Stir-fry is the savior of the busy weeknight cook. Once all of the meat and vegetables are chopped and the sauce is mixed together, it takes just minutes to cook everything and get dinner on the table. And it's an attractive and far tastier option than popping a frozen pizza into the oven — it takes less time, and results in a healthier and balanced meal, with fresh vegetables, lean protein, and carbohydrates. So why not give it a try?
Before you stir-fry: It's generally a good idea to start a pot of rice or the rice cooker first thing. That way, by the time the stir-fry is done, the rice will be done, too.
Then, prep all of your ingredients. Things happen fast while stir-frying; this isn't the time to be chopping vegetables while meat is cooking on the stove.
Why you should stir-fry: Keeping a carbon steel wok seasoned requires regular use. Otherwise, the wok will lose its patina, the natural nonstick coating that forms over time on the cooking surface. Click here to see How to Season a Wok.
How you should stir-fry: Don't use too much oil. Just one to two tablespoons will do, and make sure it's one with a high smoke point, such as canola, corn, or vegetable oil. Use a wok, and make sure to get it very hot before adding the oil. Then, give the oil a minute to heat up as well. It should slide around the pan loosely, but not smoke.
Keep stir-fry healthy: If a recipe calls for soy sauce, use low sodium, and go easy on other salt-heavy items like hoisin, mushroom sauce, and fish sauce. A little goes a long way with each of these items.
And, choose brown rice over white rice. It may take some getting used to, but the health benefits of extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber are worth it.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.