A stir-fry is the perfect healthy and flavour-packed meal. The Sprout team share a great, simple recipe as well as tips to ensure you create a fantastic stir-fry every time!
They’re quick, easy and healthy – it’s no wonder stir-fries have won a regular place on our weeknight dinner tables.
Key to their great taste is the quick cooking time, which preserves the flavour and the texture of the ingredients.
To make the most of your stir-fries, they should be made with fresh and flavoursome seasonal produce.
Stir-fries are a great way to include extra vegetables in your diet. In fact, you’ll often get a large portion of your recommended 5 daily serves of vegies in one meal. Stir-fries are also a handy way to use up almost any vegetable left in the bottom of your fridge!
With the rising cost of meat, stir-fries make a smart choice for the household budget. You can pack them full of vegies and use smaller portions of red meat or chicken, rather than serving a large piece of meat, as you would when serving steak or lamb chops.
Things to watch out for
Pre-packaged stir-in sauces, soy, oyster and sweet chilli sauces can be high in sodium and sugar. Try to use only small amounts of reduced-salt sauces (eg. 1 tablespoon of soy is usually fine).
Try using fresh or dried herbs and spices such as ginger, garlic, black pepper and fresh chilli to boost the flavour instead.
The best accompaniment, health-wise, is basmati rice, due to its lower-GI rating.
Six steps to a fabulous stir-fry
Chop all your ingredients into similar-sized pieces before starting.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in your wok. Brown the protein (chicken, pork, prawns, tofu etc.) turning once, until just cooked, remove from wok and set aside. Cook the protein in batches if there is a large quantity.
Add a touch more oil if needed, then the aromatic ingredients, such as chilli, shallots, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass.
Add firmer vegetables next, such as broccoli or eggplant, and cook, stirring often until nearly tender. Add a splash of water or stock to help create steam and soften these vegies if necessary.
Add softer vegetables, such as beans or spinach.
Add meat, sauce and noodles if using, stir until the sauce coats the stir-fry. Taste for balance of flavours and then serve immediately.
For food in a flash
Chop your vegies in the morning before work and store in the fridge for dinner in a flash.Use frozen vegetables While they may not produce the same result in terms of texture, they’re perfectly fine to use when the fridge is looking a bit bare!
Mix it up
Use other types of protein such as fish, tofu and legumes rather than the usual red or white meat.
Keep it lean
Use thinly sliced cuts of meat that are less fatty.
Have all of your vegetables and protein chopped up before you start cooking. Stir-fries are quick, but they can quickly get out of control too, with the result ending up overcooked!
Use a wok
If you don’t have one, grab a cheap one – they work well and can be bought from most Asian grocers or home wares shops. Having a greater surface area, a wok gets better results than a frypan.
Masterchef Allstars winner Callum Hann runs an Adelaide-based cooking school with APD and personal trainer Themis Chryssidis. Each month they share with us great recipes and advice to help you create fresh, tasty and healthy dishes. Visit Sprout at www.sproutcooking.com.au.