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:
- Easy Stir-Fried Beef With Mushrooms and Butter
- Easy Stir-Fried Pork With String Beans
- Easy Stir-Fried Chicken With Ginger and Scallions
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
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with hands to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before cooking.