Basic Marinade for Stir-Fried Meats Recipe

Photographs: Shao Z

Why It 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.

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.

Here are a few meat and vegetable pairings to get you started:

Recipe Facts



Active: 1 min
Total: 30 mins
Makes: 1/2 pound sliced beef, pork, or chicken

Rate & Comment


  • 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


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

Special equipment

Large bowl