Stir-frying (wok cooking)

Stir-frying is a type of shallow frying where small pieces of food are cooked over a moderately high heat while being stirred continuously. In the case of seafood it is best suited to thick, firm-fleshed varieties.


  • a wok is most suitable.
  • alternatively, use a large-based, high-sided non-stick pan.

How to do it

  1. Cut the seafood and other ingredients into small or thin, even-sized pieces for quick and even cooking.
  2. Heat a small amount of good-quality oil in the wok or pan.
  3. Add the ingredients with the longest cooking time first. It is sometimes preferable to cook the seafood first, remove it from the pan, cook the other ingredients and then add the cooked seafood at the end. This prevents the seafood being overcooked while other ingredients are cooking.
  4. Stir constantly by lightly tossing the ingredients.

Cooking times

These will vary considerably depending on the species, thickness, quantity and initial temperature of the seafood, and on the equipment. The times suggested below are a general guide only.

Seafood Approximate cooking times for steaming
Finfish fillets 1–2 minutes
Prawns 1–2 minutes
Medium size 2 minutes


1–2 minute
Octopus 2–3 minutes
Crocodile 3–4 minutes