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How to Stir Fry in 6 Easy Steps

How to Stir Fry in 6 Easy Steps

Stir frying is a very easy, healthy cooking technique.  Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never used a wok.  These six steps will start you on your path to stir fry prowess.  Once you master the basics, I know your wok will become a trusted friend.

Since stir fry is a very quick cooking technique, preparation is key.  Have all your ingredients ready to go and lined up next to the stove before you begin.  That’s the hard part.  The rest is easy.

Vegetables Ready for the Wok
Like these vegetables, ingredients should be prepared in advance and lined up by your stove, ready for addition to the wok.

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

As you prepare your ingredients, you will line them up near your stove in the order in which they will be added to your wok.  Ingredients that go into the wok at the same time can be placed in the same bowl.

All meat should be thinly and evenly sliced, in roughly equal pieces.  Vegetables should also be cut into equal pieces.

Garlic, ginger, and other aromatics should be prepared according to recipe instructions and set aside in a small bowl.

Meat pieces should be kept aside in a small bowl.

Thoroughly dried vegetables should be arranged in separate bowls, depending on how long they take to cook.  Longer-cooking vegetables should be separated from those that cook more quickly, as they will be added to your wok earlier in the cooking process.

Any sauce called for in the recipe should be prepared in advance.

Step 2:  Heat the Wok

Preheat the wok over high heat for several minutes or until a droplet of water evaporates on contact.  Add oil and quickly swirl to coat the bowl of the wok.

Step 3:  Add the Garlic, Ginger and Other Aromatics

Add the garlic and ginger to the center of the work.  Turn quickly with your spoon or spatula for a minute or two, until just fragrant but not brown.  Push the aromatics up the sides of the wok, where the temperature is lower.

Step 3:  Stir Fry the Meat

Add the meat to the wok in a single, even layer.  It should sizzle on contact.  Allow it to sear.  Then, using a long handled spoon or spatula, continuously lift and turn the meat, until cooked through.  Once the meat is a few minutes shy of being fully cooked.  Remove the meat and aromatics from the wok and keep to the side.

Step 5:  Add the Vegetables

Ensure that your vegetables are completely dry.  Otherwise, they will steam, rather than sear.  Quickly add the longer cooking vegetables (carrots, broccoli, zucchini, etc.) to the center of the wok.  Toss, along with the garlic and ginger, until they are about half cooked.  Then, add any quick-cooking vegetables, such as mushrooms.  Continue tossing.  When vegetables are about 2 minutes shy of being fully cooked, return the meat and aromatics to the wok, allowing any juices to run down the sides to the center.

Sauce in the Center of The Wok
The sides of the wok are cooler than the base. Pushing the meat and vegetables up the sides slows their cooking, allowing the sauce in the center to thicken.

Step 6:  Add the Sauce

Add your intended sauce around the edges of the wok.  Toss it quickly with the meat and vegetables to warm through and finish the cooking process.  Serve immediately.

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