Stir Fry with Brown Rice |

The post I thought I had already written: America’s Test Kitchen Stir Fry

Posted on Posted in Culinary Science, Nutrition Information, Recipes

I’ve already written one blog about stir-frying, and I thought it was this one.  But it wasn’t.  It was my own stir-fry recipe, which I must say is pretty delicious.  But if you are really craving that traditional take-out stir fry, that super healthy recipe won’t cut it.  Instead, try this one.  It’s pretty much just as healthy, and because you make it yourself, you have total control!  This recipe (and technique) comes courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen, aka my favorite people on the planet (there are 5 links there, if you didn’t notice).  I did increase the ratio of vegetables to protein, but the sauce and basic concept are the same.  The thing that really makes it special is the sauce, which really isn’t all that hard to make. Also, I already had all these ingredients on hand, which is nice! This one is a great one for practicing your mise en place technique, and for getting over your fear of cooking over very high heat.

Stir Fry with Brown Rice |

Just-like-take-out (If takeout was healthy) Stir-Fry

Serves 4

Prep the sauce first:



  • 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 1/4 c rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 spoonfuls hoisin or oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp (approximately) corn starch
  • 1 splash sesame oil (this is very strongly flavored, so use at your own risk)

Whisk and set aside.

Next, prep the protein:


I chose pork, since that’s what I had.  Slice 1 pound (about 3 pork chops) of whatever protein you prefer into very thin strips.  This may be easier if you freeze the meat for about 10 minutes first.  Then toss with 3 big splashes of soy sauce and set aside.

Next, ready the veggies and aromatics for cooking:



  • 2 lbs broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 small onion, sliced into half moons
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated (you can do this directly into the pan when you add the garlic if you’d like)
  • 1 can water chestnuts or bamboo shoots (optional)
  • Other veggies (carrots, celery, scallions, etc.) as you please

Saute the broccoli in a teaspoon or so of canola oil over high heat until browned and slightly softened.  Since this takes about 8 minutes, you can use this time to cut up some of the other ingredients (I actually had plenty of time to prep all my other veggies and aromatics while the broccoli and pork cooked, but I work really fast… work at your own pace!  If you’re a slow chopper, have everything ready to go ahead of time).  Tip: don’t stir often- broccoli is best when slightly burnt!  Remove to a plate- it can be a plate you will serve on later if you want to cut down on dishes!


Next, when the pan is searing hot, add a touch more canola oil and add half the protein in a single layer.  Allow to sear on both sides.  If it is not fully cooked through (which is probably will be), don’t worry- it’ll have more time to cook in a bit.

Remove to the plate and sear the second batch.  Remove that to the plate as well.

Now toss in the onions with a bit more oil.  Saute until they scrape up all the lovely fond left behind by the protein (unless that protein is tofu.  Then the next step is to throw out the tofu and eat anything else instead.  Not really.  But kinda.), about 3 minutes.

Ugly picture. Sorry.  It smells amazing though.

Add the peppers (and any other veggies you may have) and saute both until the onions are soft, then create a spot in the middle and add the garlic and ginger.  Saute about 1 minute until brown.Stir Fry with Brown Rice |

Dump the contents of the plate back into the pan.  Rewhisk the sauce and add.  Toss to heat through and serve with brown rice.  I like the par-cooked frozen kind.  It’s cheap, just as healthy and delicious, and takes about 20 seconds of effort to prepare, but if you’re feeling ambitious and want to really imitate take out (well, if take out were healthy), make brown sticky rice.

Stir Fry with Brown Rice |

Just-Like-Take-Out-If-Take-Out-Was-Healthy Stir Fry

Just-Like-Take-Out-If-Take-Out-Was-Healthy Stir Fry


    For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 spoonfuls hoisin or oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 splash sesame oil
  • For the protein:
  • 1 lb of pork, chicken, or beef, sliced very thin against the grain OR 1 block firm tofu, sliced and pressed to remove excess liquid
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • For the vegetables:
  • Canola oil and salt as needed
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into half moons
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated or minced fine
  • 1 can each water chestnuts and bamboo shoots
  • For serving:
  • 2-4 cups sticky brown rice


  1. First, combine all sauce ingredients in a 2 cup measuring cup and whisk to combine.
  2. Toss the protein with the soy sauce and set aside.
  3. Over medium-high heat, saute broccoli in canola oil until browned and soften. Prep the remaining ingredients while waiting.
  4. Remove the broccoli to a plate and turn the heat to high. Sear half the meat in oil over high heat for about 1 minute, turning to cook all surfaces. Remove to the plate and repeat with the rest of the protein.
  5. Add more oil to the pan and saute the onions until brown and mostly softened. Add the peppers and saute until slightly charred, then add the bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Season lightly with salt.
  6. Create a space in the middle of the pan, add a touch more oil along with the garlic and ginger and saute for about a minute, until browned.
  7. Add the contents of the plate and the sauce, rewhisked. Toss to combine and heat through and serve over brown rice.

Inspired by and adapted slightly from America's Test Kitchen's Cooking School Cookbook

I'd love to hear your thoughts!