Karl’s Fish Stir-Fry

Wife Jan is just getting over the flu and she wanted “real” food, but was concerned about moving too fast off of a bland diet. Stir-fries are infinitely variable—What do you have? What do you need? What blend of sauces would go with these decisions. Today’s answers were cod, Shanghai bok choy, napa cabbage, and shiitake mushrooms, and a few green onion tops—flavorful, but easy to digest. For the sauce, I decided on a base of oyster sauce with soy sauce, and a bit of ginger —avoiding my usual addition of chili garlic sauce.

Karl’s Fish Stir-Fry

Karl’s Fish Stir-Fry

Note: While I used cod, this recipe will work with any firm white fish.

Karl’s Fish Stir-Fry


Stir-fry sauce

¼ cup oyster sauce
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, shredded
¼ cup water

1 lb. cod, cut into 1 inch pieces
½ tsp. Kosher salt
1 Tbs. corn starch

3 Tbs. peanut or vegetable oil, separate uses

2 shiitake mushrooms, shredded
1 Shanghai bok choy, cut into 1 inch pieces, stalks and greens kept separately

½ cup napa cabbage, shredded
2 green onions, tops only cut into 1 inch pieces


1. Measure the sauce ingredients into a small cup and set it aside.

Tip: Always prepare your stir-fry sauce before you start, because once you start cooking there is no time to measure anything.

Note: Of course, if you are a “fly by the seat of your pants” type of person you can say, “Measuring spoons? We do need no measuring spoons!”

2. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel and sprinkle the salt and corn starch over it.

Tip: Toss the fish to completely coat the fish cubes with the cornstarch.

Note: You will be pre-frying the fish, before stir-frying the vegetables. The corn starch helps keep the pieces of fish intact, rather than flaking into small bits in your dish as you cook it.

3. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan, over medium high heat, and add the fish cubes.

4. Cook the fish for 1-2 minutes per side and then remove them to a bowl.

Tip: You want to be careful not to overcook the fish. Do not fry the fish so long that the cornstarch coating browns.

5. Wipe the pan clean and add the remaining oil.

6. When the oil is hot add the mushrooms and fry them for one minute.

Tip: You want the mushrooms to be well browned on the first side.

7. Flip the mushrooms over and add the bok choy stalks.

8. Leave the stalks alone to fry for two minutes.

Tip: This is to give the mushrooms time to brown on the second side and to give the thick stalks a jump start, before adding the leafy vegetables.

9. Add the bok choy green and cabbage to the pan and start stir-frying, for 2-3 minutes.

10. Return the fish to the pan and add the green onions.

11. Continue stir-frying for another minutes.

12. Add the sauce to the pan and toss to coat the fish and vegetables.

Tip: The corn starch on the fish will quickly thicken the sauce.

13. Serve immediately over steamed rice.

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Filed under Fish, Main Dishes

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