When Stir-Frying Feels High Maintenance, Try Fry-Stirring
It's weeknight approved! ✓
I've got as many excuses to avoid stir-frying as I have spatulas. I don’t own a wok. The heat needs to be super high to get good browning. The batching and searing is too frantic for a busy weeknight. Why can't the seasoning be simpler? And honestly, I just don't feel like messing with—and cleaning up after—handling raw meat.
Enter fry-stirring, a slightly different approach that focuses on pacing the prep, not btu's and butchering. It even works for non-meat proteins like tofu and tempeh. Though this method only minimizes splatters (as you can see from the photos), all the other potential frowns flip into smiles and still deliver dinner on the table in 30 to 45 minutes. Who's ready?
Get some rice or noodles going. Crucial early advice from Mark: Whether your plan is to simmer (as in rice, soba, or udon) or soak (something like rice vermicelli or glass noodles) the simple act of setting a pot to boil psychologically puts all other meal wheels in motion. This US-grown, short grain "sweet" brown rice is my new fave. It cooks up pleasantly chewy and sticky with a 1-to-2.5 ratio of salted water in about 35 minutes. I get it at H-Mart or an independent Korean supermarket here in Tacoma, so it's around.
Fry the chicken (or whatever). The point is to leave the pieces whole–they’re much easier to fry that way and we’ll cut them up later. Heat a generous film of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Choose as much or as little as you like of the following: boneless chicken thighs (that's 1 pound shown in the photo), beef or pork sirloin steaks, skin-on duck breasts, boneless leg of lamb chops, fish fillets, or tofu or tempeh blocks.