A Simple Stir Fry…Remember Yan Can Cook?

So many combinations…today it was broccoli, mushrooms and chicken!

I almost didn’t post this recipe because I figured anyone knows how to do a simple stir fry.  And then I remembered Martin Yan, and “Yan Can Cook”.   At least 20 years ago he had one of the first cooking shows on PBS (before Food Network).  I loved his cooking, and he had such a simple little marinade recipe that he used almost weekly…..it was delicious,  and easy to change with your own touches.  We love foods from the orient, since they are usually very healthy and fresh.  But since my hubby is allergic to shellfish and sesame, I have a very difficult time doing Asian recipes with any kind of mix, since the sauces and sauce mixes you buy usually have Shrimp powder, and sesame seed or oil.  AND, the ingredients on the containers are always in Chinese!  So, finding an easy marinade and sauce was great!  I have used versions of this for almost 25 years!  NOTE:  This would be a terrific vegetarian recipe too–just leave out the meat!  (I also have noticed that my followers seem to like the simplest recipes, and this is surely one!)


Your choice of sliced beef, chopped chicken, or your favorite fish, chopped into bite sized pieces.  *CLUMSY COOK NOTE:  I think I messed up here, as I used thin flat chicken breasts and they were very dry, even after marinating.  So, I would either cut them fatter,  or use thighs (much more fat and flavor) or cook them quickly on high heat  for about 3 minutes max, and set them aside while I stir fry all the veggies.   (add them back in the last one minute of cooking).  Marinate the meat in the following mixture.  (You can also double or triple this and it keeps in a jar in the fridge for weeks–anytime you want it!)


1/4 cup soy sauce

1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp. dry powder)

2 or 3 cloves minced garlic (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)

2 Tbs.  sherry wine

2 Tbs. oil (peanut a good choice, or olive, or what you usually use)

2 Tbs. Chinese rice vinegar

Dash of red chili flake (we like it hot, so I do one tsp.)

1/4 cup honey, agave, or 2 Tbs. granulated sugar (Chinese rock sugar if you have it….)

Mix all thoroughly and keep in the fridge in a jar if you are not using it tonight.  Bring out about 1/2 cup for most meats you are going to marinate.  VERY IMPORTANT:  When you marinate chicken, it is EXTREMELY important that when you cook it, you boil  the marinade hard for a couple of minutes to kill any bacteria.  Beef is not so important, as you can eat beef rare or even raw.  So, cook your meat in a Wok at a very high heat,  and then add your choice of veggies.  HIGH HEAT, constant stirring, and you should be done in about 5 minutes.  It isn’t one of those dishes you want to cook to death.  Just be sure the meat is how you like it, and hit that pan quickly with the veggies!   Remember when you are at a Chinese restaurant?  The veggies are almost crispy!  So here are some ideas for good stir fry choices:

Always start with at least 1/2 sliced onion.  Then add other sliced or chopped veggies, such as:  broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, pea pods, Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage), Bell pepper, jalapeño, bean sprouts, whatever YOU love! (I often add pineapple!)

The best thing about stir fry is that there are NO rules!  (except cook the chicken). AND it can be vegetarian, or meaty, or what you like.  AND, even the marinade can be to your taste.  If you don’t like an ingredient, leave it out!  This is great…ask me how I know….

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