3

Stir-fry is a cooking technique and a dish name at the same time. Quickly fried vegetables, seafood, meat, nuts, tofu, and sprouts on a skillet or wok using much less oil than for similar dishes. If you are wondering how to make a stir-fry in a wok, then this article is right for you. The good news is that making stir-fry is extremely fast and simple.

Ideally, healthy vegetables should remain half raw, bright in color, and slightly crunchy. Meat, seafood, or tofu should be fully cooked.

Spices, sauces, nuts, other superfoods, and condiments are optional. In winter, you should not hesitate to use frozen vegetables. Because it's better to eat a cooked, defrosted serving of vitamins and fiber than not eating vegetables at all.

How to Make Stir-fry: All Our Trick

Cooking is an art! However, you can master it if you are ready to try again and again. Moreover, there are numerous amazing recipes that guide you step by step through all the pitfalls to achieve the best results. Yosukata has a Youtube video with stir-fry cooking tips.

The same story is with stir-fry. Even though the dish is quite simple and understandable while cooking, there are also numerous issues to pay attention to in order to achieve the perfect taste. It is essential to keep the right balance of textures, flavors, and presentation. Thus, you will get the perfect dish just like out of the restaurant.

Perhaps, you already know some of these tips from other recipes or from your experience. In this article, we’ve tried to gather all of them together so that you could get all the necessary information in one place and understand how to stir fry in a wok. Everything related to stir-fry is simple and you can try most recipes right away without the long preparation time.

We’ll add a recipe to each section so that you can see how many options of stir-fry exist and how you can change the ingredients to create something new. If you don’t like anything in the recipes, think about what other products you can use to make it to your liking.

Stir-fry can be vegetarian or vegan, you can arrange it to any preferences or restrictions. This is a perfect dish for lunch or dinner, you can take it to the office in the lunch box or heat it the next day in the microwave oven for breakfast. Overall, it is definitely a must-try!

Let’s start with a quick and simple recipe:

Vegetable stir-fry

Quickly fried vegetables are perfect as a side dish with meat or fish or as a separate dish.

Ingredients:

broccoli - 1 small head of cabbage cabbage - 200 g corn in grains - 100 g vegetable broth - 50 ml soy sauce - 1 tbsp sugar - 1 tsp lemon juice - 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying - 2-3 tbsp.

How to cook:

In a bowl, combine the broth, soy sauce, sugar, and lemon juice, whisk until the sugar dissolves. Disassemble the broccoli into inflorescences, finely chop the cabbage. If using frozen kale, defrost it. If canned, drain off excess juice.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok. Once the oil is well heated, add the broccoli blossoms and fry, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes. Then add the cabbage to the broccoli, followed by the corn. Fry the vegetables until tender. At the very end, pour the sauce into the wok and stir all the ingredients. Serve hot.

Ingredients for a Stir-fry

There are numerous recipes for cooking a stir-fry and new ones appear regularly. However, if you know the principles of making this dish, you’ll be able to create your own versions with your favorite products. Let’s have a look at the basic rules for cooking stir fry:

1. Protein

Chicken, pork, thin beef slices, shrimp, calamari, fish fillets diced, or tofu. It is better to prepare meat and poultry in advance: cut them into small slices, chop with a fork, salt, pepper and let it stand for some time.

2. Aromatic component

Onions (sweet or shallots), garlic, green onions, or ginger.

3. Vegetables

Onions, bell peppers, carrots, celery stalks, eggplant, soy sprouts, mushrooms, broccoli or cauliflower, Chinese cabbage or savoy cabbage, spinach, bok choy, Swiss chard, frozen corn or peas, green beans, tomatoes, kale, asparagus, or zucchini. The choice is quite broad and everyone will be able to choose their favorite vegetables or find some seasonal options.

4. Sauce

As many ingredients there are, as many kinds of sauces you can use for this dish. However, you can start with these three popular options and then continue experimenting on yourself.

Stir-fry base sauce: 3 cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tbsp. vinegar, 1 tsp. sugar or honey, 1 tsp. starch and 1/2 cup water. Curry sauce: 1.5 tablespoons of curry paste, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp. starch. Orange-ginger sauce: juice of 1 orange, 1.5 inches of ginger root, 3 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. vinegar, 2 tsp. starch.

You can also use Thai sweet and sour sauce, oyster sauce, sriracha, teriyaki sauce, and others that you love with similar dishes.

5. Extra

If you wish, add peanuts, cashews, sesame seeds, green onions, hot chili Tabasco sauce, fresh cilantro, or basil to the stir-fry. You can also beat up an egg and add it to the dish.

Get Cooking – How to Stir Fry in a Wok

Here is a simple recipe you can use as your first try or you can take it as a basis and switch some of its ingredients to your favorite products.

Stir fry with tofu

100 g tofu 1 tbsp soy sauce 1 tsp honey 3 tbsp water olive oil ½ small onion 120 g green beans (can be frozen) 1 bell pepper another 1-2 types of vegetables according to the season or as desired - zucchini, pumpkin, tomato, etc. 30g peanuts (optional) scallions, fresh or dry chili, ginger (spices are also optional)

Here is how to proceed:

1Remove the tofu from the packaging and dry with paper towels. Cut into cubes. 2In a large skillet or wok with very little oil, fry the tofu for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a little more oil into the pan, add the onion, and cook for a minute. Then add finely chopped ginger and chili (you can add dry spices at the end of cooking). Then add all the other chopped vegetables. Cook for a couple of minutes. 3Pour in soy sauce, some honey, and water. Mix quickly for 30 seconds. Serve hot, adding chopped scallions, nuts, or greens on the top.

More Ideas

Of course, you can add other ingredients and combine them as you like. It is always a good idea to experiment in the kitchen and stir-fry is one of the best dishes for it. At the same time, you can start with our options to understand what combinations you like more. Here are some options for cooking a stir-fry:

chicken fillet + carrots + celery stalks + frozen corn cobs + frozen peas + base sauce + lemon juice + chili any fish fillet (tilapia) + zucchini + carrots + corn + base sauce + lemon juice + dry chili + scallions shrimp + onion + sweet pepper + eggplant + base sauce + curry paste + fresh basil zucchini + fennel + garlic + spinach + tofu with sesame seeds and sesame oil beef slices + teriyaki sauce + green beans + cherry tomatoes + bell peppers + carrots purple onion + broccoli + carrots + cashews + chicken + Thai sweet and sour sauce zucchini + pepper + onion + garlic + shrimp + curry paste

As you can see, the combinations are endless and probably you’ll need to cook stir-fry every week to try all of them. Luckily, the dish doesn’t require a lot of oil so it’s rather healthy.

Supplies

In order to achieve the best results, you should have specific instruments. You can also use those that you already have but there are some dishes that require a special approach and stir-fry is one of them. If you love this dish, you should think about purchasing a wok, which is the best pan for cooking stir-fry.

In order for a stir-fry dish to turn out to be successful, several rules must be followed.

1. Dishes

The ideal dish for stir-fry is of course a thin steel wok. In the absence of stir-fry wok, you can take a cast iron pan, dishes with a Teflon coating are undesirable. Do not overfill the wok, you need the food to fit freely in the bottom of it. Otherwise, the vegetables will become soft and you will get not a stir-fry but a stew.

2. Fire

It is best to use an open flame such as a gas burner. They are used by cooks in Asia to cook food on the streets. A glass-ceramic fryer is not suitable for cooking stir-fry, since it is impossible to quickly heat the dishes to a high temperature on it.

3. Oil

Only refined oil is used (unrefined one will smoke), about 1 tbsp. for every serving.

4. Products

All products must be prepared in advance: washed, peeled, and cut into pieces. After all, stir-fry technology presupposes, first of all, a fast frying process.

5. Order of adding products

A stir-fry usually has five main components. These are oil, spices, protein (meat, tofu), vegetables, and sauce. First, the oil is heated, spices are fried on it so that they give off their aroma, then the meat. After it turns white, add vegetables and finally the sauce. Alternatively, you can cook everything separately and mix just before adding the sauce.

6. Stirring

Stir quickly and evenly so that the food does not burn.

These are the basic rules of cooking a stir-fry and you should follow them in order to achieve the best results and get a tasty dish just like from the restaurant.

Let’s have a look at these steps on the example of this recipe:

Chinese spicy stir-fry

This hot wok stir-fry will appeal to all spicy food lovers.

Ingredients:

chicken fillet - 500 g broccoli - 250 g sweet pepper - 1 pc ginger (root) - 1 inch garlic - 2-3 cloves onion - 1 pc. soy sauce - 2 tbsp kimchi sauce - 1 tbsp dry sherry - 50 ml ground black pepper - to taste salt to taste vegetable oil for frying - 2-3 tbsp.

How to cook:

Cut the chicken fillet into strips and beat off. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, mix well, and set aside for 15-20 minutes. Chop ginger and garlic, cut onion into half rings, bell pepper into strips. Pour vegetable oil into a wok and put on high heat. As soon as the oil is hot, put the ginger, garlic, and onion in it, fry, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add chicken, sauté, then add broccoli and bell peppers. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add soy sauce and kimchi sauce to the sherry, stir and pour into the wok. Serve hot.

Stir fry wok pan

You should understand that stir-fry is a dish that should be cooked in a wok. Just like smoothies are made in a blender or pies are baked in an oven, stir-fry should be cooked in a wok. This is a special pan, which is designed specifically for frying ingredients so that they wouldn’t become soft.

You also need an open fire to cook stir-fry as you won’t be able to achieve the necessary heat on an electric stove. Even though you can try cooking without a special pan and fire, most likely, you won’t get the desired results.

In other words, if you love stir-fry and want to experiment with it in your kitchen, our advice is to purchase a wok. Moreover, it is not the only dish you can cook there and soon you’ll notice how useful this pan is in your kitchen.

Using High Smoke Point Oils

It is important to correctly choose the right oil for frying. Of course, you might have heard a lot about the numerous useful qualities of virgin olive oil, for example. But you should set it aside for salads as it’s only good when you are using it raw.

When choosing an oil, you should pay attention to the smoke point characteristics. Smoke point is the temperature at which your oil begins to smoke in the pan, that is, it actively oxidizes with the release of carcinogens, toxins, and other highly undesirable compounds. Refined oil is generally more resistant to heat.

The best choice is avocado, canola, or refined olive oil. Let’s have a closer look at their characteristics:

1. Avocado oil

Its smoke point is around 500°F and it is probably the best choice for frying. It has a pleasant mild nutty flavor and a spicy scent. It is perfect to cook poultry, fish, vegetables, and seafood. Moreover, it contains numerous healthy elements so you can use it with many other dishes and not only stir-fry. Overall, it is healthy and tasty. If you are allergic to nuts, it is the right choice for you.

2. Canola oil

Its lower smoke point is around 400 degrees F and it is less nutritious but also more affordable. You can choose it for frying and be sure that it is safe for heating. It has a rather neutral taste and good anti-inflammatory composition. Less flavor means more compatibility with food.

3. Olive oil

Choose special blends made for frying and grilling. Its smoke point is 460°F, which also makes it perfect for deep frying. It is another healthier option of oils and is perfect for any kind of product.

Stir fry with eggplant and leek

For this dish, it is better to choose small fresh eggplants without seeds.

Ingredients:

eggplant - 1 kg, leeks (only the white part) - 2 pcs., chili pepper - 1 pc., garlic - 2-3 cloves, chicken broth - 70 ml, soy sauce - 2 tbsp, rice vinegar - 1 tsp, corn starch - 1 tsp, sugar - 1 tsp, salt to taste, freshly ground black pepper - to taste, vegetable oil for frying, cilantro or basil for serving.

How to cook:

Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, then cut each half into thin slices. Cut the white part of the leek into rings. Cut the chili pepper in half, scrape the core with the seeds with a knife, and chop the pepper. In a bowl, combine chicken stock, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch. Whisk until sugar dissolves. You should get a smooth, homogeneous sauce without lumps.

Put the wok on high heat, pour 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil (it is a great possibility to try one of the mentioned oils) and tilt the wok so that the oil spills onto the walls. Once the oil has warmed up, place the eggplants in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Fry the eggplant on both sides, then transfer to a plate. Pour some more oil into the wok and fry the next batch of eggplants. Once the eggplants are done, quickly sauté the leeks, chili, and garlic. Return the sautéed eggplants to the wok, add the sauce, and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 1-2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with finely chopped herbs.

Choosing the Right Sauce

The final taste of stir-fry strongly depends on the sauce you use while cooking. The taste of the same ingredients will differ when you use various sauces. In that way, it is so important to make everything correctly.

Of course, you can buy ready-made sauces or use soy sauce. However, this will make the taste of your dish simpler in the latter case and less healthy in the former one. Moreover, it is simple and interesting to make your own sauces and continue experimenting with the dish (it seems that cooking stir-fry once a week wouldn’t be enough to try out all the options).

Here are several simple recipes you can start with in order to cook stir-fry in a wok.

1. Mildly hot sauce

Ingredients:

Sugar - 2 tbsp Cornstarch - 2 tbsp Rice vinegar - 2 tbsp Soy sauce - 60 ml Chicken broth - 1 cup (or vegetable) Ground ginger - 0.5 tsp Chili paste - 0.5 tsp Garlic - 1 clove

In a glass jar with a lid, combine starch, chili, chopped garlic, ginger, and sugar. Then add vinegar and soy sauce. And at the end, pour in the broth. Mix all the ingredients by closing the jar with a lid. The sauce is ready! As you can see, all steps of making stir-fry are simple and fast to make.

2. Chinese-style sauce

Ingredients:

Light soy sauce, 1/4 cup / 65 ml Soy sauce, 1/4 cup / 65 ml Oyster sauce, 1/2 cup / 125 ml Chinese wine (or dry sherry), 1/4 cup / 65 ml Corn flour / starch, 1/4 cup / 65 ml Sugar, 1 tbsp. Sesame oil, 2 tbsp. Ground white pepper, 1-2 tsp

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a jar and mix well. Store in the refrigerator and shake well before use.

3. Orange sauce

Ingredients:

100 ml orange juice 3 tbsp of soy sauce 1 tsp of apple cider or grape vinegar 2 tsp starch

Just mix all the ingredients together and add them to your dish.

As you can see, there are numerous options and ingredients you can use. You can also change the amount of each ingredient in a recipe to get a hotter taste, for example. Don’t be afraid to experiment and change the original recipes to your liking by adding your favorite ingredients or mixing new tastes.

Here is the recipe with another sauce option.

Pork stir-fry with noodles in teriyaki sauce

This quick recipe is a great family dinner option. Add vegetables to your taste.

Ingredients:

pork (tenderloin) - 500 g, rice noodles - 100 g, green onions - 2 pcs. green beans - 100 g, ginger (root) - 1 inch, garlic - 1-2 cloves, corn starch - 1-2 tbsp, teriyaki sauce - 2-3 tbsp, soy sauce - 1 tbsp, salt to taste, freshly ground black pepper - to taste, vegetable oil for frying - 2-3 tbsp.

How to cook:

Boil the noodles as directed on the package. Rinse with cold water, transfer to a bowl, cover, and set aside. Cut the pork into thin slices, add salt and pepper, and roll in starch. Chop the green onion, chop the garlic and ginger. If the green beans are frozen, unfroze them.

Put the wok on high heat, pour in 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil and heat it. Place the pork in a wok and fry until tender, stirring constantly. Transfer the meat to a plate. Add a little more oil to the wok, quickly sauté the ginger and garlic, then add the green beans and onions. Fry the beans until tender. Return the meat and noodles to the wok and add the teriyaki sauce and soy sauce. Continue to fry, in 1-2 minutes the dish will be ready. One more recipe of Teriyaki noodles is provided by Yosukata on Youtube.

Stir-fry Execution – How to Cook Stir-fry in a Wok

We’ve already given you numerous tips for making a stir-fry. However, it is always a good idea to repeat the main points to stress them enough. Let’s have a look at them one more time.

Two main things you need to remember are speed and heat. These are the basic things to make stir-fry correctly. In order to do everything fast, you should read the recipe a couple of times before starting cooking. This will help you remember the steps and understand what you will need to do.

If you don’t have a recipe but want to make your own dish, make a plan in mind in advance. Imagine the steps you’ll need to follow and the whole process in your head. Prepare all the ingredients, marinate the meat, cut the vegetables, and have the spices next to you. Everything should be visible and easily approachable.

Even if you’ve cooked stir-fry several times already, you might forget about an ingredient or two. In that way, everything should be prepared in advance and placed within eyesight, especially when it comes to ingredients that should be added at the end.

The best way to eat stir-fry is just after it is made. When it’s fresh, juicy, and especially delicious! However, it is completely up to you if you want to leave a portion for tomorrow.

Fish stir fry

Red and white fish with dense flesh is suitable for stir-fry. Before frying, you need to cut the fish into fillets and remove all bones.

Ingredients:

fillet of white fish - 500 g, bell pepper - 2 pcs., ginger (root) - 1 inch, tomatoes - 1-2 pcs., soy sauce to taste, starch - 1-2 tbsp., vegetable oil for frying - 3-4 tbsp.

How to cook:

Cut the fish fillet into strips 1 inch thick, dip each strip in starch. Cut the bell peppers into strips, the tomatoes into thin slices, chop the ginger. Heat the oil in a wok, transfer the fish and fry it, stirring constantly. Put the cooked fish on a plate. Add oil to the wok if necessary, quickly fry the chopped ginger and bell pepper. After 1-2 minutes add the tomatoes to the wok and continue to fry, stirring occasionally. Return the fish to the wok, add the soy sauce, cook for another 1-2 minutes, and serve immediately.

How to Cook Stir-Fry Vegetables

If you are not cooking stir-fry as the main dish, you can just make vegetables as a side dish. Just follow these simple steps:

Use a little oil. 1 tablespoon will be just enough. Heat the oil on medium heat only. When the wok becomes hot, you can add the vegetables and start cooking them by constantly stirring. Use a wooden or silicone spatula to not ruin their shapes. Fry till the vegetables become crisp-tender. You also should add vegetables in batches because otherwise they will become too soft and there will be too much fluid from them. When each batch is ready, you should remove vegetables from the stir-fry wok. When all the vegetables are fried, you can add them to the wok again to reheat if necessary.

As you can see, it is quite simple to cook the vegetables, too. You can use any sort you like and combine them in numerous ways. Here is a simple recipe if you want to try these tips right away.

Vegetable Stir-fry

Ingredients:

Onion - 1 pc. Garlic - 3 cloves Ginger - 1 slice Chili pepper (optional) - 1 pc. Bell pepper - 1 pc Carrot - 1 pc. Cabbage - 200 g Vegetable oil - 2-3 tbsp Peas (can be frozen) - 100 g Sichuan pepper (optional) - 1/2 tsp Soy sauce - 2 tbsp Sesame oil - 1-2 tsp

Instructions:

Before frying, you need to prepare and chop all the vegetables, because you will need to add them pretty quickly. Cut onions into half rings, garlic, ginger, green onions, and chili into small pieces. Cut the pepper and carrots into thin strips. Chop cabbage.

In a wok, heat the oil very well. Place onions, ginger, chili, and garlic. Fry quickly, stirring occasionally, no more than for a minute. Add carrots to the pan. And with an interval of half a minute, add pepper, green onions, cabbage, and peas. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Crush the Sichuan peppercorns in a mortar, sprinkle over the vegetables. Finally, add soy sauce and sesame oil. Serve immediately.

In Conclusion

Now you can see that stir-fry is probably one of the simplest and tastiest dishes. You can follow our recipes or create your own - it is the best possibility to experiment.

Just don’t forget about our tips, they will help you to do everything correctly. Prepare all the ingredients in advance, think about all the steps you’ll need to make, and the result will be perfect.

Be careful when using a hot wok and don’t be afraid to experiment. Soon you’ll create a masterpiece! Enjoy your meal!

garlic garlic big_pepper.png big_pepper.png big_pepper.png limes limes

Recommended products

More from Blog

How to season the WOK (advanced method)

In this video, we offer a simple and easy way with oil and vegetables. Especially good for a new wok. The vegetables will help to eliminate the metallic taste of new wok.

How to clean a new WOK

Follow this guide and avoid the most common problems as grey/black residue after several cycles of washing. All process will take 5 minutes only!

How damage can occur to the surface of the wok and how to restore it

Your wok rusted? Peeled off? Don't rush to get rid of it. Restore and use it for a lifetime.

Carbon Steel: The Kitchen Investment of a Lifetime

Wok stir-fry cooking tips – make a culinary masterpiece in 20 minutes

Watch the recipe video and make a culinary masterpiece in 20 minutes

What to do with burnt-on food stuck to the surface

Cooking on high-heat is challenging, but burnt food stuck to the surface is normal. Watch the video and cook on high heat without worries.