Stir fry: try our leftovers recipe and Jamie Oliver's favourite way to cook it

Discover how to make a stir fry and finish off anything hanging around in the fridge – or use Jamie Oliver's tips to get your kids eating more veg (without complaining!)

stir fry
(Image credit: Tesco)

Want to know how to make a stir fry? In terms of mid-week meals, it doesn't get much quicker, or easier, than a stir fry. And the beauty of this tasty dish is that it can be made with whatever you have hanging around in the fridge – we're talking a solitary chicken breast, a slice of steak, a couple of prawns and almost any veggies. 

Serve with rice, or noodles, as a meal within its own right, or as a side – perhaps minus the meat – to whatever you're cooking up. A great way to reduce food waste and give your greens plenty of flavour. 

For more recipe inspiration, head over to our food hub.

How to make a stir fry

how to cook stir fry

(Image credit: Getty Images)


  • Any vegetables left over in the fridge – bean sprouts, peppers, onion, carrots, pak choi, sugar snap peas, baby corn, spinach, asparagus and courgettes all work well
  • Any meat, prawns or tofu at hand
  • Soy sauce
  • Garlic, crushed
  • Ginger, grated
  • Sesame oil, for cooking
  • Toasted peanuts or cashew nuts


1. If you're adding noodles or rice to your stir fry, we'd recommend cooking them prior to starting on the meat and veg. Or, you can cook them so that they'll finish at the time you need to add them to the pan – in around 10 to 15 minutes from the start of the stir frying.

2. Add a little sesame oil – or whatever oil you have at hand – to your pan, along with the garlic and ginger. Then, begin cooking any meat, or tofu, you may be including.

3. When your meat is partially cooked, add in harder veggies that may take a little more time to soften – that's carrots, asparagus, courgettes and the like.

4. Once they've started to soften, you can add softer vegetables into the mix. That's everything from pak choi and spinach, through to sugar snap peas and peppers. Remember, the point of stir fry is that everything still has a good amount of crunch. 

5. Once everything is suitably softened, add your rice (see today's best rice cooker deals below) or noodles to the pan along with your soy sauce. Mix together until thoroughly combined. 

Top tip: Want more flavour? There are tons of ready-made stir fry sauces to buy that are worth having as store cupboard standbys – that way you're always ready to whip up a stir fry at a moment's notice. Our advice? Don't drown the stir fry in the sauce – the lighter the touch, the better.

Jamie's 'home school dinner' stir-fry recipe

stir fry

(Image credit: Tesco)

When we spotted that Jamie Oliver had shared his 'home school dinner' stir fry, we were interested to see what could be done to enhance our stir fry experience.

Not only can this tasty recipe be whipped up in under thirty minutes – great news if you're tackling working from home, homeschooling and managing a household – but it also packs in at least two of your five portions of fruit and veg per day. Plus, Jamie's secret ingredient means that your kids are sure to love it.

  • Special thanks to Tesco for sharing this tasty recipe with us

You will need

  • White long grain rice, 250 grams
  • Unsalted peanuts, four teaspoons
  • A red pepper
  • A clove of garlic
  • 4cm piece of ginger
  • Carrots
  • Half a red onion
  • A quarter of a white cabbage
  • Half a head of broccoli
  • Cooked chicken thighs, 200 grams
  • Oil
  • Mangetout, 150 grams
  • Raw peeled king prawns, 160 grams
  • Hoisin sauce, two tablespoons


1. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions, then drain and leave to cool. If you spread it across a plate, it will cool more quickly.

2. Crush the peanuts in a pestle and mortar. Deseed and finely slice the red pepper. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Peel and finely chop or grate the ginger.

3. Prep the carrots, onion, cabbage and broccoli – trim and peel as appropriate, then coarsely grate it all on a box grater leaving a few small broccoli florets whole. Remove any chicken skin and thinly slice, then shred the chicken.

4. Put a large non-stick frying pan or wok on a high heat with ½ a tablespoon of oil. (It’s best to stir-fry no more than two portions at a time, so you have enough room to keep everything moving around the pan.)

5. Sprinkle in half of the garlic, ginger, chicken and skin, and stir-fry until everything is really crispy.

6. Stir in half of the prepped veg, broccoli florets, pepper, mangetout and prawns and toss well over the heat for a couple of minutes, until the prawns are pink and cooked through.

7. Add half the cooled rice and hoisin sauce and stir-fry for a few minutes, until the rice is hot through, then season to perfection.

8. Divide between two plates, sprinkle over half the nuts and two lucky people can tuck in right away, while you repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

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