Stir fry was always the healthy answer to “I am broke” and “I can’t cook” at university. It is easy, there is no set “recipe” and you can use basically any vegetables and/or meat you find on sale. The simplicity of it does mean that some people, like me, who worry far too much for our own good, worry we can “get it wrong” really easily. Not true. But I needed a step-by-step process to give me that confidence. I’d love to say it just comes naturally, but honestly, I have my six steps and I basically sing them in my head “one, two, three, for, tell me that you love me more…” (anyone?).
So for the worries or the newbies, here’s the no-fail stir fry simple steps.
If you chose to have meat/tofu then marinade it in the sauce. Even if its only for five minutes while you chop the vegetables. It helps make the flavour stronger in every bite. What are you in the mood for?
Teryaki-style sauce: 1/4 cup soy, 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/8 cup honey, 1 clove chopped garlic (if you feel fancy)
Spicy sauce: 1/4 cup soy, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp chopped fresh chilli (or 1/2 tbsp dried chilli), 1 tsp ginger
Simple stir-fry sauce: 1/4 cup soy, 1/8 cup tomato ketchup, 1 tsp ginger, 1 clove chopped garlic
Miso Marinade: 1/4 cup white miso, 1/8 cup soy sauce, 1tbsp rice wine vinegar
Everything needs to be sliced into similar size bits, even the tofu or meat, so it cooks relatively evenly. I do it in long thin pieces.
3. COOK THE MEAT/TOFU
In a pan, heat some oil and toss in the meat/tofu, removed from the sauce. You can have some in the pan with it, but leave most for step 5. Brown your meat on all sides, or do the equivalent with tofu.
4. ADD THICK VEGETABLES
Most stir fries have just “thick vegetables” like peppers, broccoli, mini-corn and snap peas. If you decide to include “thin” vegetables like pak choi or ribbons of carrot (chunks count as thick), these don’t need much cooking time, so first add thick vegetables and let cook for 1-2 minutes for crispy and 3-4 for soft.
5. ADD SAUCE (and thin vegetables)
If you have any pak choi or ribbons of carrot or zucchini add them now along wit the rest of the sauce. Let cook for a further 5 minutes.