I call this an everyday Vegetable Stir Fry because the recipe is more like a guide than a recipe. It uses whatever vegetables I have in my fridge so is different every time. I’ve made it so often I can put a pot of rice on the stove and make this recipe in twenty minutes. After the rice is on I pull vegetables out of the fridge and start chopping. My family prefers this dish with some kind of meat but that’s up to you. For me it is an easy go to meal and I think of it as a healthy dinner.
Putting dinner on the table day after day often feels like a juggling act. So everyone needs a handful of quick and easy recipes that don’t require planning or shopping. For me these are wok recipes.
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If you don’t own a wok you should. A basic flat-bottom wok can be used for stir fries, curries and mine also doubles as a deep-fryer. The high sides of a wok increases the area that cooks food making stir-fry recipes quick and easy. If you like Asian food and you are a busy person who doesn’t have a lot of time to cook, you need to invest in a wok. Mine is stored in the cupboard over top of the fridge so it is easy to grab and put away.
A Gluten Free Asian Pantry
The sauce, as simple as it is, requires a well-stocked, gluten free Asian pantry. I wrote a specific blog post about what I have in my panty and you can read that post here.
For this recipe I use sherry and the unique tasting Chinese black bean sauce. Since I cannot find a commercially prepared black bean sauce that is gluten free I make it myself. The sherry, another pantry staple, can easily be found a liquor store and can also be used in many Asian dishes calling for Chinese cooking wine. I recommend keeping both of these ingredients in your kitchen.
Having a few canned or frozen vegetables is convenient to extend your dish when there aren’t too many fresh vegetables in your fridge. Consider a can of baby corn or water chestnuts or maybe some snow peas in the freezer, whatever appeals to you.
Organize for Success – Vegetable Stir Fry
Realistically, any dinner you make in twenty minutes requires experience and organization. Once you have made it a few times you will get the hang of it. I keep this stir fry recipe written on a recipe card and taped to the inside of a cupboard door beside my stove. The card says Anything Stir Fry.
Keep in mind you need some nice fresh produce to make a delicious dish but don’t be afraid to use up any other vegetables. That could be those two shrivelled up mushrooms, an old piece of celery or a half a tomato. Even leftover grilled vegetables can be included. You can use the same strategy and use up leftover meat. A single frozen pork chop or leftover chicken can be stretched to make a meal for several people.
An authentic Chinese vegetable stir fry contains crunchy vegetables; if you prefer your veggies a little softer cook them a few minutes longer like I do. My family doesn’t like their veggies too crunchy.
Think of this recipe as a guide. Every time I make it the finished dish looks different but for me that is part of the appeal. It keeps a little variety in my regular recipe rotation and lets me wing it a bit. So the next time you think…same old, boring dinner ideas try this Vegetable Stir Fry and mix it up!
Let me know in the comments below what you like to put in your stir fry and if you use a wok.
|1 Tbsp vegetable oil|
|1 large garlic clove, chopped|
|1 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped|
|1 Tbsp GF Chinese Black Bean sauce (substitute Hoisin or oyster sauce)|
|MEAT - optional|
|1 pork chop or chicken breast cut in cubes OR thin strips OR|
|4 oz ground beef, pork or turkey OR|
|leftover cooked meat of any kind|
|VEGETABLES – I like 8-10 cups or a big pile|
|Firm – carrot, celery, onion, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli|
|Soft – zucchini, mushrooms, bok choy, snow peas|
|Canned - baby corn, water chestnuts|
|Last minute - tomato|
|¼ cup Sherry|
|2 Tbsp GF oyster sauce|
|1 tsp sesame oil|
|½ tsp sugar|
|¼ tsp pepper|
|THICKENING – 1 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp water|
|GARNISH – chopped green onion, cilantro, sesame seeds or chopped peanuts|
|SERVING – serve on steamed rice or toss with softened rice noodles|
- In a measuring cup combine Sherry, oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar and pepper. Set aside.
- Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- Place wok on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes.
- If using raw meat add a little oil to the wok and stir-fry until cooked, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the oil, garlic, ginger and black bean sauce. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the firm vegetables first and stir-fry for about 3 minutes.
- Add the softer vegetables and stir-fry for another 3 minutes.
- Pour sauce over vegetables, stir to coat and cook 2-3 minutes. (If you prefer your vegetables softer than a traditional Chinese stir-fry put the lid on and steam for a few minutes.)
- Add last minute additions if using.
- Pour cornstarch-water mixture into wok and stir until sauce is thickened, 1-2 minutes.
- Serve on rice or toss with noodles.
- Sprinkle with the garnishes of your choice.