Celery Stir Fry

Celery. We take it for granted, don’t we? It adds crunch to potato salads, and flavor to chicken stock and turkey stuffing; it’s ever the bridesmaid, never the bride. That’s why I was intrigued when I saw a recipe for celery stir-fry in my friend Nancy Hachisu’s Japanese Farm Food cookbook, a simple celery stir-fry with chili infused oil and soy sauce. Such a simple preparation, and so so good. Try it!

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Celery Stir Fry Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 as a side dish.

We found the best way to julienne the celery is to slice off the root end and any part of the celery beyond the main stalk. Cut the stalks in thirds, or if they are very long, quarters, and then cut each of those pieces in half lengthwise. This gives you a manageable, flat surface to slice into matchsticks. Nancy's original recipe calls for using a high quality rapeseed oil (another name for canola oil) and/or light sesame oil. We added a little dark sesame oil at the finish which was just lovely, so you might want to try that too.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp high quality rapeseed oil (canola oil) or light sesame oil
  • 3 dried chile peppers, broken in half
  • 4 cups julienned celery
  • 1-2 Tbsp soy sauce (to taste)

Method

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Heat the oils and chiles in a wok or frying pan over high heat for 90 seconds, or until the chiles become fragrant and the seeds sizzle. Add the celery and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir-fry one more minute. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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Links:

Stir-Fried Celery with Meat Sauce - from The Wednesday Chef
Chunky Celery Soup - from 101 Cookbooks
Japanese Pickled Celery - from Just Hungry

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40 Comments

  1. Greedy Traeller

    This looks great. Very easy and healthy too. I thought I was alone in being a celery fan! One question, what kind of things would you serve it with?

    It would be a great side for Asian dishes, of course. Or just a side for chicken or steak. Anything that tastes good with soy sauce and sesame. ~Elise

  2. Greedy Traeller

    Good idea – some chicken and brown rice will join this recipe! Thanks again!

  3. Julie

    Elise, you never cease to amaze me with such yummy recipes! Thank you for sharing this one!

  4. amy

    Yum! This would be really pretty done with the stalks from rainbow chard!

  5. Kate

    Great timing! I noticed I had celery in my fridge this morning left over from a previous recipe, and I was wondering what to do with it. I was already going to cook salmon tonight with an asian marinade, so this will work perfectly for a side.

  6. Emily

    In the “linked” recipe for Stir-Fried Celery with Meat Sauce the celery is peeled. Did you do that on this recipe? If not, did you notice the strings?

    Hi Emily, Sometimes when you work with large, tough, outer ribs of celery, it helps to peel the outer side of them to remove the strings. I don’t remember doing that with this celery, probably because we had already used the outer ribs for some other dish. ~Elise

  7. Jessica Fialkovich

    Great, simple recipe. Celery is one of those staples I always keep in my home to ad to the classic side dishes you mentioned. I’m going to have to substitute this for my standby asparagus next steak dinner.

  8. Jennifer

    Not a huge celery fan, but this looks interesting. You might want to pick a different featured image. I thought the chili pepper was a cricket at first.

  9. rebecca

    Could you do this with just oil, salt and pepper? I love celery, but I can’t eat it raw. This would be a great side to meat if it would work.

    Sure, you can cook celery this way. It won’t have the extra flavor of the soy sauce and sesame though. If you try it plain like you suggested, please let us know how you like it. ~Elise

    • shoquie

      I stir fried two stalks , with leaves – after removing the strings as shown in Youtube-following your recipe but added a pinch of anise seeds- instead of soya sauce- with the celery. It tasted good.

  10. sandy

    When I was small, my Mom would sometimes fix creamed celery for supper–just chopped celery, cooked in water (salted, no doubt) with a white sauce stirred in. It was very good.

  11. alfredo

    I usually reserve my celery for my bloody Marys…This looks like another option! Thanks.

  12. Judy

    I’m guessing that it’s not the dark sesame oil that you are using in this, right? Thanks for the recipe – it looks delish!

    Nancy uses either high quality rapeseed oil (canola oil) or a light sesame oil. I think that we used rapeseed oil and then added a little dark sesame oil at the finish, just to get a little more sesame flavor. ~Elise

  13. Mother of Pearl

    Just an interesting factoid about celery – This is the beginning of Amish wedding season in central PA and celery is a major part of the celebration. Several dishes with celery will be served with dinner and the house and tables are decorated with vases of leafy celery. So, not everyone takes celery for granted!

  14. Anna

    I am intrigued by Nancy’s book and planning to buy it. And even better – I have all of these ingredients in my house! Thank you, Elise!

  15. geg

    Did you really mean 2 tbsp of soy sauce? Seemed salty when I made it tonight

    Hmm. Soy sauce can really be variable in its saltiness. I’ll adjust the recipe to say 1 – 2 Tbsp (to taste). Thank you for the feedback! ~Elise

  16. Beth Sullivan

    I got my copy of the cookbook after you mentioned it here and it is beautiful! I love all your recipes and it especially nice of you to share this one as well! Delicious! Thank you!

  17. Lee

    My mother used to make a braised celery dish. As I remember it, she would combine chicken stock, minced garlic, celery, and parmesan. Bake and you’ve got a great side dish.

  18. Natika33

    @ geg – Japanese soy sauce is substantially lighter than Chinese soy sauce (which is more common), so that could potentially be the reason yours turned out too salty. Kikkoman is a Japanese brand sold widely outside Japan, or look for soy sauce meant specifically for sushi. Or just dilute/use less if you are using a Chinese soy sauce. (^_^)

  19. MaryM

    I’m definitely trying this, since my husband loves celery beyond all reason. When I first saw the picture, though, I thought it had a big ol’ Texas roach right in the middle of it!

  20. Denise

    What a great idea Elise. Celery is like parsley, the overlooked deliciousness lurking in the kitchen. I love gnawing on celery sticks but have never thought of cooking it as you did. Now that I see this recipe, I remember my grandmother making a spicy celery side-dish with soy and garlic. Must make ….

  21. Javelin Warrior

    I’ve been looking at celery wrong for so many years – I’d never thought to turn it into a star vegetable like this! This sounds so good and so unique. I’m featuring this post as part of Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution) and thanks for making me drool!

  22. Vicki

    My favorite cooked celery side is to simply saute in olive oil and sprinkle with old bay seasoning.

  23. Sharmila

    I have a celery plant in the garden that is getting about ready to pack it in for winter. Great post timing for me! Thanks Elise.

  24. Caroline

    What a great recipe! I made this tonight and it was fantastic. Who knew that celery could be exciting after all? Thanks for posting! I will definitely make this often.

  25. Rachel

    This was so good…I made this tonight with italian chicken and it paired well. This was easy to make and I did not have the asian chili’s required and just had canola oil…I used red pepper flakes. Turned out FAB! Definitely a keeper! Thanks Elise!

  26. jb

    Been doing this for awhile; love me some sautéed celery. I cut em a lil fancier, though. I cut them horseshoe-style, but on an angle, so it’s like an elongated horseshoe. We likey :)

  27. Shannon of Arkansas

    Are the toasted grasshoppers optional?

    I do think it’s weird that some people look at what to me is obviously a photo of a red chili and see it not as a chili, but as an insect. The chilies are not optional. That said, they do grow and sell chili roasted grasshoppers in Oaxaca, Mexico which are quite delicious, in a crunchy, spicy way. Feel free to add those if you have them. Me, I’ll pass. :-p ~Elise

    • Cherie

      Being from Hawaii, I saw a cockroach too. Funny how your mind see what it knows! But that didn’t stop me from making this great recipe. Yumm.

  28. fabiola

    Oh my gosh, you are soooo right on here. So so true. I love celery, but it is never a star of my veggie sides, just a team player. And there isn’t anything wrong with that, but I have never made it a star. I will have to do this. Thanks, Elise, such a great idea!

  29. Victoria Hollywood

    i absolutely love ur blog! and I LOVE celery. I once ate celery soup everyday for a week straight! I have a stalk of celery in the fridge now I’m totally making this recipe for dinner tonight.

  30. Cassandra

    Hi Elise,
    looks like a great recipe! Would it work if I used fresh chili peppers instead of dried ones?

  31. Bill Andersoot

    Great recipe! Also excellent done with cucumbers, as served at Little Szechuan in St. Paul, MN. If you like it spicy, a little hot chili oil at the end does the trick. Just make sure you get the kind that’s made from sesame oil and not the stuff made from cottonseed or other lower-quality oils.

  32. Claire

    I believe you misspelled grape seed.

  33. Cherie

    Thank you so much!
    I had relatives unexpectedly stay for dinner and my only fresh vegetable for sidedish was celery. One head nicely served 6 with second helpings. This recipe is yummy, crisply textured, and presents nicely. I will serve it again.

    Instead of chilis, I had some chili oil (contained flakes and seeds) from the last time I had Chinese take-out. Worked great–about 2 t gave a light heat but complemented the sesame and soy flavors. Thanks for the rescue!

    Also, I didn’t know that canola was another name for rapeseed. Great info.

  34. ali

    Thank you for this easy dish! My hub bought celery on sale And we do not eat celery like that! This is definitely a yummy dish for just straight celery, and there is no soapy celery taste. Yum.

    • judy

      The “soapy” taste that you mention is common with non-organic celery.
      Buy organic! Delicious difference.

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