it vegetarian by omitting the meat.  The stir-fry sauce will provide all the rich flavor you’ll need.

Serves 6

1 pound dry Chinese wheat noodles or thin spaghetti
8 ounces shredded lean pork or chicken breast
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons dry sherry
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
10 ounces shredded napa cabbage
5 medium dried black mushrooms, soaked in hot water 15 mins until soft
2 ounces snow peas, ends snapped off, strings removed and shredded on the diagonal
1 medium carrot, shredded
½ cup canned shredded bamboo shoots, drained
6 tablespoons Canton Oyster Stir Fry Sauce, or more to taste  (Made using the recipe on Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® Easy Stir Fry Sauce Bottle, or you can purchase a pre-made sauce from your local grocer or Asian food specialty store.)

1.  In a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles until a little softer than al dente.  Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again.  Set aside.

2. In a small bowl mix meat with cornstarch and sherry. Drain the mushrooms and squeeze dry.  Cut off the stems with scissors and discard. Shred caps.

3.  In a wok, heat cooking oil over medium-high heat, add the well-stirred meat mixture and stir-fry about two minutes or until it separates and changes color, about 1 minute. Add the onion, cabbage, mushrooms, carrot and bamboo shoots and stir until the cabbage begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.

4.  Sprinkle the noodles with a few tablespoons of water to loosen them up, drain, then add them to the pan.  Pour the Canton Oyster Stir Fry Sauce over the noodles and add in the snow peas. Continue tossing and stirring until well mixed and evenly colored, about 1 minute.  Taste and add more sauce, if desired. Transfer the noodles to a serving platter and serve immediately.

Biography of Helen Chen

Helen Chen

Helen Chen

HIC, Harold Import Co. is proud to call Helen Chen a partner in Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® made by HIC Harold Import Co.

Helen Chen is a leading Asian culinary expert, cookbook author, cooking instructor and developer of Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® cookware and cooking supplies.  Helen learned to cook from her mother and has combined the comfort of home-style dishes with an updated incorporation of heart-healthy oils and readily available supermarket ingredients—making cooking great Asian food easier for everyone.

Helen Chen’s unique line of Asian cooking supplies was developed through many years of culinary experience and provides the kind of high-quality standards that you can expect from HIC, Harold Import Co. Some of the products available in the Helen Chen’s Asian Kitchen® innovative line of Asian cooking utensils include steaming accessories, cutlery, cookware, tea & sake, tabletop, utensils and housewares.

*Not affiliated with Joyce Chen products

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