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is a method of cooking that perfectly fits todays busy lifestyles.
Stir-frying is rich in the layering of flavors you can create
and a healthy alternative to heavy meat dishes. Stir-frys can
be as diverse as your imagination allows, combining beef, poultry,
fish, pork, lamb, shell fish, vegetables, pasta, or rice with
aromatic seasonings. Stir-frying can marry a limitless variety
of healthy foods, resulting in an explosion of taste in every
have been around for thousands of years in China and continue
to gain in popularity in the west.
shape of a wok allows food to fall to the bottom, the hottest
part of the pan, so that the food cooks quickly. It is important
for this reason to choose a wok with a large flat bottom area.
There are many brands and types of woks on the market today from
heavy steel, stainless steel, non-stick to copper. For the best
results, choose the heaviest wok you can find with a 14"
or 16" flat bottom, a long handle on one side and a short
handle on the opposite side.
bottomed woks will work on gas or electric stoves. We do not recommend
electric woks because they dont generate enough heat to
brown food adequately. Also, avoid wok rings that
are made to be placed on the burner, between the cook top and
the wok. Elevating the wok off the burner in this way will result
in boiled rather than stir-fried food.
you do not have a wok, you can use a heavy 14" cast iron
wooden spatulas are the ideal tool to stir ingredients as they
quickly cook in a wok. Choose a wooden spatula with enough width
at the end to allow you to stir the ingredients easily.
not really sure what the proper name of this invaluable tool is,
but Asian Wire Spoon is how I identify it. This tool
can be found in most cooking stores and is perfect for lifting
ingredients from the wok without all the liquid. You can also
use this spoon for many other jobs other than stir-frying.
meat, fish and vegetables:
food for a stir-fry should be cut into bite-size pieces and be
uniform in size. It is better to cut smaller pieces than larger
because smaller pieces will cook quicker. A stir-fried meal is
eaten with a fork or chop sticks and not cut at the table, therefore
each morsel should be small enough to be easily eaten without
cutting when eaten.
and fish should generally be cut into 1/4" strips and then
into 1" pieces. Vegetables can be cut in various ways and
should be an attractive element to your stir-fry. Cut scallions
in 1" diagonal sharp slices, and other vegetables in 1/4"
slices or strips. You can trim the outsides of carrots or zucchini
with a potato peeler by cutting thin strips lengthwise 4 times
around the vegetable and then cut into 1/4" slices. Tomatoes
should be cut into thin wedges.
shell fish is dependent on the variety, but most are generally
that require a short cooking time can be added directly to the
wok and stir-fried. Examples are: asparagus, zucchini, celery,
onions, cabbage, mushrooms, peas, peppers, chiles, and summer
squash. Vegetables that require a longer cooking time, such as
broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower and
green beans should be blanched in boiling water and then chilled
in ice water until ready to use.
choosing meat for a stir-fry, be sure to select a tender cut of
meat. Marinating meat for a stir-fry gives it an additional layer
of flavor and helps to tenderize the meat. Meat should be marinated
for no less than 15 minutes and generally for as long as 8 hours.
The longer you marinate, the more flavor your meat will have.
Keep all marinating meat in the refrigerator until needed.
selecting fish for a stir-fry, choose firm-fleshed fish such as
halibut, tuna or swordfish.
of the most important keys to a great stir-fry is preparation.
The actual act of stir-frying takes only a few minutes and all
ingredients, including sauces and seasonings should be in separate
bowls, prepared and ready to add to the hot wok. Ahead of time,
cut the meat, fish or clean shellfish; marinate the meat; cut
vegetables, pre-boil pasta or cook rice; prepare the sauce, prepare
the seasonings and prepare a corn starch and water mixture. When
you are ready to stir-fry, everything should be ready and within
arms reach from your wok.
Shrimp in Black Bean Sauce
other key element to perfect stir-fry is a hot flame or burner.
When you are ready to stir-fry, pre-heat a dry wok over the highest
heat, until the wok is very hot, this can take 10 minutes. I mean
very hot. Turn the heat up to the highest setting and add
the oil. When the oil gives off a wisp of smoke, the wok is ready
and you can add the first ingredients. Always stir-fry over the
highest heat and never reduce the heat throughout the cooking
recommend peanut oil as the best oil for stir-frying. Peanut oil
has a very high smoking point and is suitable for high-heat cooking.
Canola oil is another alternative.
your stir-fry will include meat, cut the meat into bite-size
pieces and marinate for 15 minutes to 8 hours and refrigerate.
I prefer to marinate meat for a stir-fry in the morning for
that nights meal.
your stir-fry will include shellfish, wash, de-vein, de-beard
or shell the seafood and refrigerate.
your stir-fry will include pasta or rice, pre-cook according
to package instructions.
all vegetables and add them together in a bowl; refrigerate.
cook more than 1 pound of meat or seafood or more than 5 cups
of vegetables for a stir-fry. If you need to stir-fry for a
larger group, use an additional wok.
the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate.
the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate.
a wok over high heat until very hot. When wok in hot, increase
the heat to the highest setting add 2 Tablespoons peanut oil.
When oil gives off a wisp of smoke, add meat, fish or shellfish.
Stir and toss for about 2 minutes with a wooden spatula. Remove
to a plate.
return the wok to the highest heat and add 1 Tablespoon oil
and the seasonings. Stir for about 5 seconds.
the vegetables. Stir and toss until the vegetables brighten
in color, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the sauce. Return the meat, fish or shellfish to the
wok and stir until sauce thickens and meat and vegetables are
Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve immediately.
following the Basics for Stir-frying you can improvise
any stir-fry you can imagine. Choose your favorite meats and vegetables
and create your own stir-frys that will delight your family and