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Stir-frying is a fast and fresh way to cook. Simply toss and turn bite-sized pieces of food in a little hot oil in a wok over high heat, and in five minutes or less, the work is done. Vegetables emerge crisp and bright. Meats are flavorful, tender, and well seared.


Stir-frying was first developed in China as a cooking method that worked efficiently on simple brick stoves. The typical stovetop had a hole over the fire chamber. A round-bottomed wok fit over the lipped hole, capturing the heat efficiently. All it took was a small, hot fire to make the wok very hot. Oil and chopped food were stirred and tossed in the pan, cooking in minutes and making efficient use of precious fuel.

What Stir-Frying Does

The high temperature required for stir-frying sears food quickly and preserves the natural juices. It takes only minutes (two to five, usually), so vegetables stay bright and crisp, meat browned and succulent. When the heat is high and the cooking quick, the Cantonese describe the result as wok hay?loosely translated “the breath of a wok.” It’s a difficult quality to define, but you can experience it in the first few moments after food is removed from the wok. The food tastes vibrant and fresh, characterized by concentrated, harmonious flavors with a hint of smokiness. To appreciate wok hay, serve food immediately.

When you look into your refrigerator and see nothing but odds and ends—a little old rice here, a bit of steak there, some veggies in the crisper drawer—you might not see a cohesive meal. But oh! There’s one to be had, brought together by a little sauce and a lot of heat. Stir-fries are the saviors of weeknight suppers. Endlessly customizable and lightning-fast to make, it’s time to put one of these noodle-y or rice-anchored meals into your rotation.

Get your fry on… This recipe for Teriyaki Beef Stir-Fry is tender slices of beef sauteed with a variety of colorful vegetables, all coated in a quick and easy homemade teriyaki sauce. A restaurant quality meal in the comfort of your own home!

“Do not dismiss the dish by saying that it is just simple food. The blessed thing is an entire civilization in itself.”
~ Abdulhak Sinasi

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