Back with another recipe that’s more of a framework than a recipe because of how flexible it is. It’s a great way to eat veggies because they’re automatically included in the meal. It’s also an easy way to eat veggies that you might need to use up before they go bad. It comes together fairly quickly – even quicker if you use frozen veggies, and makes good leftovers.
Please note, this is the way I have found easy for stir-frying. Certainly it is not an authentic Asian stir-fry – I don’t even use a wok. But it makes edible, nutritious, and pretty tasty food.
Update September 2020: If you want to learn how to make an authentic stir-fry, I suggest you learn from The Woks of Life . This blog, written by a family of four excellent cooks, is an encyclopedia of Asian cooking. Super informative and interesting to read, I haven’t even made a dent in their content and I’m learning so much. The link above will take you to their post on how to make stir fry.
The ingredients you will need:
- Garlic cloves, or minced garlic
- Ginger, or minced ginger
- Veggies (whatever veggies you would like to have in a stir fry. Some ideas include: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, green onions, sugar snap peas, peas, mushrooms, green beans, mushrooms, zucchini or Italian squash, turnips. You can even use frozen veggies to save chopping time)
- Cooking oil that can withstand a fairly high heat, like canola, grapeseed, or avocado oil
- Soy sauce
- Some sort of protein (Check out a list of protein foods here in case you need ideas. I often like to use chicken, pork, or scrambled eggs. In the pictures I’ve used shrimp and tofu)
- Optionally but recommended, some grains to serve your stir fry with
I recommend preparing some whole grains to serve with your stir fry – I usually use brown rice, but you could use noodles, or even quinoa if you want. The stir fry cooks pretty fast so you will probably want to cook them beforehand.
First you will need to mince your garlic and ginger. Unless you’ve purchased pre-minced garlic and ginger (hooray! one less thing to do!)
Next, you will want to chop up your protein and vegetables into bite-size-ish pieces. Make sure you wash your hands, knife, and cutting board with soap and water after cutting raw meat. If you are using frozen vegetables, they are already probably chopped so you can skip this too! (There are broccoli and carrots under that cabbage, just so you know).
Note, some proteins are already in bite-size pieces, like shrimp or beans
If your protein needs to be cooked (raw meat, poultry or fish, or egg) you will cook the protein first, and then the vegetables. If your protein just needs to be warmed through (tofu, cooked beans, pre-cooked meat) you will cook the vegetables first and then just add the protein for the last few minutes to warm them through.
Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a few tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is warm (it shimmers or moves easily when you tilt the pan), add half your ginger and garlic and stir around. Let cook for just a few minutes to flavor the oil
Here I’ve accidentally cooked this a little too long – those brown bits toward the top will taste a little burnt and bitter. It’s fine to eat, just try not to get to this point.
If your protein needs to be cooked, add it to the pan now and stir occasionally until it’s cooked through. Click here for the minimal internal temperatures for different types of meat. Once the protein is cooked, remove it to a separate bowl while you cook the veggies. If you’re not concerned about overcooking your protein, you can also just leave it in the pan while you cook the veggies.
Now, add the other half of the garlic and ginger (and a little more oil if you think it needs it). Then add all your veggies. Look at all these pretty colors! To be honest, that’s sometimes how I pick what to include in my stir fry – how many colors can I include. Stir these veggies around so the flavorful oil, garlic, and ginger is well mixed and so they cook.
Sometimes to help the veggies cook a little faster with less stirring I will add 1/4-1/2 cup water and then cover the pan so that they steam a little bit. I only do this sometimes, but since I don’t have a wok and I put a ton of veggies in here, they aren’t getting as exposed to the direct heat of the hot pan. Again, this isn’t necessary, just helps them get tender faster. Stop cooking once the veggies are your desired tenderness. I like mine pretty crunchy still – especially because they’ll get less crunchy when I warm it up for leftovers
Once your veggies are cooked, add your protein back in along with soy sauce (as much as you want). Stir and cook until your protein is heated through. Serve over your preferred grain!
Just the instructions (no pictures)
- Cook some grains if you like (rice, noodles, etc.)
- Mince ginger and garlic, set aside
- Chop vegetables into bite-size-ish pieces (skip for frozen vegetables)
- Cut protein into bite-size pieces if needed. Wash hands, cutting boards, and utensils with soap and water after touching raw meat, fish, or poultry
- Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan
- Once the oil is shimmery, add half the ginger and garlic and cook for a just a few minutes (don’t let it turn brown)
- If your protein needs to be cooked (not just warmed), add it now and stir occasionally until it is fully cooked (minimal internal temperatures here)
- Remove protein to a separate bowl (or leave it in if you’re not worried about it overcooking)
- Add the rest of the garlic and ginger and the vegetables. Stir occasionally until veggies are the tenderness you like.
- (Optionally to cook faster without stirring, add 1/4-1/2 cup water to the pan and cover with a lid to let the veggies steam for a few minutes)
- Add protein back in along with soy sauce to taste and stir until warmed. Serve over your preferred grain