This is a Vegetable Stir Fry to make your own. Use it for any veggies you want, and serve it as a main or as a side dish with any Asian food. The tasty Chinese brown sauce is just like you get from Chinese restaurants and will make any veg totally scoff-able. And there’s a generous amount of it to soak your rice!
Vegetable Stir Fry
I make this approximately once a week, and it completely baffles me how I’ve been running this recipe website for 5 years (!!) without sharing it.
A Vegetable Stir Fry is:
- my end-of-week Fridge Forage meal;
- how I (happily) consume a ton of vegetables in one sitting;
- something I make with a mix of vegetables – or just one (like snow peas or Asian mushrooms).
I serve it over rice or noodles. I toss noodles into it while cooking. I top homemade Chinese noodle soups with it. And I make instant ramen respectable by piling on this saucy stir fried vegetables.
So I repeat again – 5 years. No recipe. BAFFLED. 🤷🏻♀️
What goes in my Vegetable Stir Fry
You can basically ignore all the vegetables in the photo below, and visualise whatever YOU want to use! Just use the sauce part of my recipe. 🙂
Can I make this with Charlie?
100% yes, you’ll need 4 tablespoons of Charlie and directions are in the recipe below. For new readers, “Charlie” is my ready made All Purpose Chinese Stir Fry Sauce. RTE readers and I love him so much, we’ve named him. He has a shelf life of months, and can be used in 90% of my stir fries and noodles, either outright or with the addition of a few extra flavourings. Try him once, and you’ll be obsessed with him too!
How to make stir fried vegetables
There’s only two rules here:
- Have all the ingredients chopped and ready to toss in the wok / skillet because this recipe moves fast once you start cooking!
- Don’t let the veggies cook until floppy and sad. They should be vibrant, just cooked so they don’t have the raw bite to them but they’re still a bit crisp. That’s the point of optimum flavour and nutrition for vegetables!
What order to cook vegetables in stir fries
There’s no need to turn this into an exact science! Just start by cooking aromatics to form the flavour base then add vegetables that take the longest to cook first, and delicate things like leafy greens towards the end.
Here’s a rough guide:
- Aromatics in first- onion, leeks, garlic, ginger, chilli
- Firm vegetables in second – like carrot, capsicum/bell peppers, stems of Asian Greens (Buk Choy in this recipe), zucchini / courgettes, eggplant, asparagus, canned baby corn, green beans, okra.
- Quicker cooking vegetables added next- snow peas, kale, cabbage.
- Delicate vegetables in last – toss until just wilted. Leaves of Asian Greens, spinach, bean sprouts, green onions, fresh herbs.
Pre cooked vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower and broccolini should be pre-cooked prior to using in a stir fry as they take too long to cook from raw in a stir fry (unless chopped small). And though I rarely use them in stir fries, I also pre cook things like pumpkin, potato, squash, and other root vegetables.
A big skillet of vegetables never looked so tasty!!
Also – the stir fry sauce. I like making plenty of it so it can soak through the rice or noodles, or whatever you serve it over. It’s also particularly good at disguising cauliflower rice – for those of you *trying* to cut down on carbs. 😇
What to serve with Stir Fried Vegetables
This can be served as:
- a main dish with rice or noodles (try cauliflower rice for a low carb option); or
- a vegetable side dish.
Though this stir fry has Chinese origins, don’t restrict yourself to serving this alongside just Chinese dishes. You’ll see similar version of this sauce used all across Asia. So serve it as a vegetable side the next time you make any Asian dishes – such as Vietnamese, Thai or Japanese! Here are a few suggestions (just a few….😂):
What to serve with Stir Fried Vegetables
Woah. For someone who’s taken so long to share such a *simple* recipe, I sure did have a lot to say about it! 😂 – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Saucy Vegetable Stir Fry
Recipe video above. Any vegetables are totally scoffable when they’re smothered in a tasty Chinese gravy! Use any veg you want – just add them according to the cook time (hard veg in first, leafy veg in last). For a quick hit of protein, toss in some cubes of firm tofu. For a chicken version, use this Chicken Stir Fry. Recipe works with Charlie – see Note 4.
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves (, finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp ginger (, finely sliced (optional))
- 1/2 onion (, peeled and sliced)
- 1 carrot (, large)
- 3 medium buk choy ( or other leafy greens of choice (Note 1))
- 1 cup mushrooms (, sliced 3mm / 1/8″ thick)
- 1 capsicum (, sliced 1/2cm / 1/5″ thick)
Sauce (or use 4 tbsp Charlie, Note 4):
- 1 tbsp cornflour / corn starch
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce (, light or all purpose (not dark soy) (Note 2))
- 2 tsp Oyster Sauce
- 1 tbsp Chinese Cooking Wine or Mirin ((Note 3))
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil ((optional))
- Dash of white pepper ((or black))
- 3/4 cup / 185 ml water
- Finely sliced green onions
- Sesame seeds
Carrot: cut in half lengthwise then diagonally sliced 2mm / 1/10″ thick
Buk Choy (Note 1): Trim base off, then cut leaves off the stem. Cut the stem lengthwise into 1cm / 2/5″ wide pieces. Keep leaves separate from stems, they will be cooked at different times.
Sauce (Charlie – Note 4):
- Place cornflour and soy sauce in a bowl and mix until cornflour is dissolved, then mix in remaining Sauce ingredients.
- Heat oil in a wok or large heavy based skillet over high heat.
Add garlic and ginger, stir for 10 seconds. Add onion, stir for 30 seconds.
Add carrot, capsicum and stems of buk choy – stir for 1 minute.
Add mushrooms, then stir for 2 to 3 minutes until the vegetables are almost cooked.
Add Sauce and toss for 1 minute until Sauce thickens and becomes glossy, coating all the vegetables. Don’t overcook so they become floppy and limp – they should be just cooked, “crisp tender”.
1. Buk Choy is an Asian vegetable, as pictured. Stems take longer to cook than the leaves, so best to cut leaves off and add towards the end of the cook time. Stems vary vastly in width (outer layers thick, inner layers small) so cut them into even size so they cook at the same time. Do the same for all similar shaped Asian Greens.
There’s no need to be 100% exact here – if some leaves end up in the stem batch, it’s totally fine! You just want MOST added later in the cook time.
2. Soy sauce – use light or all purpose soy sauce here. Do not use Dark Soy Sauce – the flavour is too intense and will overpower the sauce. The bottle will be labelled “dark soy sauce”.
Gluten free – use tarmari.
3. Chinese Cooking Wine (“Shaoxing wine”) is the secret ingredient that really makes a restaurant standard Chinese sauce. You get complexity and depth in the sauce with just a bit of the cooking wine.
- Mirin – best, the Japanese equivalent of Chinese cooking wine;
- Dry sherry – next best, any cheap and cheerful dry sherry
- Japanese cooking sake
- Non alcoholic – substitute the water in the recipe with LOW SODIUM chicken stock/broth
To use Charlie for this recipe, replace the Sauce with 4 tablespoons of Charlie + 3/4 tsp cornflour / cornstarch + 3/4 cup water, then use per recipe.
5. Nutrition excludes rice.
Life of Dozer
More Dozer pool action! Well, not so much action here, just Dozer climbing out of the pool. Currently using a ramp because the step in is so high, he actually sprained his lower back with all his crazy leaping in and out.
I know, I know. First World Problems.🙈