- June 20, 2006 at 7:06 pm #236904
—Stir-Fry Tips in Chinese Cuisine —-
1. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need ahead of time.
2. Make sure all the food is cut according to directions
before you start. Never try to prepare food while stir-frying.
3. For even cooking, cut all the ingredients the same size.
4. If not following a recipe, cut all the ingredients into
5. Heat the wok on medium-high to high heat for at least
a minute before adding oil. (You may want to skip this step
if you have a nonstick pan – it can damage the coating.)
6. Add the oil (up to 2 to 3 tablespoons depending on the dish;
peanut, canola or other vegetable oils are good) drizzling it
so that it coats both the sides and the bottom of the wok.
The oil heats faster this way.
7. Before adding other ingredients, season the oil by cooking
a few pieces of garlic and ginger. (Note: you may want to
reduce the heat at this point to keep them from burning).
8. If the recipe calls for meat and vegetables, cook the meat first
and then set it aside. Add the meat back when the vegetables
are almost cooked. This ensures that the meat is not overcooked,
and that the meat and vegetables retain their individual flavors.
9. Meat is normally stir-fried on high heat to seal in the
juices (individual recipes can differ).
10. Never add more than a cup of meat at a time to the wok.
Lay the meat out flat to cook.
11. Remove the meat from the wok when it changes color –
for example the redness in the beef is gone. At this point
the meat is approximately 80 percent cooked.
12. 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
such as bok choy.
13. If you’re uncertain about the order in which to stir-fry
vegetables, the simplest solution is to stir-fry them
separately, one at a time.
14. If possible, wash the vegetables ahead of time to
ensure that they have drained and are not too wet.
15. Alternately, if the vegetables are too dry, try
adding a few drops of water while stir-frying.
17. When stir-frying meat, wait a few seconds before tossing
so that it has a chance to brown; when stir-frying vegetables,
begin moving them immediately.
18. When adding sauce to vegetables and/or meat, form a “well”
in the middle by pushing the ingredients up the sides of the wok.
Add the sauce in the middle and stir to thicken before
combining with the other ingredients.
19. Once the dish is completed, taste and adjust seasonings
20. 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. I suggest starting to cook
at medium-high heat and then adjusting the temperature up or down
as needed on your model of stove. Another option is to have
a second burner set on medium heat that you can quickly move
the wok to if you feel the food is cooking too fast.
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