Posted by on Jun 8, 2010 in Main Courses, Recipes

Stir Fry 1,000 different ways

My dear friend Cinnamon leaves me her old Food Network magazines every once in a while at work. Several months back I took some home to pilfer through and tear out anything worthy of my recipe scrapbook. Its just an empty notebook where I glue down any scrap papers that might someday provide inspiration.

I have one for food, home organization, eco-friendly stuff, and crafts. Its funny how organized that is, but how dis-organized the rest of my life is :)

ANYWAY, I found this Stir-fry page that looked amazing. Its a few basic steps, all tailered to what you have in our house (on hand) with some must-have stir-fry items (that you probably already have also).

I like to call this my “Clean out the fridge” dinner. Sort of like a big pot of Jambalaya, only….. Asian food.

Because this recipe is long, I’m going to number the steps. It doesn’t really take long to put this together, its just so versatile that I’m giving you all the options forthright.

Step 1: Pick ONE protein. It can be chicken, pork, beef (preferably a steak or any other tender cut of beef), shrimp or tofu. If you want to skip the tofu then you will only end up with “Stir-fry 800 ways”. Your choice.

The recipe calls for 3/4 pound (and 12oz. tofu), but use however much you want. Thinly slice the meat (against the grain), peel and de-vein the shrimp and/or cube the tofu.

Image from

Step 2: Marinate the meat. This is done for at least 30 minutes-12 hours before you begin cooking.
marinade: 1 egg white
1 T. rice wine or dry sherry
1 T. cornstarch
Whisk these three together and toss with the meat. Cover and refrigerate.

Step 3: Prep 3 cups vegetables (in any combination) Ideas are:

  • sliced carrots
  • sliced celery
  • sliced bell peppers (or any other peppers you dare)
  • 1 inch scallion pieces
  • sliced onions or shallots
  • quartered mushrooms
  • sliced bok choy/pac choi or any other cabbage
  • sliced leeks
  • snow peas
  • sliced asparagus
  • quartered plum tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
  • baby spinach
  • cooking greens (mizuna, chard, radish tops, etc.)
  • broccoli or cauliflower florets
  • de-shelled edamame
  • sliced zucchini and yellow summer squash
  • green beans
  • alfalfa sprouts

You get the idea. Pretty much any vegetable that may be lingering in your fridge can be chopped and stir-fried. Heck, I added a lot more veggies to this list.

By now we’ve probably got “Stir-fry 2,000 ways”.

Step 4: Choose a sauce.

For this step I just took a picture of my magazine cut-out. There are 5 different sauces. Like most Asian sauces, they consist of the typical ingredients just mixed around a bit. It was just easier to understand this way rather than re-writing it all.

You may have to click on the photo to enlarge the text.

I found that the brown sauce and oyster sauce were particularly good with beef, and spicy sauce good with shrimp. I think chicken and pork would go well with any of them. And the tofu? Haven’t tried it yet (guilty!).

The sauce ingredient list looks long, but once you buy these “Asian” sauces, they won’t go rancid for a very long time and you can use them for so many things.

Go ahead and mix the sauce ingredients together. You will have to give them another stir right before use to keep the cornstarch off the bottom of the bowl.

Step 5: Cook so we can EAT!

  • Heat a large skillet or wok on medium-high heat with peanut or vegetable oil. I only use a few tablespoons, but the recipe calls for 1/4 inch deep.
  • Drain the excess marinade from the meat. Add to the hot wok and slowly stir until its almost cooked. Transfer to a plate (we will continue cooking it in a moment).
  • Discard oil and re-heat with new oil- about 2 T.
  • Add 2 cloves minced garlic, 1-2 T. minced ginger, and 2 minced scallions. Also add a pinch of each salt and sugar. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the vegetables, starting with the ones that take the longest to cook. Stir-fry until crisp-tender.
  • Add the protein back into the wok and the sauce. Stir until the sauce has thickened and the veggies and protein is cooked through- about 3 minutes. Thin the sauce with chicken broth if needed.
  • Garnish with sliced scallions, peanuts, sesame seeds, sliced jalepenos, limes and cilantro.
  • Serve with hot fried rice or quick Asian noodles. I like Jaden’s 15 minute Noodle recipe and I make a rice similar to Jake and Rene’s fried rice.

Okay, so that last step is a little deceiving, isn’t it? I’m telling you this recipe is worth it- if only to make a meal out of what is lingering in your house already. Don’t have all the ingredients? You can ad lib this one. That’s the beauty of stir-fry. :)

Hope you like it!

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