5 essential steps on how to make a stir fry for a crowd, without vegetables getting soggy


tiny stir fried rice for a crowd pro family chef
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Fifteen guests come for a family gettering, and you want to make things a bit spicier than usual. You decide to make a stir fry, but don’t know if it will turn out ok? Making stir fry for a crowd is easy and slightly different from making it for just two people. Follow these five simple steps on how to make stir fry for a crowd and surprise your guest with your stir fry skills:

  1. Prepare everything in advanced, make mise en place 
  2. Slicing veggies and meat the right way
  3. Wok and heat essentials
  4. Batch stir fry
  5. Serve immediately from the wok

How to make stir fry for a crowd

Prepare everything in advance for stir fry

I can’t emphasize enough why this is one of the most important steps. When you turn the engines on, on your wok burner, you won’t have time to slice and chop anything. That is why preparing everything in advance is crucial. 

Measure the ingredient quantities. Put all the vegetables and meat into separate cups and containers. You can put the veggies that cook the same amount of time in the same container. 

Prepared ingredients to make stir fry for a crowd

When making stir fry for a crowd or a large group, it is best also to prepare the sauce in advance. Combine all the liquids in a saucepan and bring them to a boil. The pre-cooked sauce that is still hot when you put it to stir fry works better than adding cold liquids.

How do you keep vegetables from getting soggy in stir fry when making it for a crowd

Soggy vegetables just don’t belong in a stir fry dish. Most veggies should be sliced thinly. The way to do it is to julienne them. Some veggies come out better if you cut them into chunks. For example, zucchini is best if you cut it into small cubes. Slicing it julienne will make them soggy before the plate comes on the table.

To avoid vegetables getting soggy, you must apply high heat for a short time and toss and stir the veggies all the time in the process. This is easy when you are making a small batch. But if you are making stir fry for a crowd or a large group, with large quantities of the same ingredients, follow these three steps to avoid vegetables from getting soggy:

  1. Undercook vegetables because you will set them aside for further stir fry
  2. Apply high heat and use carbon steel wok.
  3. Use veggies that don’t get soggy easily (carrot, bamboo shoots, bell pepper)
  4. Add onions or very watery veggies like tomatoes at the end of stir fry

What vegetables do you stir fry first

Always start with root veggies that take the longest to cook. Continue with softer veggies and end up with onions and watery veggies. Onions are best if they are still crunchy. If you add onions in the end, they taste different and more authentic than if you stir fry them. 

How to make meat tender in stir fry when making it for a crowd

The best way to make meat tender in a stir fry is to cut it thinly into strips. You should cut it against the grain, especially beef. Marinating meat will also tenderize it; the best option is if you can marinate it overnight. 

When stir-frying meat, the process shouldn’t take long. Toss the meat over high heat. High heat will sear the meat and prevent the juices from running out too quickly. Meat that is quickly seared is tender and juicy.

Wok and heat essentials when making stir fry for a group

The best stir fry you can make is to make it for 2 to 3 people in one batch. But when you are making stir fry for a group of 10 or 20 people, you need to batch stir fry your ingredients. If you make large quantities of stir fry, the chances of ending up with sauteed instead of fried ingredients increase dramatically.

It is essential you use a good wok and a good source of heat. If you are making stir fry for a group, I recommend using a 16inch carbon steel wok and a good wok burner. You can check more on why carbon steel woks are perfect for the job, and which wok burner is best to get blazing flames in my posts.

With a 16inch wok, you can make a stir fry for around ten people if you make stir-fried rice or stir-fried noodles. If you would make stir-fried chicken or stir-fried vegetables, and cook the rice or noodles separately, then you could make enough stir fry for around 15 people.

Nr. of servings for the wok size if you stir fry for a crowd
14 inch wok 16 inch wok
only stir fry (rice or noodles cooked separately) 10 people 15 people
stir fry rice or stir fried noodles 7 people 10 people

I always work with a large carbon steel wok, which is perfect if you make stir fries for a crowd. The iron ear and wooden handle is a must because you will be easily able to lift a lot of food in a relatively heavy wok with both hands.  If you are looking for the best one, I recommend this one:

If you want to get blazing hot flames, choose the right wok burner, I use a 100000BTU wok burner like this one:

How to make chicken stir fry for a crowd

Chicken stir fried rice recipe for a crowd.

This will serve 10 people as the main course.

Start with cooking the rice one day before. Always use long-grain white rice. Cool cooked rice and set it in the refrigerator. The best rice for fried rice is drained and dry rice with low water content after being cooked. 

If you cook rice in large quantities of water (3 cups of water for 1 cup of rice), It is crucial to drain rice entirely and set it aside overnight in the refrigerator, so it dries a bit. 

But if you make rice with low water quantity (1 1/2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice), then you can use the rice right after it was cooked.

Chicken can also be prepared a day before. It is even better to put it in the marinade overnight.

Slice two chicken breasts into strips, add three finely chopped cloves of garlic, and three tablespoons of light soy sauce.

One hour before the guests come, start peeling and slicing your veggies. Julienne three large carrots. If your guests like veggies, also add zucchini. I always use overgrown zucchini if I have it. For more tips and tricks on how to use overgrown zucchini, check out my post. 

You can also use cabbage. Use about a third of the cabbage head and slice it into strips.

For the sauce, mix around four tablespoons of fish sauce or oyster sauce, four tablespoons of light soy sauce, and one tablespoon of chili sauce. Boil it and set aside.

Put one large sliced onion, one large sliced tomato, and one chopped spring onion, on a separate plate. In three different cups, prepare five eggs, a handful of peanuts, and one tablespoon of sugar.

You can check this video on how to make chicken stir fry for a crowd:

Start stir-frying your veggies. Stir fry each vegetable separately, starting with the vegetable that takes the longest to cook, which is carrots. Follow with zucchini or cabbage. When you are done, continue with chicken. After the chicken is done, add eggs in the wok.

Eggs will be done in a second, and then immediately put in the rice and stir fry rice. When the rice is done, put in the sauce, sugar, and mix everything. Then add vegetables and mix again. In the end, add in onions, tomatoes, and spring onions or chives. Finish quickly, so things don’t get soggy.

How to make vegetable stir fry for a crowd

The procedure of making a vegetable stir fry is the same as if you would make chicken stir fry, just leave the chicken out. 

If you are going to experiment with different vegetables, just keep in mind that it is best to undercook the vegetables if you are making vegetables stir fry for a group and start to stir fry vegetables that take the longest to stir fry.

If you ask yourself why it is best to undercook vegetables in a stir fry, the answer is; vegetables will cook further when you set them aside if you batch stir fry vegetables for a crowd.

Stir fry rice with chicken with vegetables, for a crowd

This recipe can serve up to 10 people if you do it in 16 inch wok
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese, Thai
Servings: 10 people

Ingredients

  • 1,6 lb white, long grain rice 750g
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 large overgrown zucchini, 3 normal sized zucchini or 1/3 cabbage head
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 medium spring onion or chives
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 2 breasts chicken

for the marinade

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce

For the sauce

  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce or oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar optional

Instructions

  • Start stir-frying your veggies. Stir fry each vegetable separately, starting with the vegetable that takes the longest to cook, which is carrots. Follow with zucchini or cabbage. When you are done, continue with chicken. After the chicken is done, add eggs in the wok.
  • Eggs will be done in a second, and then immediately put in the rice and stir fry rice. When the rice is done, put in the sauce, sugar, and mix everything. Then add vegetables and mix again. In the end, add in onions, tomatoes, and spring onions or chives. Finish quickly, so things don't get soggy.

Video

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what to do with overgrown zucchini

 

Rok Jurca

I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

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