Stir-fries are a great way to get dinner on the table in a hurry. This favourite from the January 2003 issue of Cook’s Illustrated contains many useful tips on stir-frying.

Stir-fried pork, green beans and red peppers with gingery oyster sauce

First, it recommends using a large non-stick skillet instead of a wok. Second, it suggests partially freezing the pork and then cutting it into ¼-inch strips, which are then marinated in soy sauce and sherry. Third, it recommends stir-frying the pork in a very hot pan in batches, so the meat browns instead of steams.

Stir-fry the pork in batches so it browns instead of steams

The meat is removed and then the beans and peppers are stir-fried separately before everything is recombined in the pan and tossed with the sauce.

The pork, beans, peppers and sauce are quickly tossed together before serving

Once you have made the sauce and chopped the meat and vegetables, the entire dish cooks in less than 15 minutes. To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use tamari instead of soy sauce and an all-natural chicken broth and rice vinegar (I use Imagine Organic Chicken Broth and Marukan Seasoned Rice Vinegar). I have never been able to find additive-free oyster sauce, so I make my own by combining 3 tablespoons of tamari sauce with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 3 teaspoons of cornstarch.


12 ounces pork tenderloin cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices; then cut the slices into ¼-inch strips

2 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp plus 1 tbsp dry sherry

1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 ½ tbsp oyster sauce

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp rice vinegar

¼ tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp cornstarch

2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)

2-inch piece of ginger, grated (about 2 tbsp)

3 tbsp peanut oil or vegetable oil

12 oz. green beans, cut on bias into 2-inch lengths

1 large red bell pepper (about 8 ounces), but into 3/4-inch squares

3 medium scallions, sliced thin on bias


Combine pork, soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sherry in small bowl. Whisk remaining 1 tablespoon sherry, chicken broth, oyster sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, white pepper, and cornstarch in measuring cup. Combine garlic, ginger and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in small bowl.

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking; add half of pork to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up clumps, until well-browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer pork to medium bowl. Repeat with additional 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil and remaining pork.

Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to now-empty skillet; add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes; transfer to bowl with pork.

Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to skillet; add bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until spotty brown, about 2 minutes.

Clear center of skillet, then add garlic/ginger mixture to clearing; cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 45 seconds, then stir mixture into peppers. Add pork and green beans; toss to combine. Whisk sauce to recombine, then add to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds. Transfer to serving platter; sprinkle with scallions and serve. Serves 4.

From the January 2003 issue of Cook’s Illustrated