A Stir fry seals in delicious flavours quickly, takes very little time to cook and best of all you can prepare vegetables and meat the night before. Often we cook in the sauce. Here is a way to get great meat and veg without boiling it in the sauce.
First use a large work.The key to stir fry is to fry not to boil, braise or steam. How many times have you had the veg and meat boiling in a sauce in the frypan or wok?
Preparing your wok or frypan is important. Make sure it has been seasoned (wipe oil over it and leave on a high heat. This leaves a lining on the pan). Leave this lining on the pan and not scrub it off. Then most importantly, always super heat the pan before you cook otherwise you end up braising the food – this is not stir fry.
1. The aromatics (garlic, ginger, chilli and so on);
2. Vegetables have all cut up;
4. Cornstarch (1/2 tablespoon with water into cream to thicken sauce);
5. Meat lightly freeze then cut to size – slivers; and
6. Noodles or rice precook and heat up.
Meat – to get a Crispy Meat Cover – coat it in baking soda and let sit 30 minutes in fridge. Wash off soda and roll in cornstarch. Then stir fry, add vegetables and add sauce last.
Otherwise you can marinate the meat beforehand. If you ever need to tenderize meat (using a cheaper cut) then pop it in a bowl with fresh pineapple juice no more than 2 hours (check after 1 hour) or the meat will turn to mush. The natural enzyme, bromelin, will break down the protein.
The other thing to consider is: cook hard vegetables first then soft ones. Cook in batches and not to do all at once. Cook meat on its own and set aside.
Then the absolute secret? The sauces.
How to stir fry without a wok
Use a large nonstick pan with sloped edges of a cast-iron frypan. The heavier the pan the more even the cooking. But make the pan a large one as surface area is important to move the vegetables around. The aim is not to overcook and to cook in batches and then put it together at the end.
Use different oils – olive, peanut, sesame when cooking vegetables, meat.
Prepare vegetables: Cut vegetables into lengths and thin eg: carrots and celery. For visual dynamics cut some longwise into circles eg: zucchini. Use onion, garlic first and fry up in hot oil. Test oil ready with a drop of water which sizzles.
Add vegetables first that take longest to cook carrots, broccoli then add soft ones – sugar snaps, celery and so on. Last add bok choi (Chinese vegetables) Hint: Did you know you can use lettuce. Try iceberg, cos.These are done with quick turns in the pan. Set aside.
Prepare meat: by cutting into thin strips, not too long. If using chopsticks just enough to grab and fit into mouth. Excellent meats are rump and sirloin. Cook meat separately and quickly. Set aside.
Steam rice or cook noodles.
Bean sprouts add to mix last and stir through.
Then either serve in bowls separately or combine all three. Use tongs to combine vegetables and meat into noodles. Use Oyster sauce or soya last and move it through the mix.
If serving separately, use different sauces ie: Oyster, soya, blackbean, and sweet chilli. Can use a dollop of curry in onion/garlic, or chilli, or Thai flavour (palm sugar, vinegar, chilli, garlic, oil, coriander).
Stir fry Sauce – 2 tbs soya sauce, 2 tbs rice wine or dry sherry, 1 tbs of cornflour. Simmer sauce until thickens then pour on vegetables.
So in Summary: Ten Tips for Stir Fry
1. Big surface area to cook â Large Wok;
2. Season pan;
3. Make it hot before cooking;
4. Prepare everything before you cook;
5. Cook hard veg first;
6. Cook meat separately;
7. Put together;
8. Add sauce last;
9. Undercook as it will continue to cook after; and
10.Have rice or noodles ready then heat up.