I’m about to lay down some serious blasphemy on y’all: You can, in fact, make absolutely delicious stir-fry without a wok.
If you’ve got a normal skillet without nonstick coating, you’re good to go. Besides, when you’re cooking for one or two, a wok seems like a bit too much, doesn’t it?
Here’s a quick and easy method that yields a fresh, savory dish with a rich but light sauce.
serves one or two
1/2 cup of uncooked white rice (sticky rice is a must!)
An assortment of vegetables appropriate for stir-frying, such as
- non-white mushrooms
- bell peppers
- snow peas
- white or yellow onion
- bok choy
Any meat you like — prok, beef, chicken, shrimp, scallops… optional
Sauces and seasonings for Asian food preparations, such as:
- fresh grated ginger
- minced garlic
- sriracha sauce
- chili garlic sauce
- soy sauce
- hoisin sauce
Any crunchy-type bits you like, such as:
- bamboo shoots
- baby cornthings
- water chestnuts
1 Tbsp. cornstarch shaken into 3 Tbsp. cold water in a plastic jar
Pop the rice and the requisite amount of water into the rice cooker.
Now, start the prep work on your veggies. You’re going to want to cut them into bite-sized pieces. As you go along, separate the vegetables by how long they take to cook. For example, you’ll put the carrots and onions together, the snow peas and broccoli together, etc.
Here’s a note about bok choy: The green parts will need less time to cook than will the stalks. Cut the green leaves off and separate them, putting them in the skillet at the very end just long enough to wilt them.
Also, hey! Did you know that broccoli stalks are delicious? Try ‘em. Just use take a vegetable peeler to the tough outside of the stalk, then cut the stalk into chunks.
Finally, cut the meat, if you’re using it, into bite-sized pieces and toss with hoisin or other sauce to marinate. I used pork, myself.
When the rice gets close to done, put some vegetable oil in the skillet over fairly high heat — not a deep-frying amount, but enough to keep a buttload of veggies (and maybe some meat) super hot and non-sticky.
When the oil is hot but not smoking, throw in the first group of veggies and toss them thoroughly.
When the onions are starting to get translucent but are not yet fully cooked, throw in the second batch of veggies — the ones that take slightly less time to cook.
As soon as those things are in the pan and tossed together, throw in the meat — unless you’re using seafood, in which case, you’ll want to wait a few minutes as it takes less time to cook.
Ok, meat’s in. Now, throw in a couple spoonfuls of sauce. For my stir-fry tonight, I used about a tablespoon each of hoisin and chili garlic sauce about about two or three tablespoons of soy sauce. Toss to coat, and adjust the seasonings to taste.
At this point, after all the tasting and tossing, we’re gettin’ pretty close to done. Ensure the meat is almost entirely cooked, then toss in your crunchy bits and any remaining vegetables (bok choy greens, spinach, etc.).
At the last second, drizzle in half of the cornstarch mixture and toss. If the sauce looks silky after a moment or two, you’re done! If not, drizzle a bit more cornstarch in and keep on stirrin’ until it’s silky but not sticky or — heaven forbid — clumpy.
Serve with the rice, with extra soy sauce and sriracha on the table. Don’t forget the chopsticks!