Preparation, Speed, and Heat: RecipeTinEats on How to Sauté Anything | australian food and drink

Nagi Maehashi has been showing up on dining tables across the country. She’s been to Christmas brunch with the perfect summer salad, exhausted parents as they cram greens into midweek staples, and she’s wowed the in-laws with a flawless lemon wedge.

It’s the culmination of years of work at RecipeTin Eats, the food and recipe blog that started with a $50 WordPress account.

On the day of its launch, the site received two clicks: from Maehashi and her mother.

A month later, she posted her recipe for an “all-purpose stir-fry sauce,” which she calls her Swiss Army knife of stir-fry sauces. He got shared on Pinterest and the base of him began to grow.

Soon after, her garlic cheese bread recipe took off and has now been viewed some 200 million times on Facebook.

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Now the blog receives an average of 27 million page views per month, has eight full-time employees, 972,000 Instagram followers and a food bank, and has spawned a cookbook: RecipeTin Eats: Dinner.

Over the years, Maehashi says, she has seen Australian home cooks become more adventurous, with their palates and recipes. They want to know how to make a laksa that fills the stomach and feeds the soul, or recreate the perfect Reuben sandwich they once ate in New York.

“They want to create it at home. It’s really exciting to actually see it… I think the accessibility of online recipes has really opened up home cooking,” she says.

But he is also aware of the dangers involved in following recipes online. In fact, they are what motivated her to start her blog in the first place. “This sounds really awful, but to be honest, when I started looking at all these other recipe websites, some…were really bad,” she says.

“You can’t just put soy sauce on a bunch of vegetables and meat and call it a stir-fry. Like it’s just not going to be tasty.”

Maehashi wants everyone to make good food, and to make it well. One of his best tips for home cooks is to “get comfortable” chopping garlic and onion quickly.

But then he quickly retracts the answer. “Actually, my number one piece of advice to everyone in the kitchen is to relax and enjoy more.”

“I know it sounds ridiculous, but I think cooking is mostly about self-confidence rather than meticulously following a recipe.”

Here, Maehashi shares her stir-fry recipe. It’s not a prescriptive manual, but rather a guide to choose your own adventure based on preferences and what’s available in the fridge.

Nagi Maehashi knows how to skip anything

It serves 2

Homework 5 minutes

Cook 5 minutes

Make sure you have all the ingredients measured and ready to toss in the pan because once you start cooking things move fast.

To start
2 tablespoons canola oil

base aromas
1 clove garlic
finely chopped
1 teaspoon gingerfinely chopped (or more if desired)
fresh chilliesfinely chopped

5 cups of complements
(crude and vegetable proteins)
3 tablespoons Charlie’s all-purpose stir-fry sauce (recipe below)
⅓ cup of water (85ml)

stir fry noodles
4 cups of complements
(crude and vegetable proteins)
3 cups noodles of choicecooked (200 g fresh or 100 g dry)
3 tablespoons Charlie’s all-purpose stir-fry sauce (recipe below)
⅓ cup of water (85ml)

additional scents
Sriracha, spicy bean paste, or other spicy addition
sweet chili sauce
Sesame oil
Substitute pineapple juice or orange juice for the water.
Thai basil, garlic chives or coriander leaves
chinese five spice

Sauté Aromatics: Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add your choice of base flavorings and stir for 10 seconds until lightly golden.

Stir-fry: Add your stir-fry add-ins, starting with the ingredients that take the longest (eg onion, protein, carrot go first, leaving leafy greens like cabbage and Asian greens until last). Stir constantly or they will become runny.

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Noodle Option: Add the noodles (if using).

Add Charlie’s Saute Sauce plus water, any additional flavoring you are using, and leafy greens.

Reduce sauce: gently stir to combine and cook for about a minute. The sauce will turn into a thick, glossy sauce that will coat the stir fry.

Serve immediately! Serve stir-fries over rice. The noodles can be divided between bowls and served as is.



  • Always mince the garlic with a knife to fry, rather than using a garlic press, which makes the garlic a paste-like consistency that burns, spits out, and sticks to the wok.

  • Protein Suggestions: Medium whole chicken, pork, beef, prawns or even thinly sliced ​​minced meat.

  • Vegetable suggestions: Sliced ​​onion (I almost always use), carrot, bell pepper, zucchini, Asian greens (separate stems from leaves, put stems in first as they take longer to cook), cabbage, mushrooms, bean sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower ( steam before using), baby corn (canned or fresh), bamboo shoots (canned).

  • Noodle Options: 200g fresh noodles (from the fridge), such as Hokkien noodles; 125 g dry noodles (egg, wheat or rice noodles); two large or three small ramen cakes. Prepare them according to the package instructions.

A jar of brown colored sauce being poured into a wok filled with udon and Asian vegetables.The all-purpose ‘Swiss Army Knife of Stir Fry’ from Nagi Maehashi aka Charlie. Photography: Rob Palmer/Pan Macmillan Australia

Charlie my all purpose stir fry sauce

brands 1½ cups (375ml), enough for 16 services

Homework 5 minutes

Cook Null

Here is my Swiss army knife of stir fry sauces. It’s a classic Chinese brown sauce that has enough flavor to use as is, but is also neutral enough as a base on which to add other flavors.

“Brown sauce” sounded a bit off, so I ended up always calling him “Charlie,” as in Charlie Brown. Charlie is my go-to partner for so many different quick stir-fries. Keep a supply of these things on hand in his fridge like I do. He’ll save you time and time again when you need to whip up a weeknight dinner in a flash.

½ cup light soy sauce (125ml)
½ cup oyster sauce (125ml)
¼ cup Chinese cooking wine (60ml)
¼ cup cornmeal (30g)
1 tablespoon of white sugar
2 tablespoons of sesame oil
1 teaspoon white pepper (or more!)

Place all the ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Store Charlie in the refrigerator and shake well before using.

Cover of the RecipeTin Eats: Dinner cookbook, featuring cook Nagi Maehashi and her bulldozer dog, and a plate of grilled chicken. Photography: Rob Palmer/Pan Macmillan Australia

To use, mix three scoops of Charlie with one-third cup (85 ml) of water to make a stir-fry or stir-fry noodles for two.

This will last in the fridge for six weeks or more, subject to the shelf life of the ingredients used. Shake the jar every other day to prevent the cornmeal from settling and hardening at the bottom of the jar. Not suitable for freezing.


  • Light soy sauce can be substituted for all-purpose soy sauce, although the sauce will be darker in color.

  • Low-salt chicken broth can be substituted for Chinese cooking wine, although this will reduce the shelf life of the sauce to one week.

  • This is an edited excerpt from RecipeTin Eats: Dinner, by Nagi Maehashi. Available now at Bread Macmillan Australia ($49.99).

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