February 13, 2014 – Cooking up a stir fry at home is one of our favorite weeknight dinners for so many reasons: It comes together quickly, it is easy to customize flavors and healthiness and it features a balance of protein, veggies and carbs in one bowl.
When you order Asian stir fry from a restaurant, the veggies and meat are often pan-fried in oil and the amount of rice or noodles is more than likely bigger than a suggested serving size. Cooking at home not only saves you money, but also calories, without sacrificing the flavors of your favorite takeout.
Stir Fry Basics
Follow these steps to help you make a no-fail stir fry:
- Choose your vegetables and protein. Chop all ingredients to the same size for even cooking.
- If you’re serving with rice, start cooking it right away as it takes the longest. Or, simply use instant rice.
- Prep all ingredients before heating up your pan. Stir frying goes quickly, so you don’t want to burn something in the pan while you are prepping another ingredient.
- Dry all ingredients as best you can, including the meat, to avoid splattering when they hit the hot pan.
- Use a high-rimmed skillet set over medium-high heat (unless your recipe says otherwise). Or, if you have one, use a wok. The high rim helps prevent hot oil or water from splattering out of the pan.
- Use canola or vegetable oil instead of olive oil for two reasons: first, canola has a higher smoke point so it won’t burn. Also, olive oil tends to have a stronger flavor that could be unwanted in stir fry. Don’t want to cook with oil at all? You can steam your ingredients in water or broth.
- Always stir fry the meat first and then set aside, so your meat won’t overcook while you cook the veggies.
- Next, stir fry denser vegetables like onions, eggplant, broccoli, carrots and peppers. After about 5 minutes, add your leafy greens, green onions, mushrooms or other quick-cooking veggies.
- Once all of your ingredients are cooked, add the meat back into the pan to warm up. Stir in your favorite sauce and remove from heat.
- Serve over a bed of white or brown rice, noodles or even a bed of steamed spinach.
- If you’re serving a few people, leave out little bowls of garnishes like sesame seeds, cashews and raw green onions so each person can customize to their taste.
Expert money-saving tip: The vegetable and protein combinations are truly endless! We like to purchase whatever is on sale that week. Or, grab a bag of frozen stir fry veggies for an easy go-to when the fridge is empty.
Looking for a little more inspiration? Try this recipe from the ALDI Test Kitchen.
Honey Shrimp and Vegetables
Total time: 25 minutes
1 1/2 cups Baker’s Corner Corn Starch*
1 tsp. Stonemill Essentials Iodized Salt
1 tsp. Stonemill Essentials Ground Black Pepper
1 1/2 tsp. Stonemill Essentials Garlic Powder
1 lb. Sea Queen Jumbo Easy Peel Raw Shrimp, peeled
1 cup + 1 tbsp. Carlini Vegetable Oil, divided
1/2 cup Berryhill Honey
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 cup cabbage, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, julienned into 2-inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled, julienned into 2-inch pieces
2 green onions, chopped
*These are Seasonal items that are only in stores for a limited time and may no longer be available.
In a small bowl, combine the corn starch and spices, mix well. Toss the shrimp in the mixture until coated.
Heat 1 cup of oil in a medium frying pan. Fry the shrimp until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.
In a medium bowl, microwave the honey and soy sauce until warm. Mix thoroughly.
In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining oil over high heat. Add the cabbage, celery and carrots. Stir fry until vegetables wilt, about 10 minutes. Drain any excess liquid. Add the shrimp and sauce, heat until bubbly. Sprinkle with green onions. Serve over white or brown rice.
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Stacey, ALDI Test Kitchen