If you’ve been following our GuaranT Good Food series, you will have already seen how to score some Wok Wins by using the right type of oil to fry with, but now we’re back with some more wockin’ tips to help you out with your stir fries.
Stir fries are one of the simplest meals to make. You really can’t go wrong with throwing a load of ingredients into a wok with a little oil and frying them up – or can you?
Well, not really, but there are a few hacks you can try to make your stir fries all the more flavoursome and of a generally higher standard.
A lot of us our guility and thinking the way to cook a stir fry is to just keep throwing more and more ingredients into the wok. But if you’re not careful, some parts of your stir fry could end up a little overcooked. More commonly though, overcrowding your wok means the ingredients inside can end up going a bit sweaty and limp (think of your meat and veggies like passengers on a rush hour tube journey) and lose their nice crunchy texture.
Instead of just throwing it all in, our top tip for stir fries is to flash fry ingredients then take them out to rest while you cook more – check out this video for more info.
But what exactly should you be putting in your stir fries? Can you stir fry absolutely anything? Let’s take a look:
Sweet and sour stir fry
Stir fries have their roots in Chinese cuisine, so it’s only proper to start with a Chinese-inspired dish. Combine the flavours of sweet and sour with a traditional stir fry for the ultimate Chinese meal, which is definitely going to be a lot healthier than your usual Friday night takeaway.
Foxes Love Lemons has a recipe showing you how to do this, which is packed with veggies. Obviously, you can add in chicken or pork if you’d prefer some meat in there too. With sweet pineapple, tangy soy sauce and juicy stir-fried vegetables, this is definitely a wok win.
It’s suggested that you serve this one up with fresh courgetti rather than the usual noodles, which keeps it lighter on the calories, but without losing any of the taste. Sprinkle with a handful of sesame seeds for added protein and crunch, making it a dish full of interesting textures and tastes.
Gingery, garlicky fish stir fry
Fish works really well in a stir fry too. Add white fish like cod, haddock or monkfish to your wok at the same time as your oil and some garlic and ginger, and your fish will end up beautifully infused, taking on those flavours excellently.
Peanut tofu stir fry
Adding peanuts or even peanut butter to a stir fry brings a flavour that won’t be to everyone’s liking, but if you’re a fan of satay sauce, it’ll be right up your street.
Rhian’s Recipes uses tofu in her version, which can easily be swapped out for chicken or beef or even left out altogether for a vegetable-packed version if you’d prefer.
Technically, you can just stir fry your ingredients in peanut butter, but that will create a rather strong distinct taste that may need sweetening up a little. In this recipe, it’s combined with sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and rice or apple cider vinegar for a more palatable flavour that’s full of depth, with just a hint of PB.
Stir-fried special rice
Of course, stir fries aren’t just about noodles, stir-fried rice is incredibly popular in Asian cooking too. Egg fried rice is the obvious example, and this special version from Easy Peasy Foodie which features prawns and peas too makes a simple weeknight supper on its own.
Alternatively, top it with a sauce-based dish like chicken satay, sweet and sour or beef in black bean sauce, and all of that beautifully fried rice will soak up that flavoursome sauce.
Feel free to leave out the prawns if you’re topping it with something meat-based and are unsure about combining meat and fish, or go all out surf’n’turf.
Would you stir fry fruit? Think about it, and why wouldn’t you? Juicy fruits like mango and pineapple work really well with chicken and are great at taking on spices, like in this meat-free recipe from Nutmegs, Seven, which puts the pineapple at the heart of the dish.
Sceptical? You’d eat pineapple in your sweet and sour from the Chinese without even thinking about it, so what’s stopping you from giving it a go? Nothing, that’s what. Serve the dish with rice or noodles for a life-changing – yes, we are going that far – experience.