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Veggie stir fry on a bed of rice

Cowboy Denny


Veggie stir fry on a bed of rice is one cheap meal that really doesn’t make you feel like you are eating on the cheap even if it’s super inexpensive to make.  The below recipe makes enough for each person to have 1.5 cups (so four people worth).


Stir Fry Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce ($0.24)

  • 1/4 cup water ($0.00)

  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.08)

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil ($0.10)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)

  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger ($0.10)

  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch ($0.03)


  • 3/4 lb. broccoli ($1.34)
  • 2 carrots ($0.33)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms ($1.69)
  • 8 oz. sugar snap peas ($2.99)
  • 1 small onion ($0.28)
  • 1 red bell pepper ($1.50)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.16)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds ($0.06)


  1. Make the stir fry sauce first. Combine the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set the sauce aside.
  2. Chop the vegetables into similar-sized pieces. It's up to you whether you slice, dice, or cut into any other shape you prefer.
  3. Add the cooking oil to a very large skillet or wok. Heat over medium-high. When the pan and oil are very hot (but not smoking), add the hardest vegetables first: carrots and broccoli. Cook and stir for about a minute, or just until the broccoli begins to turn bright green.
  4. Next, add the mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Continue to cook and stir for a minute or two more, or just until the mushrooms begin to soften.
  5. Finally, add the softest vegetables, bell pepper and onion. Continue to cook and stir just until the onion begins to soften.
  6. Give the stir fry sauce another brief stir, then pour it over the vegetables. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce begins to simmer, at which point it will thicken and turn glossy. Remove the vegetables from the heat, or continue to cook until they are to your desired doneness.
  7. Top the stir fry with sesame seeds and serve!


In addition to vegetables, you can add all sorts of other ingredients, like:

  • Chicken, beef, or pork
  • Shrimp
  • Tofu
  • Noodles
  • Scrambled egg
  • Peanuts or cashews

Stir Fry Tips

There are two important tips for making stir fry at home:

  1. Use a big wok or skillet and high heat. If your pan is too small there won’t be enough surface area for the steam to evaporate and the vegetables will get soupy. Likewise, if the heat isn’t high enough the steam will not evaporate fast enough and the vegetables will also get soupy.
  2. Don’t overcook the vegetables. You want the vegetables to just be tender-crisp and vibrantly colored. You can always cook them a little longer once the sauce is added at the end, but if you cook them too long in the first steps you’ll end up with limp vegetables that are drab color.


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