Stir Fry – 10 easy tricks
Making Stir Fry is a quick way to provide a nutritious meal in moments. Preparation is everything but don’t let that throw you. It is a time to chat with friends & family or just a moment of meditation with yourself. If time is of the essence then prepare before your week comes: Chop, slice, julienne and pop both veg and meat into takeaway containers. Home from work and the Prep is done for you.
Here are Harvest Hub 10 tricks we’d like to share.
There are a few tricks to making sensational stir fries:
- Timing – start your rice first
- Fresh ingredients, sliced up and ready to fry – go local Sydney Basin produce
- Alter cooking times for each ingredient
- Cook any meat first and remove it
- If you’re using tofu use a firm tofu
- Good quality condiments- soy sauce, sesame oil
- Pre-prepare by toasting nuts
- Pre-making omelette strips
- Oil in pan hot to start
- Start with a flavouring base
Rice on first
Decide on noodles or rice and begin cooking your noodles or rice before you start cooking your stir fry. If you can use a rice steamer. A tip is to put vegetable stock into your rice water to flavour it.
Alter cooking times for each ingredient.
Think hard and soft vegetables. Prepare all of them. Sliced up and ready to go. Carrots take longer than red capsicums so put the julienned carrots in before the finely sliced capsicums. Easiest thing to do is line them up in order of frying.
Meat first then vegetables
Cook any meat first and remove it – it will be returned to the pan to heat through at the very end of the stir fry process. You can also marinate the meat beforehand and save the marinade to use as your stir fry sauce.
If you’re using tofu use a firm tofu and if you’ve time to marinate early do so. It’s good marinated in:
- 2 tbs of honey,
- 2 tbs sesame oil
- 3 tbs of soy sauce
- crushed garlic
- grated ginger.
- Sliced chilli, deseeded (optional)
Add fresh sliced chilli with the seeds kept if you really like it hot. (You can wear gloves while slicing the chilli so the heat doesn’t transfer to your eyes or mouth or those of a pet or child.)
Toast them for a couple of minutes in a dry pan. You can also brown sesame seeds in this way.
Crack eggs into bowl, a little salt, whisk with fork. Into a hot wok or frypan. Cook. take out and place on board and slice into strips.
Cut up everything in advance then orchestrate the dish with finesse. Making stir fry is balletic and you can move beautifully while cooking even if you’ve not got a musical bone in your body.
You want a hot wok with a good high temperature oil (eg: virgin cold pressed coconut oil). Canola oil or peanut oil are also good but you can start a lifelong romance with the flavour coconut oil imparts.
When your oil is hot start frying:
Any meat (in its marinade if you have made one). Remove to a separate large plate when cooked. If you’ve marinated the tofu put it in to brown a little. Add its sauce to the stir fry at a later stage.
Then add a little more oil and the Flavouring first. Onion and garlic. Onion slices (peel an onion and depending on its size slice in half and half again until you’ve 8-16 segments). These will fall apart and caramelise as you fry them. A clove of garlic or two or three if you love garlic. Chop into small pieces. If you have no time buy a bottle of fresh crushed garlic and spoon it in.
Any or none of:
Broccoli florets, carrots julienned, cauliflower florets, Kale stems sliced in 2cm segments, 1cm cubes of eggplant, pumpkin or sweet potato – these are all hard(ish) vegetables.
As they cook make sure they have some room around them – otherwise they’ll steam rather than fry and soggy stir fry while still yum will not do.
Also allow them to sit in the pan or wok for a minute before moving them to enhance flavour. Any spatula or wooden spoon is good to use to stir the ingredients HINT: if your pan’s non-stick don’t use metal.
Sliced well washed buk choi. First the denser slices of stem and then the leaves. If the leaf is small enough there’s no need to chop it but if it’s not mouth sized slice it so it’s small enough to eat.
Other greens can go in at this point and any of:
Julienned or thinly sliced rounds of zucchini, slices of pre-prepared omelette, capsicums.
Don’t overcook but rather undercook. Remember the vegetables continue to cook after you take them off the heat.
To see if your veg is done, taste it. You want the colours bright and a crisp texture.
When the stir fry is mostly done add you very more finely chopped garlic and grated ginger at this last stage also spring onion greens (finely sliced) and chopped coriander stems and leaves. (Remember to keep a few leaves back for a garnish). Also add the soy sauce and any nuts and seeds and the omelette strips. Return any meat to the wok or pan.
Once you can smell the garlic and the ginger serve up on a bed of rice or noodles. Add a leaf or two of the coriander. Sigh, take a photo and send it to us as you’ve completed the dish.