The art or technique of tradiational stir-fry cooking is done with a wok, a small amount of oil, and high heat. The wok, or heavy, round-bottomed pan, is heated to a high temperature. A small amount of oil is then added to the wok. Dry seasonings are put in the oil first, to release their oils and fragrances. Then, meats are added and seared. Vegetables come next, along with liquid ingredients such as soy sauce, wine or vinegar. The term is loosely used to include any food that requires it be “stirred” while it is “frying” in hot oil
Round Steak is stir-fried with strips of bell peppers, onion, and celery, and seasoned with pepper, onion, garlic, and soy sauce to create this spicy Pepper Steak. The recipe will make 4-6 servings in less than 20 minutes. The flavors of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, and sugar come together to create a special sauce for Sweet and Sour Pork Stir Fry giving the pork tenderloin a deliciously tangy taste. Serve the cooked meat over lo mien noodles for a satisfying dish.
Chicken is stir-fried with broccoli, and seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, and garlic, to create this Stir-Fried Broccoli Chicken with Cashews dish. Cashews are added at the end, just before serving. Spicy Shrimp Pasta is made by seasoning shrimp and mushrooms with ginger, garlic, onions, pepper and lime. Stir-frying the ingredients together creates a sauce that makes the shrimp and mushrooms spicy and zesty.
This Crunchy Winter Salad is created by stir-frying sunchokes (artichokes), celeriac (celery), broccoli and garlic. Walnuts, apples, and dried fruit are added to the cooked ingredients. A dressing made with yogurt, mustard, butter and vinegar is then poured over the mixture of vegetables and fruit for a delightfully, tasty and crunchy salad. A mix of mustard seed, ginger, coriander, and lemon juice adds flavor and spice to these stir-fried Spicy Green Beans with onions and carrots. Four servings can be prepared in less than 20 minutes from start to finish. This easy-to-make Spring Barley and Mushroom Pilaf recipe combines barley, lentils, asparagus, spinach, onions, and mushrooms, blended and stir-fried together with garlic, savory and white wine.
Stir fry is a quick cooking method where the food is fried and stirred constantly. Very little oil is used - just enough to keep it from sticking to the pan. Stir fry cooking makes for quick, easy meals with lots of flavor.
Stir Fry Basics
The key to good stir fry is cooking food quickly. In order to meet this goal, the pan must be pre-heated and the food must be cut into thin, small pieces. Traditionally, a wok – an Asian pan with sloping sides – is used for stir frying. However, you may also stir fry in a skillet that’s at least 10 inches across. In addition, you’ll need a wooden spoon or spatula with a long handle.
Preparing the Food
Before cooking begins, it’s important to prep all the food. Because cooking is fast, you’ll have no time to prep food once you begin.
Cook any rice, pasta, or beans first. Next, prepare any sauces. Then slice vegetables, meat, poultry, or fish into thin slices. For quick, even cooking, all the food should be approximately the same size. Lay all the ingredients out near the wok or pan so you can grab them quickly.
How to Stir Fry
Add oil to the pan; most recipes call for 2 to 3 tablespoons. If using a wok, be sure to tilt and lift it so the oil covers the sides as well as the bottom of the pan. Preheat the pan over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Run one hand under some water and flick a tiny amount of liquid at the pan. If the water sizzles, the pan is fully preheated.
Add the ingredients, as called for in the recipe. If necessary, add oil in small amounts to prevent the food from sticking to the pan. Generally, garlic, onion, ginger, and other aromatic foods are added to the pan first and cooked for just 15 seconds or so. In order to keep them from burning, you might need to reduce the heat a little. Next, firmer vegetables (like carrots) are cooked, followed by less firm vegetables (like sprouts), and then fish, meat, or poultry. In order to brown meat, don’t stir it for a few seconds after introducing it to the pan.
It is vital to keep the food moving in the pan. Never stop stirring the ingredients, or they may burn. Use a spatula or spoon to lift and turn the pieces and once a food is finished cooking, remove it from the pan promptly. Don’t allow the pan to get too crowded, or the food won’t cook evenly. Work in batches, when needed.
The last step is usually to cook down the sauce. Just add it to the center of the pan and allow it to bubble, stirring constantly. Once the sauce is bubbly, return all the ingredients to the pan and stir until everything is well coated.
Sweet and Sour Pork Stir Fry
Stir-Fried Broccoli Chicken with Cashews
Spicy Shrimp Pasta
Crunchy Winter Salad
Spicy Green Beans
Spring Barley and Mushroom Pilaf
Want to see a different cooking technique, or recipes for a specific diet choice? See all the gourmet recipes and recipe videos at GourmetRecipe.com.