Canned Tuna Is The Key To A Quick And Easy Stir-Fry You'll Love

Canned tuna deserves a place on your list of must-have pantry items. Some common mistakes people make with the canned fish, such as storing it incorrectly so that the contents' quality degrades, have kept it from earning the culinary respect it's due. However, it's actually a lifesaver for folks who don't have the time or the budget to prepare meticulous meals. It's also an ingredient that could elevate your homemade creations, especially when you buy the gourmet-flavored variants. 

In terms of its health benefits, although its sodium content is much higher than that of fresh tuna, canned tuna is a quick way of adding protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients to your diet. You can also go for brands that offer less salt and choose those that are packed in water rather than in oil to cut down on calories. Canned tuna is great for making a quick and tasty stir-fry, too. Add it to a walnut broccoli stir-fry, for example, and the dish becomes heartier with a savory, briny flavor. 

It'll cut down your prep time as well since canned tuna is also available either in chunks or flakes. You simply need to drain the liquid from the can before tossing the fish into a pan. (If it's oil, save it to make an umami-packed sauce later.) You don't have to buy the fancy variants if they're not within your budget, either. Just a squeeze of a halved lemon and some ground pepper and chili flakes will elevate your regular canned tuna's flavor. 

Use seasonings to balance canned tuna's saltiness

Since the tuna was already cooked as it went through the canning process, it also won't take long for your canned tuna stir-fry to finish cooking. Place the tuna in the wok before you add in the vegetables. Pieces of fish will flake off as you stir the ingredients together, creating greater flavor distribution. If you're worried that the fishy taste of tuna may overwhelm the dish, season your stir-fry with flavoring agents that can balance its saltiness. 

We've suggested using some dry sherry to make a stir-fry sauce since its deep umami flavor and light acidity will add depth to the food. Oyster sauce is also a great choice because it is both savory and sweet. Drizzling some honey or sprinkling brown sugar while you stir-fry the tuna and vegetables will add a tasty, caramel-like counterpoint to the saltiness as well. Go beyond the usual veggies you use to create a medley of textures, too. 

Corn is crunchy and chewy, plus it adds bursts of sweetness that balance the tuna flavor. Or, take a page from Korean cuisine and add glass noodles to your canned tuna stir-fry for a twist on japchae. Made of sweet potato starch, they're soft and springy when cooked, creating the perfect bed for the combination of crispy veggies and meaty tuna. No matter what stir-fry you make with this humble canned good, consider topping it with some toasted sesame seeds to add some delicious nuttiness to it.