How to Make a Healthy Stir-Fry?

16th March 2018, Dietitian Marcus Lee, Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital

Oil is not always bad. Oil can supply energy to your body. When fighting cancer, your body needs more energy and protein to recover rapidly from the side effects of treatments.

Stir-frying is a way to cook small pieces of food in a wok or hot pan by using small amount of oil. You can prepare different vegetables, meats, fish and poultry using this method. In addition to being quick and easy, stir-frying is also healthy. It results in tender-crisp vegetables that retain more nutrients than if they were boiled.

Step 1:

Get the wok ready.

An authentic stir-fry is made in a wok, which is a bowl-shaped pan.

If you do not have a wok, you can use any large, shallow pan with a handle. You will also need a heat-resistant spatula for stirring.

Step 2:

Choose an oil.

Since a stir-fry is cooked at a high temperature, choose oil with a high smoke point. That means the oil will not emit smoke or unpleasant flavor. Examples of oil with a high smoke point (220-240°C) are: corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil. Do not use olive oil for stir-frying, as it has low smoke points (<200°C). If you want to use olive oil, choose a refined olive oil (not extra virgin).

Step 3:

Cook protein first.

Once the oil is hot, cook your favorite protein: shrimp, lean beef, chicken breast or thigh, lean pork, salmon, or tofu.

The meat should be cut into thin strips so it cooks quickly and evenly. Once it’s cooked, remove it from the heat. Do not over-cook.

Step 4:

Cook the vegetables.

Add garlic into the hot wok. Once sizzling, add your vegetables and cook until tender-crisp. Examples of vegetable that prefect for stir-frying: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, baby corn, mushrooms, eggplant, bell peppers, bok choy, kai lan.

Step 5:

Add flavor.

Flavor your stir-fry with some salt or herbs and spices like: basil, cumin, coriander, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, onion or low sodium salt if you are hypertensive.