stir fry — the original fast food!

I LOVE stir frying, because it’s fast, flavorful, and if done correctly, very nutritious. This is one of my family favorites, served with brown rice it’s a great quick dinner. If your stir fry recipes end up soggy, gummy, or not flavorful, check out the stir fry rules that I have posted after the recipe. Now, let’s get cooking!

beef (or chicken!) with broccoli

broccoli stir fry

5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
¾ pound beef chuck or flank steak (or about 2 chicken breasts), thinly sliced against the grain
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 cups broccoli, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
¼ cup mushrooms, cut in half or quarters if too large to be bite size
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce 

Place garlic, sugar, pepper, sesame oil, rice wine, cornstarch, soy sauce and beef in bowl and marinade for somewhere between 15 minutes and overnight.

Heat a large wok over medium heat. Add peanut oil and then add the beef. Stir fry on medium-high until almost cooked, about 4 minutes. Add the broccoli, mushrooms and oyster and soy sauces and continue to stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Serve immediately with steamed brown or jasmine rice.

Serves 4 to 6, depending upon how hungry your guests are!

stir fry rules

The goal of stir-frying is to continuously toss bite-size ingredients in a small amount of oil in a wok over high heat so that each morsel is continuously exposed to the wok’s hot well. The result is a light searing of ingredients that allows them to cook both quickly and uniformly, without burning or charring. Although the name for this technique is stir-fry, the action involved is not so much stirring as it is sliding a spatula down between the food and the wok and flipping the food over on itself with a digging and tossing motion.

These recipes are written for a 14-inch wok – smaller woks will require a reduction in recipe size to cook properly.

  1. DO NOT double recipes, If you require multiples, you will need to prepare in batches, as stir-fry is fast and hot. Adding too many ingredients to your wok lowers the heat and foods do not cook properly.
  2. Food should be at ROOM TEMPERATURE before adding to the wok.
  3. Food should be DRY before adding to the wok. Otherwise, your stir-fry will be soggy.
  4. Meat and poultry should be trimmed of fat prior to cooking.
  5. Unless otherwise specified, preheat your wok until a bead of water vaporizes within 1-2 seconds of contact.
  6. Peanut oil is the oil of choice for stir-frying because of its high smoke point and neutral flavor, however, corn oil may also be used if necessary.
  7. Cut foods into proper sizes. Diagonal cuts expose the maximum surface area to the high heat of the wok. Thinly sliced means ¼ inch thick. Aromatics, garlic, ginger, onion, chilies, are typically cut into smaller sizes for maximum flavor. Chilies are typically stemmed and seeded, although you may prefer to leave some seeds in for the heat. Ginger is ALWAYS peeled unless otherwise indicated.
  8. Spread the food out to maximize contact with the wok for fast cooking.
  9. Unless otherwise specified, DO NOT COVER the wok.
  10. The key to successful stir-frying is to maximize and maintain the heat in the wok to prevent your stir-fry from turning into a soggy braise.



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