A How-To Guide for Veggie Stir-fry Lovers

Vegetables in a Wok; UW Health's Go Red for Women offers nutritional information for your healthy lifestyleStir-frys are healthy and delicious. The following suggestions can help you find new ways to experiment and bring more flavor to your meals.
What to include in a Stir-fy 
Any vegetable that you like.
Wash, peel as needed and cut into bite-size pieces (about 1/2-inch cubes). Having vegetables in even sized pieces will help them cook at the same rate.
Garlic can be crushed or thin-sliced.
Vegetable Ideas
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Broccoli
  • Zucchini
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Soft shelled peas
  • Peppers
  • Green beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
How to do it

Have all the vegetables ready before you start frying. Put 1–2 Tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying or sauté pan. Heat on medium high heat for 1–2 minutes, until hot, but not smoking.

Always start with the garlic, then add the vegetables based on how long they take to cook, adding the ones that need to cook the longest first. Cover and cook for 2–3 minutes, then stir, before adding the next bunch of vegetables.
Vegetable Cooking Times
  • Longest cooking time—onion, carrot, celery, cauliflower
  • Medium cooking time—green beans, peas, corn, broccoli, zucchini
  • Shortest cooking time—mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, spinach
After everything has been added, turn the heat down to medium low, add the seasonings, cover and let cook another 2–3 minutes or until the vegetables are as tender as you prefer.

How to season it

Add small amounts (1/2–1 teaspoon) of seasonings to start, then taste and add more as needed.

Be creative, you will soon be a stir-fry artist!

Some seasonings to choose from, but there are many more:
  • Turmeric—has a very mild taste, turns everything a beautiful golden color. You can combine this with cumin and coriander, or with basil
  • Cumin and coriander—are usually used together. They have a Middle Eastern type flavor. They aren't hot, you will need some salt and pepper or paprika, too.
  • Balti—has a mild curry flavor, with a little kick. If you use this, you don't need anything else except salt
  • Basil—combine with salt and pepper
  • Paprika—adds a red color and has a little peppery flavor. Can be combined with basil, or salt and pepper.
  • Herbes de Provence—a combination of herbs, including basil. Combine this with salt and pepper.
To make a sauce

Open a small can of reduced sodium chicken, beef or vegetable broth and stir in 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch until dissolved. Add the broth cornstarch mixture to the stir fry in the pan and stir gently until the sauce thickens.

Commercial sauces to season stir-fry are available in a variety of flavors—Teriyaki, Sweet and Sour, Oyster, etc. They add a lot of flavor, but are often very high in sodium (up to 500 mg sodium per Tablespoon), so use sparingly.