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.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.
  3. Stir constantly by lightly tossing the ingredients.

Seafood Tip: 

  • Use an oil with a high smoke point such as canola or peanut oil.
  • Frozen seafood should be completely thawed and drained before stir frying to avoid "stewing" effect. 
  • If desired, for extra flavour, add liquids such as soy sauce, wine, rice vinegar or other condiments such as sweet chili or oyster sauces when the seafood is almost cooked.   

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.


Approximate cooking times for stir frying

Finfish fillets

1–2 minutes


1–2 minutes

Medium size

2 minutes


1–2 minute


2–3 minutes


3–4 minutes



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