- Chop or slice all ingredients and have them well organized before you start cooking. If the sauce has multiple ingredients, combine them before you start to fry.
- Cut meat in small, bite-size pieces and slice vegetables in diagonal bite-size pieces. The extra surface area from slicing on the bias helps them cook more quickly.
- Heat wok before adding oil (unless using non-stick). Drizzle oil down the sides as you add for even coating and quick heating.
- Flavor hot oil by quickly stirring in garlic, ginger, and/or chili peppers – but don't' let them burn.
- If stir fry includes meat, fry it first until it is almost cooked through, then remove from the wok. Work in batches to avoid over-crowding. Between batches, carefully wipe wok with a paper towel, add more oil if necessary, and give the wok time get hot again.
- Add vegetables according to cooking time, for example add broccoli and carrots before leafy vegetables like bok choy or spinach.
- Add the meat back when the vegetables are almost done, generally about the same time you add the sauce. Bring sauce just to a simmer and enjoy immediately with steamed rice or your favorite noodles.
Stir fry is a great way to whip up quick and healthy meals – and it's not just for Asian flavors! These techniques work well with all kinds of ingredients – experiment and find your favorite.
Note: If you have a ceramic cook top, it may be difficult to get the sides of a wok sufficiently hot to stir fry well. Try using a large, flat-bottomed sauté pan instead.