Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Sep 13, 2012 02:55 PM

Looking for an alternative main ingredient for a stir fry, any ideas?

Big fan of a good stir fry but i'm a bit bored of the usual prawns e.t.c. Looking for a replacement main ingredient, thinking about steak. Suggestions much appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you can get your hands on skirt steak, I think it is the best cut of beef for a stir fry. Make sure you cut across the grain. For skirt, this will mean cutting the long "belt" of steak at 3" intervals, then turning those rectangles 90 degrees to cut across the grain into thin strips. Skirt is very flavorful, so holds up well to spicier, sichuan style preparations, if that's your thing.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MelMM

      Fresh crab is delicate and works well in a stir fry.

      1. re: MelMM

        yeah nice idea, that's the kinda thing i was thinking about. Thanks

      2. I was just looking at my generic stir fry recipe. I will post it at the end of this post. Anyway, it suggested Scallops Chicken (either white or dark meat), Firm tofu, red meat which could be rib eye, skirt, new york, tenderloin, or even flank steak. Pork tenderloin goes very well.

        I was thinking about crawfish. You could make the sauce spicy to go with them. You wanna get fancy, you could go with duck.

        You could also vary the veggies and the sauces as this recipe shows:

        Let’s make a Stir-Fry

        Make one of these sauces in Step 6, then use it in Step 9.

        Lemon Stir-Fry Sauce
        1/4 cup lemon juice plus
        1 tsp lemon zest
        1/4 cup chicken broth
        1 Tbsp soy sauce
        2 Tbsp sugar
        Combine all in a 1-cup measuring cup.

        Soy-Sesame Stir-Fry Sauce
        1/4 cup chicken broth
        1/4 cup soy sauce
        2 tsp rice wine vinegar
        2 tsp toasted sesame oil
        1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
        1 tsp sugar
        Combine all in a 1-cup measuring cup.

        Fresh Herb Stir-Fry Sauce
        1/4 cup chicken broth
        1/4 cup soy sauce
        2 tsp rice wine vinegar
        1/2 tsp sugar
        1/4 cup shredded basil leaves or minced cilantro leaves
        Combine all in a 1-cup measuring cup.

        Sweet & Sour Stir-Fry Sauce
        1/4 cup chicken broth
        2 Tbsp soy sauce
        2 Tbsp cider, balsamic or rice wine vinegar
        1 Tbsp brown sugar
        1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
        Combine all in a 1-cup measuring cup.

        1. Heat your pan
        Set a 12-inch non-stick or cast-iron skillet over low heat.

        2. Prepare protein

        Prep one pound of the following proteins:

        Shrimp, raw & peeled
        Scallops (halve large sea scallops crosswise)
        Chicken breasts or thighs cut into strips
        Firm tofu cut in 3/4-inch chunks
        Red meat thinly sliced across the grain

        3. Marinate protein

        Use 1 Tbsp each soy sauce and dry or sweet sherry. The protein doesn't need to marinate long--just make sure you do it soon after putting the skillet over low heat.

        4. Prepare produce
        First cut a peeled medium-large onion cut into about 16 wedges. Set aside. Then select two of the vegetables listed below, totaling 1 pound.
        They'll be added to the pan at different times, so keep the two vegetables separated on a plate.
        Fresh produce might include:

        Shredded carrots
        Coleslaw mix
        pineapple chunks (for sweet and sour only)
        Sliced mushrooms
        Sliced bell peppers
        Stringed snow peas
        Bean sprouts (avoid canned)
        Haricots verts (thin French green beans)
        Pencil-thin asparagus
        Yellow squash in 1/2-inch-thick rounds
        Eggplant in 3/4-inch cubes
        Water chestnuts, drained
        Baby corn, drained

        5. Prepare aromatics

        Mince 1 Tbsp each of fresh garlic and ginger root.

        6. Make a quick stir-fry sauce and glaze

        Choose 1 of the four stir-fry sauce recipes above. You'll also need to make a glaze to ensure a nice body and glossy sheen. Just mix 2 tsp cornstarch with 2 Tbsp chicken broth or water. A few minutes before you're ready to stir-fry, turn on the exhaust fan and turn up the heat under the skillet to high. Make sure all your ingredients are close at hand.

        7. Add 1 Tbsp of oil, then half the protein, to the pan

        Stir-fry until well-browned and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl and repeat stir-frying with remaining protein. Most home stoves don't have the power to stir-fry a large quantity of protein at the same time, so cook it in batches--otherwise the skillet will cool down, and the food will stew instead.

        8. Drizzle another 2 Tbsp oil into the hot skillet

        Add the onion and stir-fry until browned but still crisp, about 1 minute. Add the minced garlic and ginger next so they'll have a chance to flavor the entire dish. (If you add them to the pan any sooner, they'll burn.) Next, immediately add the vegetable you think will take longer to cook. After stir-frying the first vegetable for a few minutes, add the second and continue to stir-fry until all vegetables are tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minute longer.

        9. Return protein to pan and stir in your flavoring sauce

        Make sure all the ingredients are well coated with the sauce. Finally, stir in the cornstarch mixture until juices become saucy and glossy. If the wok juices look too thick at this point, thin with a few more tablespoons of chicken broth or water, then serve the stir-fry immediately with noodles or steamed rice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hank Hanover

          Thanks very much, really liking the sauces

        2. I use flank steak. Cut along the grain into two-inch strips, then across the grain into thin pieces.

          1. This may not be what you had in mind, but I love extra-firm tofu in my stir-fries. I slice it and pan-fry it first and let it get nice and golden on both sides, then stir-fry veggies, then throw in the tofu and maybe a handful of cashews.

            2 Replies
            1. re: aching

              Tofu is delicious in a stir fry. It can be baked instead of pan fried. Seitan is good too.

              1. re: aching

                I'll second (or third) the tofu suggestion with a favorite recipe. Not sure if it fits your needs, but this is a terrific dish from Ming Tsai for Tamari-Marinated Spicy Tofu and Broccoli Stir Fry with noodles:

              2. Calamari can be pretty awesome too. Or try a combination?