How to Stir Fry in a Wok

How to stir fry involves some careful food preparation, a good wok pan and high heat. We’ll walk you through the 5 basic steps needed to know when learning how to stir-fry. Once you’ve got these 5 steps down, you may find that the wok has become your go-to pan as you begin to conceive your own creations for one unique stir-fry after another. Cooking in a wok does not need to be intimidating anymore.

how to stir fry

How to Stir Fry

How to stir-fry involves the following 5 basic steps and about 20 minutes of time, depending on how quickly you can chop and slice. The other great thing about the stir-fry process is that you can experiment with all sorts of ethnic cooking or make creations of your own.

  1. Make your sauce.
  2. If you use a 2 cup measure to make the sauce then it will be easy to pour into the wok when needed.

  3. Chop your veggies.
  4. Chop each vegetable type into a separate pile on your cutting board. You will probably have some quick cooking vegetables and some slower cooking vegetables. Vegetables that take longer to cook include: asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, parsnips, potatoes and turnips. Quick cooking vegetables include cabbage, corn, garlic, mushrooms, onions, peas, peppers, spinach, summer squash and zucchini.

  5. Cook your protein.
  6. Good proteins to use are generally chicken, steak, seafood or tofu. For this step you will need to: A) Heat your wok (if you’re not sure if it’s hot toss a drop of water in and see if it disappears right away). B) Add about a Tablespoon of oil – preferably peanut, coconut or canola (oils that can withstand high heat). C) Swirl your wok to coat the bottom and sides of the wok with the oil. D) Add the pieces of protein and either toss the pan around with a down then up motion of your wrist or use a flattish utensil to stir the bottom meats up to the top and those on top to the bottom (how to stir-fry!). It should just take 2-4 minutes to do this step, unless you’ve cut your pieces too big – whoops! Remove the protein to another bowl while you do the next step.
    Note: if you are using a tougher cut of meat, you will want to have marinated it for some time before this step.

  7. Cook your veggies.
  8. Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok and again swirl to coat. Toss in your longer cooking vegetables and after 2-3 minutes you can add the quicker cooking veggies and continue to toss for about 2-3 more minutes.

  9. Add your sauce.
  10. Return the protein to the pan and then stir in the sauce you made (or purchased) in step #1. Cook for about a minute as you see the sauce thicken and just begin to start to bubbling. Ready to serve!

Stir-fries are great served with rice, noodles or just stand alone.

Additional Information

Cutting vegetables to make a stir fry can be tricky business. For tips on cutting onions, see our how to cut an onion.

If you don’t have a wok, you might want to read how to choose a wok so that you can find one that suits you. Stir frying is one way of executing many different healthy meals.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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