My love of stir -fry began really early on. I knew that I loved the way the vegetables were cut, how colorful they were all sautéing together in a large frying pan. I knew that I couldn’t get enough of the slightly sweet sauce soaked into fluffy white rice. But what I didn’t know was that it was my mother’s busy weeknight secret weapon. After a long day of work, school, and dance classes, I’d stand in the kitchen and marvel at how quickly my mom made this miraculous meal come together. No doubt she was dead tired, but she made it look effortless. I literally remember thinking to myself, “I’ll definitely make this all the time once I’m a grown up.” Fast forward twenty or so years and I’ve kept my childhood promise to myself. I make quick stir-fries all the time.
There’s such beauty and finesse in making something so fulfilling in such a short time. The finished product is so casually impressive (if that even makes any sense), and it’s perfect for anyone who’s busy, tired, or pressed for time. It’s done quickly, it’s super filling, and there’s only one pot to wash. And it’s so adaptable! Chicken, steak, sans meat, whatever, no biggie. There’s no limit to the combination of vegetables you can use- or not use. If you absolutely hate peppers, just substitute them for whatever fresh or frozen veggie you have hanging around. Stir-fry is one of the simplest staple meals to conquer. Get into it.
What You’ll Need:
Vegetable or canola oil
A tablespoon of minced garlic
One medium to large onion
A medium to large green pepper
Two large, skinned carrots
A regular sized package of button mushrooms
Fresh ginger root
About a pound of finely cut steak (leaner cuts are best for this recipe)
Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
Chopped green onion for garnish
For the Sauce:
1/2 cup of soy sauce (I use the low sodium version)
1/8 cup of rice wine vinegar (regular white can work in a pinch)
1 ½ tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
½ teaspoon of ground ginger or a teaspoon of fresh
A splash of fish sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
What To Do:
Take a minute to prepare your ingredients. Rinse fresh produce, and pull any frozen produce out the freezer to have nearby. Peel and slice the carrots and onion, peel and mince the fresh ginger, chop your mushrooms, slice your green pepper. Whisk together your soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, additional garlic and ginger, optional fish sauce, and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl. Set aside for later.
Heat about three tablespoons of oil in your sauté pan or wok on medium high heat. It may seem like a lot of oil for a stir-fry, but there’s a lot of vegetables to get through. Add your minced garlic and ginger, and let them heat up a bit, for about a minute at most, pushing them around in the pan. Make sure to not let them burn, they’re the basic flavor profile of your entire dish.
Season your steak lightly with salt and pepper, and to the pan. For my thin cut, I let it brown for about two minutes on each side, so that it’s still slightly pink in the middle. It’ll get more time in the pan later. Remove from the pan and sit aside to rest.
Now time for the vegetables. Add the carrots to the pan first, as they take the longest to cook. Give them about two minutes in there alone, then add the green peppers. After about a minute, add the onions. A minute later, the frozen edamame, and another minute later, the chopped mushrooms.
Slice your steak in about a two-inch width. Throw it in the pan with the veggies, which should be just about finished cooking. We’re almost done! Pour the sauce over your veggies and give everything a good stir to make sure everything gets coated. Give it about two minutes in the pan, and you’re done! Serve over fluffy white rice.
Before anything goes onto the heat, have your ingredients pre-washed and cut. For a perfect stir-fry where none of the vegetables are overcooked and the meat stays tender, you’ll need everything prepared and ready to toss in as you go along.
A wok is ideal for making a stir-fry, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry! My mother never had a wok, and neither do I. Just make sure you use a somewhat shallow sauté or frying pan that’s wide enough to fit your ingredients- because everything will be cooked in that one pan.
Remember that stir-fries are the most subjective and adaptable meals on the planet. Fresh ginger is great, but if you only have ground, it’ll still turn out great. Adjust your ingredients to fit your family’s needs- I left out spice to accommodate for a toddler, but feel free to dial up the heat with red pepper flakes if you can handle it!