Stir fries are pretty basic things at the best of times, what we use to flavour them is usually make or break unless you overcook your veg. The vegetables I use in a stir fry is usually slightly different every time I make one bar a few core ingredients. This one in particular Is one that is completely Allium free (that’s the Onion family), but I’ll mention where I feel you could add these throughout the recipe. You can also serve these with Rice or Noodles if you like. Stirring some cooked rice through at the end can help pad a few extra mouthfuls out of the recipe.
Basic Stir Fry Veg:
- Bok Choi
- Baby Corn
- Cashew Nuts
These are my Go-To’s for a Stir fry. It can be simple as this along with a diced onion of you wish to include it. But lets add some other stuff for some flair:
- Mini Sweet Peppers (Or Capsicum)
- Snow Peas
- Mung Bean Sprouts
- Sesame seeds (White and Black)
- Fresh Coriander (And some Spring Onion if you like)
The Cauliflower will need to be blanched before using in the stir fry – simply chop it up to your desired size and immerse in salted rapidly boiling water for 2 mins and then immediately cooled in cold water, (ideally iced water, but who has time to sort THAT shit out). You can blanch the Broccoli and Carrot too – I prefer mine to have a bit of crunch.
The Coriander can have the stalks finely chopped and the leaves roughly chopped and used at different stages.
Now! On to the meat. I buy Beef Schnitzel on special and slice into strips and freeze in stir fry portioned batches. Ideally the night before, thaw the beef and marinade in a glass bowl ready for the following evening. Your marinade is as follows:
- 1 Tablespoon of dark soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 Teaspoon of crushed/grated Ginger (also crushed garlic if you’re having it)
- 1 Chopped Chilli (Deseed if you like)
- 1 Tablespoon of cornflour
- A pinch of White Pepper
Once it’s time to start cooking there’s a bit of prep to get out of the way beforehand. You want everything cut, assembled and ready to go, because you’re not gonna have time to fluff around with things too much. I setup several bowls with items ready to go:
The Hard Veg
This is the Cauli, Carrot, Broccoli and the chopped lower half of the Bok Choi. I include the Cashews here too.
The Soft Veg
This is the Cabbage, Sweet Peppers, Baby Corn, the upper half of the Bok Choi finley sliced and Snow Peas
The Last Minute Heroes
These are the bits that go in with about a minute to go, they either can’t take much cooking or you want them to have a bit of crunch. The Bean Sprouts, Coriander Leaves (and Spring Onion if you like) and the the sesame seeds.
I haven’t said much about these yet, so I’ll mention them here:
MSG: My good friend MSG will make an appearance here. A total of about half a teaspoon (Two good pinches) is all its gonna take.
Light Soy Sauce to help the Veg along
Sesame Oil – a strong flavour, use it sparingly.
Finally, the Oyster Sauce. These can have varied flavours, some quite dark and rich, others lighter and sweeter. My favourite is the Maekrua brand available at your local New Save Asian supermarket. I use this almost like a salad dressing at the very end.
Now it’s time to cook!
Get a Wok screaming hot. I mean smoke pouring from it hot. Add some Peanut Oil or Coconut Oil and throw in the hard Veg and keep moving for a couple of minutes. Throw in a splash of light soy and keep going ’til its largely evaporated. Springkle in a little MSG then return them to their bowl and dump the soft veg on top, then cover the bowl (They’ll steam and soften while you carry on with the rest).
Get the Wok back up to screaming hot temps, add more oil and put the meat in. Do this in batches to make sure you don’t crowd the Wok and make it lose its temperature. Once the last batch of meat is cooked, return the rest of the meat to the wok along with the combined hard and soft veg plus the Coriander stalks. Keep stirring until the soft veg is cooked to your liking. Finally, drizzle with some sesame oil, another kit of MSG and throw in the last minute heroes. Stir for about a minute then add some Oyster Sauce until everything is nicely coated. Don’t overdo this – there are no points for making gravy!
Serve in bowls and top with some fresh Mung Bean Sprouts and scattering of more Sesame Seeds. If you like a squeeze of lime really wakes things up too.
Done! This can of course be done with chicken in the exact same way, even Prawns, although I wouldn’t bother with the marinade and just cook them very quickly separately and stir through at the end to reheat them – overcooked Prawns suck!