From America's Test Kitchen Season 1: Stir Fry Made Easy
A good stir-fry made with chicken, shrimp, or tofu is more difficult to prepare than a beef or pork stir-fry because these proteins, which have less fat, are often bland. Worse, they inevitably become dry and stringy or rubbery when cooked over high heat. We aimed to create stir-fry recipes that harmonized the flavors and textures of these lighter proteins with complementary vegetables and sauces.
These leaner proteins inspired us to create light, fresh-tasting stir-fries. We paired the chicken with zucchini, red bell pepper, and a zesty ginger sauce. And asparagus, yellow bell pepper, and a brightly flavored lemon sauce were a natural fit for the shrimp. Lastly, we selected a slightly more assertive hot and sour sauce, along with red onion and snow peas, to enhance the mild-flavored tofu. As with most of our stir-fries, we marinated the thinly sliced chicken and shrimp, and cubes of tofu in a combination of soy sauce and dry sherry to add flavor and moisture. After cooking the chicken, shrimp, or tofu and removing it from the pan, we stir-fried the vegetables in batches, quickly cooked the garlic and ginger (the classic stir-fry combination) in the center of the pan, and returned the protein to the pan along with the sauce. This final mixture needed less than a minute over medium heat to finish.
Make sure to buy firm or extra-firm tofu; silken or soft tofu will crumble if stir fried. To promote caramelization on the exterior of the tofu, turn the cubes as little as possible so that they have time to brown on several sides.