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Stir-fries are the perfect solution for a crunchtime dinner. In the time it takes the kids tell you about who did what to whom at school today, you can sear up a fresh, secretly healthy meal that will fill those mouths and render the table peaceful.

But if your stir-fry, like my stir-fry, doesn’t taste anything like that Chinese place that delivers, I have a few sure-fire tips found in Sunset & Saveur mags. They’re doable for the most crunched and even the most dunced in the kitchen.

And the rice, a surprisingly simple way to make it from the French and (when do they make anything easy?).




The Chinese call it velveting. Marinating the protein in a simple concoction, will ensure that the meat fires into succulent bites. You’ll slice the meat into narrow strips, then soak it in a mixture of egg whites, cornstarch & water (or wine). Sizzle it in a slight measure of oil on high heat; remove and set aside while you cook vegetables.




Tips for a better stir-fry according to Sunset mag.

  1. Make sure all of the ingredients are dry.
  2. Cut veggies into the same size pieces so they cook evenly.
  3. Use oil with a high smoke point: peanut, grapeseed, canola – NOT olive oil.
  4. Start with veggies that need the longest cooking first. See diagram above. Add in garlic and ginger at the end. See above diagram.
  5. Drizzle sauce down the side of the wok (or pan) so it doesn’t bring down the temp of the pan.
  6. Don’t overstuff the wok or the moisture will cause the foods to steam, not fry.
  7. Stir often and DON’T OVERCOOK. Cooking will occur even after your remove your food from the pan.

chicken cashew, bless you


As for the rice, Laura Calder, host of French Cooking at Home, suggests that we make it like the French and just boil rice in water for about the same cooking time suggested on the package. Drain and serve. This works every time.


how to build a better stir-fry

preptime 15 minutes serves 4

cooktime 10 minutes

2 chicken breast halves sliced into thin strips

2 egg whites

2 T cornstarch

2 T wine (optional)

2 t + 2 t oil (canola, peanut or grapeseed)

2 cups broccoli flowerettes, steamed for 1 minute in the microwave w/T of water and blotted dry

2 green onions sliced

2 c sliced mushrooms

1 T finely chopped garlic

1 T chopped ginger

1/2 c cashews

2 T soy sauce

  1. Mix egg whites, cornstarch & water/wine.
  2. Add chicken strips into the egg white mixture for velveting.
  3. Heat 2 t oil in wok or fry pan over med high or high.
  4. Add chicken and fry, frequently stirring, for a few minutes until mostly cooked. Remove to a plate.
  5. Heat the remaining oil in the pan.
  6. Add vegetables beginning with those requiring the most cooking; adding aromatics at the end.
  7. Add chicken back into the pan.
  8. Add cashews.
  9. Add soy sauce, stir to heat and remove to serving platter.
crunchtimewarp: faster version
  • Prep everything in advance including marinating chicken.
  • Use frozen broccoli. Thaw, drain and blot dry.
  • Use vegetables you have on hand.
recipe provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com


  1. Elizabeth says Oct 12th 2011 8:26 am

    OMG- I was planning on making sir fry tonight! Now I have a better way! Thanks.

    • Sherri says Oct 13th 2011 1:08 pm

      You have to come back to tell us how your stir fry turned out. Any changes you’d recommend?

  2. Penny says Oct 20th 2011 3:51 am

    Good tips, Sherri. I’ve always found that cooking rice from scratch is easy when you remember: less is more. Use the 2 to 1 ratio of water and rice, medium to lowish heat, stir a couple of times while it’s cooking, turn off heat when rice is nearly cooked but still gooey so it doesn’t burn or dry. Thanks for all your excellent info and fact gathering. Great pictures, too. Penny

    • Sherri says Nov 9th 2011 8:54 am

      Penny you always have the best ideas. Keep them coming.

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