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marinelife's avatar

What do you put in your stir frys?

Asked by marinelife (62485points) October 17th, 2011

I like a mix of vegetables. Always, onion, celery, red bell pepper and mushrooms. Then it varies with what I have on hand: sometimes green beans, broccoli, zucchini or asparagus.

I also like Chinese vegetables: bean sprouts, bamboo shoots.

What are some other things that you put in yours that I might try?

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20 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

Whatever fresh vegetables and fruit I have that I think might go together with the meat I am using.

FutureMemory's avatar

I throw peas in sometimes.

Scooby's avatar

What the hell is a “zucchini” ? :-/

marinelife's avatar

@Scooby This.

@WestRiverrat Fruit? Can’t you list some specifics?

poisonedantidote's avatar

Here is my stir fry routine:

Chop 2 chicken breasts and place in to a hot oiled up wock. Add grated ginger and chopped garlick. Add red and green bell peppers and a couple of onions, chopped in to chunky pieces. Add a tablespoon of light soy sauce, a squeeze of lemon, and mix in the already boiled noodles. Add in 1 more tablespoon of light soy sauce, and a greated chilipepper. Mix it all up while it keeps cooking for a minute or two, and serve.

JLeslie's avatar

Zucchini, mushrooms, bok choy, corn, and sometimes celery or carrots. If I throw in meat it is usually chicken, sometimes pork.

@Scooby zuchinni is the green summer squash.

gailcalled's avatar

Fresh chopped ginger, Bragg soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, Jerusalem artichoke, and anything that I have around.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Pineapple, apple, mango are the ones I use most. Pineapple goes great with sweet and sour or sweet and spicy recipes.

Scooby's avatar

@marinelife & @JLeslie

I was going to say courgette ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

@Scooby Where do you live?

marinelife's avatar

@Scooby Ah, OK. So you use them in stir fry too?

Scooby's avatar

@JLeslie, I live in England :-/
@marinelife, Yes I do too ;-) Love em…..

wonderingwhy's avatar

Honestly there’s not a whole lot you can’t put into a stir fry just keep an eye on the cooking times, you don’t want to be dropping large pieces of gourd with your bok choy for example, and focus on what’s fresh at the market. A lot of times my menu changes (or more often is created) based on what I find fresh and in season or bargain priced.

Just for some ideas and staying away from meat… garlic, ginger, thai eggplant, all sorts of mushroom varieties (shiitake, oyster, straw, enoki, cremini, wood ear, etc), snake beans, chinese chives, water chestnuts, sweet potato, plums, asian pears, bok choy, watermelon rind, lychee, pea leaves, egg, daikon, green onion, pickled anything, vermicelli, dangmyeon, napa, carrot, spinach, tofu, cactus, chinese eggplant, any chili pepper you can handle, choy sum, lotus root, spaghetti squash, chrysanthemum leaves, snow peas, chinese broccoli, taro root, the list goes on…

A simple one I do a lot is:
Garlic, onion, ginger (which can be used as a base for just about any stir fry) with shiitaki (or oyster when I can get them nice and fresh), water chestnuts, snow peas, and dangmyeon. Season it with dark chinese soy sauce, a little sugar, regular soy sauce, and white pepper. Serve it topped with green onion, some chopped fresh chilies, a little thai basil, and a drop of sesame oil.

JLeslie's avatar

@scooby Ah. Funny story I once was talking to the mother of a friend of mine, I am very close to the mom/mum also, telling her a recipe in Spanish, and said zucchini and then corrected myself to calabasa (which is the Spanish word for zucchini) and then she corrected me back to zucchini because she is Italian by birth and later in her twenties emigrated to Venezuela. That’s when I figured out zucchini is probably an Italian word. It certainly sounds Italian.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I buy packs of small multi colored sweet peppers that are outstanding in flavor, we’re addicted.

Cabbage chunks.

Carrot shavings. I use a potato peeler.

Onions, round and also green kinds.


Extra firm tofu chunks.

Corn nibblets.


Lemon or orange zest.

Kardamom's avatar

@wonderingwhy OMG! I’m tingling reading your post. I think you might be a kindred food enthusiast! Glad to make your acquaintence : )

One of my cousins has lately been using mustard greens in all sorts of dishes, from stir fry to salads to savory tarts to spring rolls. He says it’s very pungent and a little goes a long way, but I’m dying to try it. I think you could use most of the greens from turnip to beet to Swiss chard to kale (just be aware that each of them tastes quite different, and some need to be used in very small quantities).

I heartily agree with @wonderingwhy about mushrooms! Try any and all varieties that you can find, and know that you can get all sorts of schrooms for a much more reasonable price at an Asian market, as opposed to say Whole Foods. The ones I’ve been using a lot lately are these huge King Trumpet Oyster Mushrooms. They’re very mild in flavor, but have a nice meaty texture, plus they’re just so darned cute, like the dancing mushrooms in Fantasia. I just chop them up, stems and all. Another type of mushroom that’s supposed to be very meaty tasting is Cloud Ear Mushrooms. They’re kind of freaky looking, and a little hard to find fresh (I’ve mostly seen them dried) but I think you’ll be in for a treat with these schrooms.

Lemon grass is another good option if you’re looking for more of a Thai style stir-fry.

If you’d like to try tofu, but are a little bit intimidated by a jiggly white block of tofu, try one of the marinated tofu’s like the Trader Joe’s Organic Marinated Tofu which has a flavor and texture that is closer to chicken. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, most places that sell tofu, usually have a firm marinated variety.

I’ve been watching a few cooking shows recently where the chefs were using fresh coconut right out of the shell for all sorts of different things. I have not yet tried this, but I’m thinking that a nifty Thai-style stir fry with chunks of fresh coconut, sliced red and yellow bell pepper, fresh pineapple chunks and steamed sweet potato chunks (I think you’d need to steam them first, or else they wouldn’t soften up quickly enough) with some shiitake mushrooms, then at the end I’d throw in a little bit of coconut milk, some lemongrass and maybe even a little bit of tamarind paste. If you can’t find any tamarind paste in a jar, you can use Bulldog Fruit and Vegetable Sauce because the main flavor ingredient is tamarind.

Other sauces that would be good to put into your stir fry at the last moment are Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki and regular old orange juice and pineapple juice

Of course you might also want to throw in some cooked noodles at the last moment too. Especially Udon Noodles and Somen Noodles or Wide Flat Rice Noodles

After your stirfry is finished and you’ve put it onto your plate, top it off with chopped chives, chopped green onions, minced cilantro, chopped peanuts, or even Canned Fried Onions

wundayatta's avatar

walnuts, pine nuts, beets, raisons, figs, candied ginger, star anise, cardamom, coriander, fennel, etc, burdock root, galanga root, curry leaves (just showing off, not really), cauliflower, asparagus, and just about anything else people have mentioned above. Like others say, there’s almost nothing that can’t go in there.

Kardamom's avatar

@wundayatta Wow figs! I never would have thought of that. I’m drooling now!

Haleth's avatar

Dried mushrooms with everything. Ffffffff, they are so savory and delicious.

WestRiverrat's avatar

What about truffles, not that I can afford them very often?

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