Stir-fry is a Chinese cooking skill that to fry food in a small amount of hot oil while stirring them in a wok. The technique originated in China and has spread into other parts of Asia and the western countries in recent centuries. This fast, hot cooking skill seals in the taste of the foods, as well as preserving their color. Here are some tips on how to do it correctly at home:
Before You Start
- Make sure you have prepared all the ingredients and seasonings you need.
- Cut all the parts according to the directions. Never try to do things while you are stir-frying because stir-frying is a fast and focusing cooking method. The whole process uses the highest heat on your wok, so you shouldn’t try to prepare or cut food while you’re stir-frying.
- Cut all the ingredients the same size. Stir-fry is a speedy cooking method the whole time while you are stir-frying. You have to use high heat for cooking the food quickly. So it’s essential to keep the food size around equal. For instance, if you stir-fry pork with vegetables, try to cut them in an equivalent amount, like julienned, slice or cubes.
- Cut all the food into bite-sized pieces generally, for instant cooking.
- Pre-heat the wok for about 30 seconds before adding oil.
- Add the oil (up to 2 to 3 tablespoons depending on the dish; you can use peanut, vegetable, sunflower, or olive oil), drizzling it to cover both sides and the bottom of the wok. The oil heats faster this way.
- You can stir fry the garlic, spring onion, chili and ginger and these kinds of ingredient first to season and help the fragrance comes out first.
- But be careful not to burn any of these ingredients as it will make your food taste bitter.
Meat Stir-frying Instructions
- In some of the recipes, you need to stir-fry the meat first and set it aside. This procedure is a bit like in western cooking, where you seal them in a hot pan to lock the juices of the meat inside them.
- Add the flesh back when the vegetable is nearly cooked and cook it all the way through. This procedure can lock the juice in the flesh and also make sure you have not overcooked the vegetables.
- Stir-fry meat usually uses high heat to seal in the juices (depends on different recipes).
- You should not add more than a cup of flesh at a time to the wok, lay them out flat to cook. Do not overcrowd the ingredients when you stir-fry.
- Remove the meat from the wok when it changes color. For example, when the redness in the beef is gone. At this point, the meat is approximately 80 percent done.
Directions to Stir-fry Vegetables
- Stir-fry vegetables according to density, with the densest plants being stir-fried first and for the longest time. Denser vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, or eggplant require more cooking than green leafy vegetables like bok choy.
- If you’re uncertain about the order to stir-fry vegetables, the simplest solution is to stir-fry them together.
- If possible, wash the plants ahead of time and ensure that they are not too wet.
- Alternately, if the plants are too dry, try adding a few drops of water while stir-frying (personally not recommend this method if you are a beginner).
- When you cook vegetables that need a longer time, such as french beans, stir-fry them first for about 10 minutes, then add ½ to 1 cup of vegetable stock, chicken stock or water into the wok to cook the vegetables.
- Use medium-high heat for cooking the vegetables until the stock is nearly dry.
- When stir-frying meat, wait a few seconds before stirring so that it has a chance to brown; when stir-frying vegetables, begin stirring them immediately.
- Once the dish is ready, taste it and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Serve the stir-fried dish immediately.
Some recipes give instructions on whether to cook a dish at high, medium-high, or medium heat, but others don’t. In Chinese cooking, stir-fry should remain high heat, and you could adjust it with your stove.