Cooking Class: Stir-Frying
Stir-fry is a Chinese cooking technique that traditionally uses a wok while cooking over high heat. In many non-Asian countries, “stir-fries” are both the name of the cooking method and the dish. Incredibly versatile, stir-fries yield quick-fix, well-balanced, family-friendly meals. While stir-frying may sound complicated, it’s quite simple. Learn how to prep, cook and enjoy stir-fries hot off the stove in minutes.
Essential Tools for Sensational Stir-Fries
A Set of Small Bowls: Since high temperatures cook stir-fries fast, it helps to have everything prepped and ready to go before firing up the flames. Slice, dice, chop and grate your ingredients, and separate them into small bowls in the order they’ll go in the pan. Having ingredients and sauces prepped and organized helps you focus and makes the cooking process a breeze.
Wok or Cast-Iron Pan: A wok is a bowl-shaped pan with a large surface area that retains heat exceptionally well. Ideal for stir-fries, woks cook foods on the bottom while keeping others warm as they’re tossed along the edges. Woks also require less oil reducing any splattering. If you don’t have a wok, you can substitute with a cast-iron pan or wide, shallow sauté pan. No matter what gadget you use, the key is keeping it scorching-hot as you add ingredients.
More Quick Tips
Savvy Stir-Fry Prep: Stir-fries are most successful when ingredients are cut into small, uniform pieces. Start by adding to the pan items like meats that take the longest to cook, then add quick-cooking ingredients like veggies and noodles.
Dry Ingredients: Excess water in the wok or pan will steam your food instead of frying it. Bring meats to room temperature, pat them dry before stir-frying, and ensure that all vegetables are completely dry before adding to the pan.
Fast & Hot: When stir-frying, only a small amount of oil or seasoned sauce is necessary. Use oils with high smoke points, such as canola, avocado, grapeseed and peanut oil. Heat your wok or pan first, then add the oil and heat until shimmering but not smoking. Next, add a few ingredients. Adding too many items to a wok or pan at once may cool it down. Cook ingredients in batches to maintain high heat.
Toss Constantly: Creating a continual motion when stir-frying cooks the foods without scorching them and allows veggies to retain their vibrant color and fresh crunch. Repeatedly toss, push, flip and swirl them to quickly cook them without burning.
Shrimp + Thai Red Curry Paste + Jasmine Rice + Green Beans + Yellow Onion
Chicken Breasts + Soy Sauce + Rice Vinegar + Bell Peppers + Jalapeño + Green Onion
Flank Steak + Brown Rice + Broccoli + Carrots + Eggs + Lime Juice