Basic Marinade for Stir-Fried Meats

Whether it's chicken, pork, or beef, this marinade is my go-to recipe when I want to cook a quick stir-fry dinner. [Photographs: Shao Z]

Whether it's chicken, pork, or beef, this marinade is my go-to recipe when I want to cook a quick stir-fry dinner. It takes 30 minutes to marinate and another 10 to 15 minutes to stir-fry everything.

Why this recipe works:

  • Salt and soy sauce tenderize meat, help it retain moisture, and increase its savoriness.

  • Sugar helps browning characteristics.

  • Oil helps distribute fat-soluble aromatic compounds over the meat.

  • Cornstarch insulates the meat form the high heat of a hot wok, ensuring that it doesn't overcook along its edges.

  • Aromatics like pepper and wine add a nice basic flavor to meat that pairs well with other ingredients.
  • Here are a few meat and vegetable pairings to get you started:

    Basic Stir-Fry Marinade
    1/2 pound chicken, pork, or beef
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon sugar
    1/8 teaspoon ground pepper (white or black)
    1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
    1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
    1 teaspoon oil
    1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
    In a large bowl, add ingredients in the order they are listed. Mix well and marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

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Basic Marinade for Stir-Fried Meats

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes marinade for 1/2 pound sliced beef, pork, or chicken
Active time:1 minute
Total time:30 minutes
Special equipment:Large bowl

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound sliced or diced chicken, pork, or beef
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper (white or black)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable, peanut, or canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Procedures

  1. 1

    Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with hands to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking.

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