HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Get great advice

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

HenryOP Sep 13, 2012 02:55 PM

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. ipsedixit Sep 13, 2012 07:52 PM

    Pork bung.

    1. q
      Querencia Sep 13, 2012 05:30 PM

      I like to use a bag of the shredded cabbage they sell for coleslaw as the base of a quick stir-fry. A spoonful each of soy sauce, sherry, and sugar, then toss anything you feel like. A good way to use up stuff. I like it with leftover roast pork loin or tenderloin. Can add onions or whatever. Every time I make this I am surprised anew at how good it is.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Querencia
        cheesecake17 Sep 13, 2012 05:40 PM

        I use the bagged coleslaw or rainbow slaw. Makes a great quickie stir fry. I also use it for a healthy version of chop suey,

        1. re: Querencia
          Gio Sep 14, 2012 05:09 AM

          Sturdy lettuce sliced in ribbons is equally tasty in a stir-fry. Either iceberg or Romaine does very well. Both Fuchsia Dunlop and Grace Young have recipes for stir-fried lettuce. Start with chopped garlic and chopped fresh ginger and go from there... It's a good way to use up those last bits of salad makings, including radishes, carrots, and cucumbers.

        2. k
          katecm Sep 13, 2012 05:00 PM

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

          1. aching Sep 13, 2012 04:49 PM

            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
              cheesecake17 Sep 13, 2012 05:39 PM

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

              1. re: aching
                RavaIdli Sep 14, 2012 11:58 AM

                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. g
                GH1618 Sep 13, 2012 03:44 PM

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

                1. Hank Hanover Sep 13, 2012 03:30 PM

                  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
                    HenryOP Sep 14, 2012 03:33 AM

                    Thanks very much, really liking the sauces

                  2. m
                    MelMM Sep 13, 2012 03:21 PM

                    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
                      todao Sep 13, 2012 05:54 PM

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

                      1. re: MelMM
                        HenryOP Sep 14, 2012 03:31 AM

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

                      Show Hidden Posts