Updated: August 26, 2011

All wok and no play? Not with these super fast meals. Stir-fry provides maximum flavor with minimal effort. All you need is a sharp knife and a wok-like pan.

Shaped like large, shallow bowls, woks conduct high heat quickly and evenly. Whether curved for flame heat or flat-bottomed for electric stoves, whether carbon, stainless steel or hard-anodized aluminum, they all do the job. No wok? Any large skillet will suffice.

Stir-frying is easy if your prep is good. Here's a wok-through:

1. Chop meat/veggies into uniform pieces for even cooking.

2. Set wok over medium-high heat. When hot, add oil (or broth) and swirl it around.

3. Add seasonings (garlic, ginger, onion).

4. Toss in meat, fish and poultry to seal in juices.

5. Add veggies; the toughest and most dense first.

In minutes, the meat is done, veggies are crisp-tender and dinner is served!

To give any stir-fry a new attitude, season the oil with one of these combos:

Adobo: 1 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Chili-mango: 1 teaspoon chili powder and 1 cup diced mango (garnish: chopped cilantro)

Sweet 'n' sour: 1/2 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks and 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Coriander-lime: 1 teaspoon ground coriander and 1/4 cup lime juice (garnish: cilantro)

Creole wok: 1 tablespoon Cajun or Creole seasoning

Mediterranean: Diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon drained capers and 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Stir-fry marsala: 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/2 cup Marsala wine

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