Bo Don't Know Stir Fry

I haven't stir fried in years, and pretty much made it up as I went along back then. So I really have no idea what I'm doing. But stir fry has been requested, so I need to step up to the wok.

What do I do?

I'm guessing...

Heat the oil, add garlic and ginger for a few minutes.

Add meat and veggies. Do it in the order of longest cooking time required to shortest cooking time required, to avoid over-cooking stuff.

Season with a little soy sauce, and maybe some sesame seeds?

I'm sure there's more to it. Clue me in here guys.

Some more tips:

Marinade your meat. This could be a combination of soy sauce, salt, rice wine, corn starch, water, garlic, ginger, and/or oil. Try to marinade for at least 30 minutes and don't put too much soy unless you want the meat to look dark.

For some vegetables you may want to blanch, boil or steam it first before cooking to reduce the cooking time.

For the most part the pieces should be relatively the same size.

You want as high a heat as possible and make sure you have enough oil. Right before or when the oil has a wisp of smoke, throw in your ingredients from shortest cooking time to longest (you're correct).

Make sure you have enough oil.

The heat is high so you should be moving the ingredients around and be careful of burning. Ideally you want a wok (not a non-stick because they don't handle heat well) so you constantly move ingredients around. You especially want to move ingredients that are done away from the bottom.

You'll also want all your ingredients prepared and cut before cooking.

You may want to let the meat sear for 10-30 seconds before you actually move it around.

You can add many different things to flavor: oyster sauce, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, different types of vinegar, chile pastes, pepper, and of course MSG.

I don't put garlic in until last so it won't burn since stir frying uses nuclear temperatures. 

Woks are only good if you have the ring of fire to lay them in.  Otherwise it's a 6 inch skillet with 12 inch sides.  If you have a turkey frying contraption you can put your wok in that but otherwise you're hosed. 

I cook in batches since I use a skillet and can't park stuff up the sides of a wok.  I'll cook the meat, then remove it.  Cook the veggies, then throw the meat back in to get hot again.  Here's a recipe from America's Test Kitchen that modified it so it works with American equipment.   Only thing I would do extra is pat the meat dry after marinating so it browns even better.  I like the crusty parts.

Broccoli Beef (techniques work for any stir fry)

1 lb flank steak, sliced against the grain
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 tablespoons low sodium chicken broth
5 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
3 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 1/4 lbs broccoli, bite-sized florets and stems trimmed into 1/8 inch slices
1/3 cup water
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
3 medium scallions, sliced 1/2 inch thick on diagonal


  1. Combine the beef and soy sauce in a medium bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring once. Meanwhile, whisk the sherry, chicken broth, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a measuring cup. Combine the garlic, ginger and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in small bowl.


  1. Drain the beef and disgard the liquid. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add half of the beef to the skillet and break up clumps; cook without stirring, 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned about the edges, about 30 seconds. Transfer the beef to a medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil to the skillet, heat until just smoking, and repeat with the remaining beef.


  1. Add 1 tablespoons peanut oil to the now-empty skillet; heat until just smoking. Add the broccoli and cook 30 seconds; add the water, cover the pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam the broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes; transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil to the skillet; increase the heat to high and heat until just smoking. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until spotty brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Clear the center of the skillet; add the garlic and ginger to the clearing and cook, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant, about 15 to 20 seconds, then sture the mixture unto the peppers. Return the beef and broccoli to the skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine, then add to the skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with the scallions, and serve.

If you use chilis, put them in first for a minute. The chili oil with mix with the rest of the oil and coat everything later when you add the rest.