We simply love stir fry. They're a staple in our home because they're quick to make and you can use most vegetables that you happen to have sitting in the fridge. We'll just chop up and throw in any of these veggies we have on hand for a quick, hot, and healthy meal. In this recipe, we'll use green and yellow beans, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, snow peas, peppers, red or yellow onions, and zucchini/summer squash. You can use whatever combination of these you like, adding in and leaving out whatever you want to, and it won't affect the overall result. That's one of the best things about stir fry! And to complete the meal stir fry can be enjoyed with rice or pasta, either mixed in or on the side.
Other veggies that work well too are asparagus, spinach, parsnip, tomatoes, and bean sprouts. If you have a personal favourite, let us know, and we'll add it to this list.
1. First, we heat the frying pan to medium high, or setting 7 or 8, and splash on some oil -- use whatever you like, canola, vegetable, olive, just make sure to use enough that it will spread over the entire area of the pan once it heats up.
- Some people make their stir fry on high to ensure maximum crispiness, but that requires almost constant stirring and can lead to burnt fry.. or stir burnt. We find medium high is sufficient to keep the veggies from getting soggy without the risk of things getting burnt easily.
2. We add the firmest veggies first, to give them more time to be cooked and prevent softer veggies from getting soggy and losing their flavour. We start with the carrots, sliced into 1/8" to 1/4" circles, or half moons if the carrots are very large. We splash on about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water (it doesn't have to be precise) and put the cover on the pan for a minute or two to quickly steam the carrots and soften them up.
- As we add more veggies to the pan, we use our spatula to move aside what's been cooking so that the new veggies have a bare space to touch metal and be properly cooked. We eventually heap the cooked veggies into a pile to make room (this becomes necessary the more ingredients you have). Add more oil before adding more veggies if necessary.
3. Then we add the next firmest vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower (we add these together at the same time). You can cut the florets into small or large pieces depending on your own preference. We do the same quick steaming trick as with the carrots but we use a little less water since they aren't as hard as carrots, and don't require as much steaming to soften up. Once the broccoli turns a nice dark green colour, we know they're done, and remove the cover.
4. Now we start adding some of the softer veggies in this order:
- string beans (cut into one inch pieces),
- snow peas (we cook them whole but they can be cut into smaller pieces if wanted -- just be sure to remove the little "hats" first!),
- summer squash/zucchini (cut into 1/4" thick circles or half moons),
- peppers (diced or cut into larger squares or rectangles, depending on preference -- the smaller you cut them, the less time they need),
and onions (same as peppers).
Since these cook quickly, you don't want to leave them on the pan long or else they'll get soft and lose their flavour and texture. Add one after the other every 30-60 seconds. Do not leave the cover on the pan while these veggies are cooking, or to keep them warm after serving, because the stir fry will get soggy very quickly.
5. And you're done! It's that simple. Between cutting up and veggies and cooking, a stir fry only takes about 10-20 minutes to make once you get the swing of things.
Now turn off the pan and grab your favourite herbs, spices, and/or sauces: we've used salt, pepper, vegetable spice, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, basil, parsley, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and more.
- Most of these could be used together, except for basil and parsley, or soy sauce and teriyaki sauce -- in most cases, you're best off just using one or the other.
- Spices are a person to person thing, so once again, judge by your own preference -- start with a little bit of each spice and add more until it tastes right to you.
- If you plan to use a sauce in your stir fry, or if you're mixing with rice and pasta, you may want to take those sauces out of the fridge before you start cooking so you don't cool down the dish.
Hope you enjoy this recipe! We've been eating these for years and they're always delicious.
We're no masters in the kitchen by any means, so if you have any tips or corrections for this stir fry recipe, let us know.