Stir-fry is a Chinese cooking skill in which food are fried in a small amount of hot oil while being stirred in a wok. The technique originated in China and in recent centuries has spread into other parts of Asia and the West countries. Many claim that this fast, hot cooking seals in the taste of the foods, as well as preserving their color. Here are some tips of how to do it currectly at home:
- Make sure you have prepared all the ingredients and seasonings you need.
- Before you start, make sure all the ingredients are cut according to the directions . Never try to do things while you stir-frying because stir-frying is a very quick and focusing cooking method. The whole process uses the highest heat on your wok and that’s why you shouldn’t try to prepare or cut food while you’re stir-frying.
- Cut all the ingredients the same size. Because stir-fry is a speedy cooking method the whole time while you stir-frying you have to use the strongest heat to quickly cook the food. So it’s important to keep the food size around equal. For instance, if you stir-fry pork with vegetable, try to cut them in equal size, like julienned, slice or cubes.
- Cut all the food into bite-sized pieces generally for instance 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 so that it covers both the 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.
- 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 the meat in a hot pan to lock the juices of the meat inside the meat.
Add the meat back when the vegetable is nearly cooked and cook it all the way through. This procedure can lock the juice in the meat and also make sure you have not overcooked the vegetables.
- Meat is normally stir-fried at a high heat to seal in the juices (depends on different recipes).
- Never add more than a cup of meat at a time to the wok. Lay the meat out flat to cook. Never over crowd the ingredients when you stir-fry.
- Remove the meat from the wok when it changes colour. For example when the redness in the beef is gone. At this point the meat is approximately 80 percent cooked.
- Stir-fry vegetables according to density, with the densest vegetables being stir-fried first and for the longest time. Denser vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and eggplant require more cooking time than green leafy vegetables like bok choy.
- If you’re uncertain about the order in which to stir-fry vegetables, the simplest solution is to stir-fry them together.
- If possible, wash the vegetable ahead of time to ensure that they have drained and are not too wet.
- Alternately, if the vegetables are too dry, try adding a few drops of water while stir-frying (personally not recommand this method if you are a beginner).
- When you cook vegetables that need a longer time to cook, for example Frech 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 a medium high heat to cook 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 cooked, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Serve the stir-fried dish immediately.
Finally, a few words about cooking temperatures. 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 should adjust it with your own stove.