Growing up, we ate stir-fry quite often. Fast, easy to prepare, and endlessly versatile, it’s a great way to clean out the fridge and end up with a satisfying meal. I like to pack in the veggies as much as possible, round out the meal with a bit of protein, and garnish it with herbs, hot sauce, and/or sliced scallions.
The key when stir-frying is to get everything ready before you start cooking; so line all your ingredients up, get your wok or pan very hot, and you’ll have dinner ready in no time.
- 6 to 8 ounces protein
- Cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon aromatics
- 1 cup (or more) vegetables
- 1 cup cooked grain or noodles
- ¼ cup Stir-Fry Sauce, or soy sauce or fish sauce to taste
- Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Using paper towels, pat the protein of your choice very dry. To the hot pan, add 1 tablespoon cooking oil and the protein, and cook, stirring, until cooked through. Add more oil if necessary. Transfer the protein to a plate.
- To the hot pan, add 1 to 2 tablespoons cooking oil and the aromatics of your choice. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the toughest vegetables you’ve chosen and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Continue adding the vegetables in order of toughness, from toughest to softest. (You’ll want at least 1 cup vegetables total—the more, the better!) Cook, stirring, until the vegetables reach your desired doneness.
- Return the cooked protein to the pan and add the cooked grain or noodles and Stir-Fry Sauce or soy sauce or fish sauce. Toss to combine. Add more sauce if necessary. Cook, stirring, until heated through. Serve immediately with the garnishes of your choice.
I’ve listed some examples of what you can stir-fry here, but you are limited only by your imagination!
- Peanut oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Quality olive oil
- Chicken | cut into 1-inch cubes, seasoned with salt and pepper
- Shrimp | peeled and deveined, seasoned with salt and pepper
- Beef | cut into 1-inch cubes, seasoned with salt and pepper
- Tofu | cut into 1-inch cubes, dried with paper towels
- Ground meats | seasoned with salt and pepper
- Garlic | minced
- Fresh ginger | peeled and minced
- Fresh chiles | minced
- Onions | chopped
- Bell peppers | cored, seeded, and chopped
- Carrots | peeled and cut into matchsticks
- Broccoli | cut into small florets
- Zucchini | chopped
- Mushrooms | stemmed and thinly sliced
- Eggplant | chopped
- Snap peas | cut into bite-size pieces
- Green beans | cut into bite-size pieces
- Asparagus | cut into bite-size pieces
- Kale | ribs removed, leaves thinly sliced
- Cabbage | shredded
- Swiss chard | stems chopped (added earlier with the harder veggies), leaves thinly sliced
- Bok choy | thinly sliced
- Peas | shelled
Cooked Grain or Noodles
- Brown or white rice
- Chinese egg noodles | tossed with a splash of sesame oil
- Rice stick noodles | soaked and drained, tossed with a splash of oil of your choice
- Stir-Fry Sauce
- Soy sauce or tamari
- Fish sauce
- Scallions | thinly sliced
- Chile paste
- Fresh cilantro | coarsely chopped
- Fresh basil | coarsely chopped
- Fresh parsley | coarsely chopped
- Scrambled or fried eggs
- Peanuts | coarsely chopped
- Sesame seeds | toasted
- Furikake seasoning
Makes about 2 Cups (About eight 1/4-cup servings)
What transforms a decent stir-fry into a great one is a really good sauce. I totally get the convenience factor of store-bought stir-fry sauce. If you look at the ingredient labels, however, you’ll see that they are filled with all sorts of things that you really don’t want to put in your body. Take a few minutes and make this one ahead of time. I promise it will be worth it!
This stir-fry sauce is quite salty, but keep in mind that it will season your veggies, protein, and grains, so a little bit goes a long way. It keeps very well, too, staying fresh in a jar in your fridge for up to a week—or you can transfer it to ice cube trays to store in the freezer for up to 6 months (the sauce won’t freeze solid because of the high salt content, but it will still be preserved). I like to make a double batch and employ the freezer option. That way, I can easily whip up a tasty stir-fry whenever the craving strikes.
- 1 cup chicken stock, homemade or store-bought
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ cup soy sauce or tamari
- ⅓ cup dry sherry or rice vinegar
- ¼ cup mirin
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or other high-heat neutral oil
- 1 tablespoon grated garlic (from 3 or 4 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for seasoning as desired (optional)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of the chicken stock and the cornstarch.
In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ¾ cup stock, the soy sauce, sherry, mirin, fish sauce, and sesame oil.
In a medium saucepan, combine the grapeseed oil, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes (if using). Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the stock-soy mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and return the mixture to a boil. Cook, undisturbed, until thickened, 1 minute, then whisk in the brown sugar and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Taste and season with more red pepper flakes or ¼ teaspoon black pepper as desired.
That’s all there is too it! Hope you enjoy and let us know your thoughts in the comments!