Stir-fries are some of the easiest and healthiest meals you can cook. They use only a little oil and take minutes to make.
It’s actually quicker and cheaper to make a stir-fry at home than it is to get a Thai or Chinese takeaway. You can even speed up the process by purchasing pre-cut vegetables from the green grocer or frozen stir-fry vegies from the supermarket.
Follow our step-by-step guide for this essential cooking technique, which can be used for many varieties of stir-fries, and also to cook meat and vegetable ingredients for pasta dishes, fajita mixes and even pizza toppings!
The secret to good stir-frying is preparing all of the ingredients so they’re ready to be tossed into the wok as soon as you start cooking. With the vegetables, organise them in piles or bowls according to how long they’ll take to cook: e.g. carrots, broccoli, corn in one batch; capsicum and snow peas in a second batch. Have the meat, onion, spices and sauces ready also.
A hot wok is also essential for a good stir-fry. Heat a non-stick wok over high heat until hot, and then add a teaspoon of sesame or peanut oil.
The way to cook a stir-fry is to ‘stir’ then ‘fry’ for a few seconds. So add the garlic, ginger, any spices and meat to the wok and stir, fry, stir, and fry for about 2–3 minutes. (If your wok is small or you’re cooking for a crowd, you may need to cook the meat in batches.) Once the meat is cooked, remove from the wok and set aside.
Return the wok to the heat, and start by cooking the most dense vegetables first, e.g. carrots, broccoli and corn, as these will take the longest to cook. Stir, fry, stir, and fry for about 2 minutes. Add the next batch of vegetables and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes more. Add the final batch of vegetables and stir-fry for another minute.
When the vegetables are cooked, return the meat mixture to the pan and add sauces such as soy or oyster sauce. Toss to combine and stir-fry for another 30–60 seconds to heat through. If you like your stir-fry with a bit of sauce, you can add 1–2 tablespoons of stock at this point.
You can enjoy your stir-fry on its own or served with noodles or rice.
Now you know the fundamentals to stir-frying try our Japanese beef, mushroom and eggplant stir-fry or the simple and delicious Thai beef and bean stir-fry. If you're a member, simply click here to view all our stir-fry recipes.
Or create your own by tossing together 100g lean meat, chicken or tofu with 2–3 cups of your favourite vegetables per person and serve with rice or noodles.