Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry

This vegetable stir fry is easy to make and so delicious. The crisp, tender veggies are tossed in a rich, savory sauce with plenty of aromatics. Serve it as a main or a side for a simple, healthy dinner. {Vegetarian, Gluten Free adaptable}

Stir fried vegetables including onion, broccoli, carrot, mushroom, bamboo shoot, and snow peas

Vegetables are a very important part of Chinese food culture. In the past I’ve shared pictures of our dinner table back in China. You can see how colorful the table is, because of the abundance of veggie dishes. When you want to add a quick side to your main dish, one that is not only fast to prepare, but also bursting with flavor, dishes like the 4-Ingredient Cabbage, Bok Choy in Garlic Soy Sauce, and Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce are the best choices.

Today I want to introduce a Chinese vegetable stir fry formula, so you can mix and match whatever you have on hand to create a super delicious veggie dish.


Mixed vegetable stir fry in a wok

Vegetable stir fry formula

To make a great vegetable stir fry, you only need three components:

Mixed vegetables + fresh aromatics + stir fry sauce

However, to make the BEST vegetable stir fry, I added another component to the formula

Mixed vegetables + fresh aromatics + stir fry sauce + “Umami bomb”

Let me explain them one by one:

1. Mixed vegetables

Some of my favorite vegetables include: onions, peppers, carrots, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and mushrooms. Because I can find them year-round and they are very affordable. When in season, I also use ingredients such as asparagus, snow peas, and summer squash.

I included quite a few types of vegetables in this recipe just to give you an example of the workflow. You can skip or replace any of the veggies with whatever you have on hand. Please note:

  1. Vegetables can have very different cooking times. Some tougher veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower benefit from pre-cooking (steaming).
  2. Try not to overcrowd the pan by adding too many ingredients at a time.
  3. Try to use veggies with different textures.

2. Aromatics

Fresh aromatics are one of the most important elements of any Chinese stir fry. They add tons of fragrance to a dish that dried and powdered ingredients cannot come close to. When possible, I always add ginger, garlic, and green onion to my stir fry. But if you only have one of these on hand, simply double or triple the volume and skip the others. If you do a lot of stir frying like me, I highly recommend you prep aromatics in bulk on the weekend. Doing so will shorten your cooking time by a lot.

Chinese vegetable stir fry served in a plate

3. Secret sauce

To make the BEST stir fry sauce, my secret is to add one super flavorful ingredient. It can be:

Fermented black beans: A salty ingredient made from cooked black soybeans fermented in heavily salinated water; a process that softens the beans and dries them out slightly. As a result, they have a deep umami flavor, like soy sauce, but with an even stronger, slightly fermented fragrance. (You can find them on Amazon and The Mala Market)

Doubanjiang:  A fermented mix of broad (fava) beans, Chinese chili peppers, and salt. It has a deep, rich, spicy, and umami taste and is the key ingredient in Sichuan cooking. (You can find it on Amazon and The Mala Market)

Sui Mi Ya Cai: Made from the stems of a variety of mustard plant that grows in Sichuan, it is dried, flavored, and fermented in a multistep process that ends in a salty, rich, savory, and slightly sweet taste. (You can find it on Amazon and The Mala Market)

These three ingredients are what I call “flavor bombs”, because all my simple stir fry dishes taste better if I add one of them to it. If you like a slightly spicy taste, use Doubanjiang. As for me, I like Sui Mi Ya Cai the most because it adds a subtle sweetness to a dish. All of them are vegan. The fermented black beans and Sui Mi Ya Cai are gluten-free.

If you don’t have any of these at home, no worries. You can simply use some salt instead. Your dish will still come out delicious.

A final thought

A plate of vegetables will be a real delight if you prepare it properly with a good sauce. When I want a light dinner, I simply serve a vegetable stir fry with some steamed rice and I’m good to go.

Happy cooking and I hope you enjoy the dish!

Chinese vegetable stir fry served in a plate close up

More delicious veggie recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
20 mins
This vegetable stir fry is easy to make and so delicious. The crisp, tender veggies are tossed in a rich, savory sauce with plenty of aromatics. Serve it as a main or a side for a simple, healthy dinner. {Vegetarian, Gluten Free adaptable}

To make the dish gluten-free, use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. If you need to replace the fermented black beans, do not use Doubanjiang (it isn’t gluten-free) but rather the other alternatives indicated in the recipe instead.

Course: Main, Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Servings: 4
Calories: 165 kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu
  • 1 small head broccoli , cut into bite-size florets
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1/2 white onion , sliced
  • 2 carrots , sliced
  • 4 oz (113 g) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 8 oz (227 g) can bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 1 small bell pepper , sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fermented black beans (or Doubanjiang, or Sui Mi Ya Cai, or 1/4 teaspoon of salt) (*Footnote 1)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth (or water)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  1. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl
  2. Add 1/4 cup water into a large nonstick skillet (or a wok) and heat over medium high heat, until water is boiling. Spread the broccoli in the skillet and cover it. Let cook until it just starts to get tender, 1 minute or so. Transfer broccoli to a plate. Wipe the remaining water with a few paper towels held in a pair of tongs.
  3. Add the oil and turn to high heat. Add garlic and ginger. Stir a few times to release the fragrance.
  4. Add the onion, carrot, and mushroom. Cook and stir for 1 minute, until the veggies just start to turn tender.
  5. Add the bamboo shoots and bell pepper. Stir and cook for another minute, until all the veggies turn tender but are still crisp. Add back the cooked broccoli.
  6. Stir the sauce again to dissolve the cornstarch completely. Pour sauce into pan. Quickly stir a few times to mix well.
  7. Remove pan from stove and carefully taste the vegetables. To adjust seasoning, add a pinch of salt and stir to mix well again, if needed. Transfer everything to a big plate immediately.
  8. Serve hot as a side dish.
Recipe Notes
  1. Please see the cooking notes in the blog post above to read more about these ingredients.
Nutrition Facts
Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry
Amount Per Serving (4 g)
Calories 165 Calories from Fat 78
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.7g 13%
Saturated Fat 1.4g 7%
Sodium 470mg 20%
Potassium 759mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 18.8g 6%
Dietary Fiber 5.3g 21%
Sugars 7.7g
Protein 6.2g 12%
Calcium 5%
Iron 14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Chinese vegetable stir fry - Easy to make and so delicious, the crisp, tender veggies are tossed in a rich, savory sauce with plenty of aromatics. Serve it as a main or a side for a simple, healthy dinner. {Vegetarian, Gluten Free adaptable} #asian #recipes #sauce #lowcarb


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One thought on “Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry

  1. Hugh

    A colorful assortment of vegetables,” Chinese Stir Fry” – will probably substitute for the snow pea with snap pea (sugar snap pea) as they are available year round, the frozen ones. And a nice give away offer you have.