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Stir-fry success – it’s all in the preparation

Pro tips to take your stir-fries to the next level

The secret to a great stir-fry is to prepare everything you need before you start cooking. As stir-frying is a quick cooking method, you won’t have time to chop or measure ingredients as the dish cooks. Slice the meat, cut the veggies and have sauces at the ready. If you’re serving rice or noodles have it cooked as well, (it’s a good idea to have serving plates and bowls ready too).

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Best cuts for stir-frying

Beef - Stir-fry strips or prepare your own from rib eye/scotch fillet, fillet/tenderloin, sirloin/porterhouse/New York, rump, boneless blade, round, oyster blade and topside steaks

Lamb -Stir-fry strips or prepare your own from eye of shortloin/backstrap, fillet/tenderloin, round/ knuckle and topside

Veal - Stir-fry strips or prepare your own from leg steaks/schnitzels, eye of loin, fillet, boneless rump, boneless shoulder and breast.

Mince is also great for a stir-fry. It cooks quickly and teams well with Asians sauces.

Pre-cut stir-fry strips

If your butcher has pre-cut stir-fry strips, ask about the cut they have used. Alternatively, you can ask them to prepare you some from your preferred cut.

Preparing your own stir-fry strips

  • Slice the beef, lamb or veal across the grain of the meat for a tender result.
  • Cut the meat into thin even strips of the same thickness (approx. 7.5 x 1 x 1cm).

Debunking the marinating myth

Stir-frying is a quick cooking method and you want the preparation to be fast too. So rather than marinate meat to tenderise (which is unnecessary if the right cut of meat is selected), add a little of the flavourings or sauce ingredients to the meat strips and let the meat stand while you prepare the other ingredients. A tablespoon of oyster sauce and splash of cooking sherry add great colour and flavour.

Stir-fry success

Prepare everything you need before you place the wok on the heat.

  • Cut the vegetables into the same size pieces so they cook evenly and quickly.
  • It is best to add the oil to the meat strips rather than the wok. You use less oil and this method helps the meat brown well.
  • You can also add ingredients like a little soy or grated ginger directly to the meat.
  • Use peanut, grapeseed, sunflower oil or rice bran oil for stir-fried dishes. They all have good heating qualities and contribute very little flavour to the dish.

Mix and match different veggies

With beef, lamb or veal as your starting point, you can easily bring a variety to your stir-fries.

  • Use a combination of red capsicum and green beans, or snake beans when they are in season.
  • Use shredded carrot and celery.
  • Add a small bunch Chinese broccoli or baby bok choy.
  • Fresh asparagus or fresh whole baby corn.
  • Mushrooms of all types are good, try a combo of sliced button, oyster and shiitake.

To tempt the kids - go with flavours they love!

Kids love crunchy vegies, serve up a stir-fry with their favourites. Snow peas and carrot sticks are winners. Add crispy noodles for some extra crunch.