Seems like a question that would've been asked before, but I couldn't find a pre-existing question. Sorry if this is a duplicate.
Anyway, I do a lot of stir-fry, usually with chicken. My usual method -- I cube the chicken, then brinerate it in soy sauce, brown sugar, a bit of oil, and ginger. Then I dry it off with paper towels, heat a cast-iron to 400-500*F, then add a little peanut oil and put a small amount of the chicken in at one time. I wait for that to cook, pull it out, make sure the pan's reheated, then add another small amount of the chicken. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked.
I've run into a couple problems though.
1) It takes a very long time to follow those steps. Drying the chicken is slow and messy, and seems overly pedantic. The amount of chicken I can cook at one time and still get a maillard reaction is very little.
2) The browning reaction is very inconsistent. Sometimes it's perfect, sometimes it doesn't work at all. Usually if I follow these steps to the extreme (like, 4-5 small cubes of chicken at one time) I can always get a reaction, but that just takes waaaaay too long.
So, what tricks can I use to help ensure that a Maillard reaction occurs? Are there any ways I can speed up the whole process?