Stir Frying Recipes & Tips

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Stir-frying is a fast, healthy way to prepare a wide variety of foods. A small amount of very hot oil is used to cook the ingredients, maintaining flavor and nutrients. You can stir-fry just about any type of meat or vegetable, and even vegetarian staples such as tofu. Stir-frying is best done in a wok, which a cooking pan with a rounded, bowl-like shape, but you can also use a large skillet if you don’t own a wok.

It’s easy to stir-fry, but some basic tips will help you achieve the tastiest results.

  • Use a wok or a 12-inch skillet.
  • Never crowd the pan while stir-frying. Cook in small batches, starting with the meat. As food finishes cooking, transfer it to a plate until the rest of the ingredients are done.
  • Use peanut or vegetable oil, and heat until just smoking before adding ingredients.
  • Food should be chopped into strips or pieces before stir-frying, and any necessary marinating done before dinnertime.
  • Don’t stir the food excessively. When cooking meat, allow it to sear for at least one full minute before stirring.
  • Cook meat first, then hard vegetables like carrots, broccoli or peppers, then softer vegetables such as mushrooms or cabbage.
  • When vegetables are done, place meat back in the wok and add desired sauce, stirring all ingredients to coat with sauce, then serve right away.
  • Most stir-fry recipes are delicious served over white or brown rice.

Chicken Stir Fry Recipe (4 servings)

A delicious, easy stir-fry recipe that the whole family will love.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breast halves, cut into strips
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup celery, sliced thin
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced thin
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

Place chicken in resealable plastic bag. Add cornstarch and toss to coat. Combine soy sauce, ginger and garlic powder, add to bag and shake well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat two tablespoons of oil in wok or skillet until very hot. Add chicken, and cook until no longer pink. Remove chicken to plate, set aside.

Add remaining oil to wok, stir-fry vegetables 4 to 5 minutes until just tender. Add water and bouillon granules. Return chicken to pan. Cook and stir until sauce is bubbly and thick. Serve over rice.

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Asian Beef with Snow Peas Stir Fry Recipe (4 servings)

The gingery sauce makes this easy recipe special.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound beef round steak, cut into strips
  • 8 ounces snow peas
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

In small bowl, combine soy sauce, wine, sugar and cornstarch. Set aside. Heat oil in wok or skillet. Stir-fry ginger and garlic for 30 seconds, then add meat. Cook for 2 minutes, or until evenly browned.

Add snow peas, stir-fry for 3 additional minutes. Add soy sauce mixture; bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer until sauce is smooth. Serve immediately over rice.

Slippery Shrimp Stir Fry Recipe (4 servings)

Deep fried shrimp with a sweet and savory sauce will become one of your favorite meals.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups peanut oil
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 5 teaspoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 5 green onions, sliced

Heat oil in wok until very hot. Toss shrimp in ¼ cup of cornstarch to coat, then drop into hot oil. Fry until golden brown, around 45 seconds. Remove from oil, drain, then set aside. Pour all but one tablespoon of oil out of the wok, then stir in garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir for 30 seconds, then pour in wine, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, salt and ¼ cup of water. Bring to a boil. Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 teaspoons of water, then add to the boiling sauce and boil until thickened. Stir shrimp and green onions into the sauce until coated, serve immediately over hot rice.

Tofu Peanut Stir Fry Recipe (4 servings)

Vegetarian stir-fry makes good use of tofu. With a slightly crunchy outside, soft inside, the tofu will take on the peanut and ginger flavors for a wonderful taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen stir-fry vegetable mix
  • ½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 (14 ounce) package firm tofu, drained and cubed
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup peanut sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in wok, then cook vegetables until tender. Mix in ginger and season with salt and pepper. Remove vegetables from wok, and set aside. Place eggs in a bowl. In separate bowl, mix cornstarch, salt and pepper. Dip tofu cubes into the eggs, then into the cornstarch mixture to coat. Heat remaining oil in wok, and cook tofu 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir in peanut sauce and peanuts. Continue to cook and stir until sauce thickens. Serve tofu with vegetables over a bed of rice.

There’s no need to call for delivery or takeout when you can quickly stir-fry a delicious, healthy meal. Try a variety of different proteins and vegetables. The only limit is your imagination.

Last Updated: May 6, 2012
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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