Tag: stir fry



I just recently returned from a family trip to Hungary, where the food was heavy on rich meaty dishes, but light on veggies. I found myself craving one of my meatless meals where I make an array of plant based dishes so there’s a variety read more



Why are stir-fries one of the most popular Asian dishes made at home? Because they are versatile, economical, and fast. No matter what you have (or don’t have) in the fridge, a stir-fry can generally be had. So today, we’re going to introduce one that read more

Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry

Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry

It’s that time of year! Bright green, succulent stalks of asparagus are at the market again. And my Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry is the best way to showcase them. Asparagus needs a quick cooking method to really let their delicate flavor shine, so a stir fry is ideal. Add a savory sauce and tender, marinated chicken and you have a complete meal, perfect to welcome Spring.

Marinate the Chicken

I usually use chicken thighs in recipes because I find them more flavorful, but breasts cook more quickly and this is a very fast stir fry dish. I infuse them with extra flavor by briefly marinating them before cooking. I add a little cornstarch to it as well, which helps create a velvety texture and also protects the chicken from the high heat that we’ll be using. This Chinese technique is a restaurant standard in producing tender, moist meats while still being able to use blisteringly high cooking temperatures.

I set the chicken aside to marinate while I get everything else prepped. You can also prep the chicken the day before and store it in the fridge until ready to use.

Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry Sauce

This classic stir fry deserves a classic sauce and we include all of the powerhouse ingredients like soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, toasted sesame oil, and white pepper. Just whisk everything together and set aside. If you’ve noticed in most of my recipes, I like to make the sauce separately and then add it later to the dish. There are a couple reasons I do this.

First of all, it’s a habit. In restaurants, we never add a little of this and a little of that to make the sauce that goes into a dish. In a kitchen with many cooks, that’s the makings of a disaster. The only way to have consistency in food and having it taste the same all the time is by having the sauce prepped and ready to use. It’s the closest you can have to a guarantee that the food will taste the same each time.

Second, it’s too easy to forget something in the heat of the moment. When you have more that two or three things that go into a dish, it’s very easy to forget something when you’re busy. Better to know that your sauce is right there at your fingertips rather than scrambling to get the soy sauce or measure out the cornstarch as your chicken starts to smoke before your eyes.

And finally, I like to keep my kitchen as organized as possible while I’m cooking. I hate looking at the kitchen after I’m done cooking and seeing a mountain of clean up ahead of me. It takes a little bit of joy away from my meal. So once I make the sauce, I can put everything away before I start cooking.


While you can it most of the year now, asparagus is at its peak in Spring. Look for firm stalks, with tightly closed tips. Stay away from discolored stalks or any packages that look wet. I prefer fat spears of asparagus if I have a choice. They have better flavor and texture and they have good heft for a stir fry. But the bottom line is freshness. Get whatever looks the best at the market.

The bottom couple inches of the spears are too tough and woody to eat, so first you need to remove it. If you bend a spear, it will snap in the exact right spot. I can quickly snap through the bunch in a minute. If you find this tedious, you can snap one and then eye ball where to cut off the ends with the knife. Just hold the bunch in one hand and cut off all of the ends in one shot. Once you’ve discarded the woody ends, cut the spears into short lengths and set aside.

Stir Fry Time!

Now that the chicken is marinated, the sauce is ready, and the asparagus is prepped, it’s time to stir fry. Remember the cardinal rules of stir frying, which are especially important in this Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry because it’s so quick:

  • Prep all your ingredients and have them within reach.
  • Preheat your pan first. (FOR SEVERAL MINUTES)
  • Then add the oil.
  • Keep it moving!

chicken asparagus stir fry saucy

Now I continue cooking until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked through, which is just a minute or two. Altogether the cook time should only be about 5 minutes. You can’t beat that!

beauty shot chicken asparagus stir fry

Love how quickly stir fries get dinner on the table? Check out:

When you try this delightful Spring stir fry, let me know that you think. Rate and leave a comment on the recipe below, and tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations!


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recipe card chicken asparagus stir fry

Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 2-3 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Chinese



Stir Fry:

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced

Marinated Chicken:

  • 12 ounces chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce

Stir Fry Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup chicken stock 


Marinate the chicken:

  1. Cut the chicken breast in half lengthwise.
  2. Slice the chicken into thin pieces.
  3. Combine the sliced chicken, cornstarch, water, oil, and oyster sauce in a medium bowl and mix well until the chicken absorbs the mixture. 
  4. Set the chicken aside while you prep the other ingredients.

Make the sauce:

  1. Mix the shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, ground white pepper, sesame oil, cornstarch, and chicken stock together.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Set the sauce aside, leaving a fork in the sauce so you can stir it again later.

For the Stir Fry:

  1. Rinse the asparagus and remove about 1 1/2 inches of the tough bottom ends. (If you bend a stalk, it will snap right off).
  2. Cut the asparagus into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. Heat a large 12 inch pan over high heat for several minutes. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil and swirl the pan to coat.
  4. Lay the chicken slices in the pan in one layer and let it cook undisturbed for 20 seconds and then use a pair of tongs, chopsticks, or spatula to stir fry it another 30-40 seconds until the chicken is almost cooked but still a little underdone. 
  5. Add the asparagus and garlic to the pan.
  6. Stir fry for 30 seconds moving the contents of the pan around constantly. Lower the heat to medium high.
  7. Stir the sauce again to make sure the cornstarch hasn’t settled to the bottom of the container and add the sauce to the pan. Mix to combine. 
  8. Continue stirring, letting the sauce bubble and thicken, cooking for another 1-2 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.
  9. Taste and adjust seasonings with a little salt or pepper if needed.
  10. Transfer to a large plate and serve immediately.

Keywords: asparagus, stir fry, chicken , chinese, spring, Shaoxing wine

Kinpira Renkon

Kinpira Renkon

Need to get out of a side dish rut? I’ve got you. This Japanese style stir fried lotus root dish, known as Kinpira Renkon, will help you shake things up. It’s a quick and simple veggie side that delivers phenomenal flavor, and complements just about read more

Pork Stir Fry

Pork Stir Fry

This Pork Stir Fry is the kind of simple dish that every Japanese home has a version of. Known in Japan as nira buta, the nira refers to garlic chives (also called Chinese chives), and the buta is the pork. This is a lightening fast recipe that read more

Mongolian Lamb

Mongolian Lamb

I’m not the world’s biggest red meat eater, but I do love me some lamb. Especially a lamb dish that comes together with only 20 minutes of hands on time. My Mongolian Lamb features incredibly tender meat (thanks to a little trick) with a rich and savory sauce. Lots of fresh ginger adds a blast of tingly heat, and shiitake mushrooms provide a nice earthiness. Served with rice, it’s a quick and delicious meal, so let’s go!

lamb mongolian ingredients

The Best Cut

I like to use a boneless leg of lamb for this dish. It’s one of the most common cuts of lamb available in the US and it’s relatively affordable. Moreover, it’s easy to handle and prep for a stir fry. If you’ve purchased a whole boneless leg, it’s probably around 4 pounds, which is a lot more than you need for this recipe. I would suggest cleaning the meat and then freezing the rest for another use. If you know what you’re going to be using the lamb for, go ahead and cube or slice up the rest before freezing. This way you have nice prepped lamb waiting for you in the freezer!

fat mongolian lamb

Velveting the Lamb

If you’ve ever wondered how the stir fry meat in Chinese restaurants gets so tender, velveting is the answer. A little corn starch or baking soda mixed with the meat helps to tenderize it. Velveting also helps protect proteins from the high heat when stir frying so the meat doesn’t get overcooked. As with any marinade, I also add some flavor to my velveting mixture, in this case a little soy sauce and sugar to bump up the savoriness.

velveting mongolian lamb

Next I add the oil, mix again, and let the lamb rest in fridge for about an hour. Most of the time, when I’m adding flavors or seasonings to meat, I will mix it all together first before adding oil. Adding oil helps proteins cook evenly, but I add it last because I want the flavors to penetrate the meat; oil can prevent that from happening by forming a barrier around the meat.

mongolian lamb chilling

Mongolian Sauce

Mongolian sauce is both a little sweet and a little spicy. Sticking to its Taiwanese roots, this recipe doesn’t make a lot though so if you like things extra saucy, increase the amount of sauce by half. It comes together quickly with ingredients you likely already have on hand, with maybe the exception of the ground bean sauce. Ground bean sauce is actually made from fermented yellow soy beans, and it has lots of salty umami. It’s definitely different from miso, but in a pinch, you can substitute it with good results. Making the Mongolian sauce is as easy as whisking together all the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.

Full disclosure, this recipe takes a lot of liberty with the name and I’m pretty sure no one in Mongolia ever heard of a dish like this…in the US, there are many versions of Mongolian Beef and Lamb, mostly with a heavy Chinese influence. This one is a version we’ve had on our menu for many years. It’s incredibly popular because it has familiar flavors with a little twist.

mongolian lamb sauce

Time to Stir Fry

Like all stir fries, Mongolian Lamb comes together very quickly. So it’s best to have everything measured and ready by the stovetop. Prep the mushrooms, slice the scallions, and mince the ginger and garlic.

mushrooms mongolian lamb

scallions mongolian lamb

Once everything is prepped, you’re ready to start stir frying! The key to a successful stir fry is to get your pan as hot as you can and keep it that way through the cooking process. You also want to keep a pair of chopsticks, tongs, or a heat proof spatula on you at all times because you’ll be moving the food around almost the whole time to keep your ingredients cooking evenly without burning.

cooking mongolian lamb

shiitakes mongolian lamb

The cooking process takes just a few minutes. The lamb is sliced so thinly that it doesn’t require much time. By the time you pour in the sauce, it’s pretty much cooked through.

finish mongolian lamb

Mongolian Lamb is proof that deeply flavorful dishes don’t require tons of time. It’s just the thing for weeknight cooking, and served over perfect rice it’s a complete meal. Take a moment to rate and comment on the recipe below, we love hearing from you! And don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love seeing your creations.

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mongolian lamb recipe card

Mongolian Lamb

  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes (+1 hour resting)
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Chinese



Velveting Lamb:

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 pound boneless leg of lamb


  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon bean sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons sambal olek (or any garlic chile sauce)
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

For the Stir Fry:

  • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 bunch scallions, rinsed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil


For the Lamb:

  1. Cut the lamb into 4-5 strips and cut out any thick pieces of fat or gristle.
  2. Cut the lamb into thin (¼”) pieces against the grain.
  3. Put the lamb into a bowl and add the baking soda, soy sauce, and sugar. Mix the lamb well.
  4. Then add 2 Tablespoons of oil and mix again. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Make the sauce:

  1. Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, bean sauce, hoisin sauce, sambal olek, red wine vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch in a cup and whisk together to completely dissolve the cornstarch.
  2. Set aside.

For the Stir Fry:

  1. Trim the mushrooms and cut them in half. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for a couple of minutes. (You want the pan very hot). Add 1 Tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat. Add the lamb in one layer and let it cook for 1 minute.
  3. Turn the heat up to high and flip the lamb pieces over. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a couple of seconds while moving the lamb around with chopsticks or other utensils.
  4. Next add the shiitake mushrooms and stir fry for an additional minute, moving the ingredients of the pan around to keep it cooking evenly. 
  5. Turn the heat down to medium high and add the sauce, stirring the contents of the pan as it cooks and thickens. 
  6. Add the scallions and cook just until the scallions start to wilt. (Less than a minute). Turn off the heat and drizzle with the sesame oil. Stir to combine and serve immediately.


*It’s important to let the meat sear first on one side before you start moving it around the pan. Very few household ranges can keep pans smoking hot after you add a pound of cold raw meat. Cooking it on medium high heat without disturbing it for a minute gets some browning on the meat.

*Don’t be afraid to cook on high heat-that is what makes a stir fry great. As long as you are moving things around constantly, you’ll be fine. But make sure you lower the heat when adding the sauce. The high sugar context in the sauce will cause it to burn if the heat is too strong.

Keywords: mongolian lamb, stir fry