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D.I.Y. Stir-Fry
December 6, 2015, 10:14 am

Stir-fry, a cooking technique believed to have originated in China, involves frying ingredients in a wok by briskly stirring them in a small amount of very hot oil. The technique reportedly seals in the flavors while maintaining the color and texture of ingredients. When done correctly, with thehigh heat and quick cooking, the Chinese describe the ensuing product as “wok hay” or loosely translated, “the breath of a wok."

They are somehow always perfectly cooked and satisfying without being heavy. They are big on flavor, combining salty, spicy, sour, and sweet in perfect harmony. To all stir fry lovers, if you wish to try some at home then follow the do’s and don’ts  listed below to prepare your own delicious stir fry.

Use of the wrong pan: Ideally, what you need is a wok. But it is understood that not everyone has the unlimited collection of pots and pans. If you do not own a wok, use the largest stainless steel skillet you have. You would want the most amount of surface area possible, so go for width over depth. Do not forget the weight, because with stir fry, you will have a lot of tossing to do.

Use of the wrong oil: Food gets very hot when you stir-fry. So set yourself up for success by cooking with a fat that can take the heat. Some of the oils you can use are vegetable, avocado, and grape-seed. Steer clear of olive oil, nut oil or butter, which will burn and turn rancid.

Crowding the pan: For perfectly cooked meat, tofu, or any other vegetables, you would want to make sure that the pan is not crowded. If you add too many ingredients at once, they will overlap and steam, rather than sauté, making them rubbery or soggy. Instead of stir-frying the items all at once, add them in batches. Once each ingredient is cooked to perfection, remove it from the pan and add more oil if needed before moving to the next one.

Avoid chopping your ingredients thick: Stir-fries are great weeknight options because they are fast, which means your ingredients should cook up in a snap. Set yourself up for quick cooking by chopping your vegetables into small pieces, and perhaps even par-cooking them by boiling or steaming. If you are including meat, choose the right cuts. Thin slices of tender meat will cook much quicker.

Using high heat:  If you are using the right oil and the right pan then there is no need to be nervous about cooking over high heat. Let those flames lick at the side of the pan, and keep the ingredients moving constantly with a combination of stirring with a wooden spoon and shaking the pan.

Early seasoning: Do not go for early seasoning in stir-fry. The salt will actually work against you, drawing out moisture from the food, resulting in soggy or overcooked meat.

Build a bold sauce: Every stir-fry needs flavors. The best way to hit all of these notes is with a killer sauce. Use the right flavors anddo not forget to deglaze your pan. Adding a splash of liquid, like stock or coconut milk will help lift the crusty, golden-brown bits from the pan.

Once the sauce is balanced in flavor, pour over the cooked ingredients and toss to combine. Do not forget to finish it with a shower of freshly chopped scallion greens.


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