4 secrets to speedy weeknight stir-fries

On the days my wife and I get home late from work, the temptation not to cook can be almost overwhelming. Why dirty up pots and pans, stand in front of a hot stove and fuss with spice combinations when a hot, tasty meal can be delivered to our door within the hour? But then we remember the beauty of stir-fries.

Recipes to Try: Healthy 30-Minute Stir-Fry Recipes

Forget Chinese takeout: homemade stir-fries can be whipped up in about 30 minutes, with healthy ingredients and minimal mess. As cookbook author and wok evangelist Grace Young wrote in the current issue of EatingWell Magazine, by focusing on fresh veggies and a few staple spices and sauces, stir-fries are a simple way to pack your meal with bright, zingy flavors and essential nutrients. You can make them from whatever’s in your kitchen, too: onions, frozen peas and chicken breasts? Sounds great! Celery, cherry tomatoes and green peppers? Delish! The combinations are literally endless.

Here are a few simple tips to help make your stir-fry as speedy as it can be:

1. Use fresh veggies: Sure, frozen peas and carrots are stir-fry standbys, but beyond that, most dinners will benefit from the crisp textures and bright colors of fresh veggies. Don’t be afraid to experiment: while traditional Asian stir-fries focus on ingredients like bok choy and scallions, you can also make a great meal using Brussels sprouts, parsnips and tomatoes.

Don’t Miss: 6 Healthiest Fall Vegetables
Easy Produce-Packed Stir-Fry Recipes

2. Be prepared: Once the oil is sizzling in your pan, it’s too late to worry about chopping veggies or slicing chicken breasts. You know how the hosts of cooking shows have all their ingredients in cute little ramekins? Copy that. Your ingredients don’t have to be in perfect glass bowls (I tend to just pile stuff on different corners of my cutting board), but by getting every element of the stir-fry ready ahead of time, you’ll make it easier to put it together. I don’t mean to make up statistics on you, but at least 95% of burned stir-fries occur because someone is trying to slice carrots while the onions are cooking.
Don’t Miss: How to Break Your Bad Cooking Habits

3. Get a wok: Yeah, I know, they cost money. But they’re actually pretty cheap, and, for someone who cooks stir-fries all the time, they’re indispensable. While a nonstick skillet can be made to do the job of stir-frying, a 14-inch flat-bottomed carbon-steel wok with a long wood handle can work wonders a skillet never dreamed of. Carbon steel conducts heat incredibly efficiently, and a flat-bottom wok makes more contact with the burner than a conventional one. Plus, while nonstick skillets (and woks) are unsafe at high heats, a carbon steel model can handle the intensity like a pro. Add to that the fact that a well-seasoned wok is naturally nonstick and you’ve got a recipe for using less oil. That means naturally healthier cooking! Not sold yet? Here’s one more perk: like cast iron, carbon steel actually transmits extra iron into your food. You get extra nutrients cooking this way!
Don’t Miss: The Best Wok and How to Season a Wok

4. Don’t crowd the pan: Remember that most of the magic of a stir-fry comes from the direct contact between your ingredients and the hot metal of your cook pan. Put more than 12 ounces of meat in a stir-fry and it’ll start to pile up, touching other ingredients rather than the pan. That means some pieces will steam rather than sear. And, trust me, no one ever asks for steamed beef.

What's your favorite stir-fry combination?

Matthew Thompson is the associate food editor for EatingWell Magazine.

More from EatingWell:

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

Latest News

  • Snoop Dogg 'drips' it like it's hot at Etam Paris pool show Associated Press - Thu, Mar 5, 2015 4:39 AM PHT
    Snoop Dogg 'drips' it like it's hot at Etam Paris pool show

    PARIS (AP) — Snoop Dogg raised the pulse at Paris Fashion Week with a surprise concert and DJ set at Etam's bikini-themed lingerie pool collection that went on into the early hours of Wednesday — heralding competition for the famed, celebrity-filled Victoria's Secret shows. …

  • When in Paris: Kim Kardashian and Jared Leto go platinum Associated Press - 22 hours ago
    When in Paris: Kim Kardashian and Jared Leto go platinum

    PARIS (AP) — Kim Kardashian made a fashion statement of her own at Balmain's show Thursday, showing off newly platinum locks. …

  • Last Ebola patient is released in Liberia Associated Press - Fri, Mar 6, 2015 12:34 AM PHT
    Last Ebola patient is released in Liberia

    MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Liberia released its last Ebola patient, a 58-year old teacher, from a treatment center on Thursday, beginning its countdown to being declared Ebola free. …

  • 8 Things To Do Before You Hit 30 8list - Mon, Mar 2, 2015 6:41 PM PHT
    8 Things To Do Before You Hit 30

    Putting on big boy/girl pants! …

  • 7 Diet Hacks You Need To Try Now Realbuzz - Tue, Mar 3, 2015 5:00 PM PHT
    7 Diet Hacks You Need To Try Now

    Dieting is tough. There’s no shortcut to shredding the pounds – it takes every trick in the book (not to mention bags of motivation). If you’re short of new weight loss solutions, we might be able to help. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, here are 7 diet hacks to get you back on track. …

  • Second Los Angeles hospital reports 'superbug' infections Associated Press - Thu, Mar 5, 2015 10:53 AM PHT
    Second Los Angeles hospital reports 'superbug' infections

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Four patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have been infected with an antibiotic-resistant "superbug" linked to a type of medical scope that's used on more than a half-million people in the U.S. every year, the hospital said Wednesday. …

  • 5 stunners from the Geneva car show Associated Press - Thu, Mar 5, 2015 3:25 AM PHT
    5 stunners from the Geneva car show

    GENEVA (AP) — Forget driverless cars, electric power or even green technology. There is no doubt what visitors are coming to see at the glamorous Geneva motor show: supercars. …

  • Leg-Toning Exercises For Perfect Pins In 30 Days Realbuzz - Mon, Mar 2, 2015 5:00 PM PHT
    Leg-Toning Exercises For Perfect Pins In 30 Days

    If you’re serious about getting sculpted pins, we have the 30-day challenge you need to you get the legs you deserve …

POLL

My New Year's resolution is to:

Loading...
Poll Choice Options