Hints on how to stir fry – Source document: Rhonda Parkinson, copyright 2001
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 bite-sized pieces.
5. Pre-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.
* Tip: See below chart for smoke point of different oils.
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. (Wet vegetables tend to steam and become to soft and soggy.)
15. Alternately, if the vegetables are too dry, try adding a few drops of water while stir-frying.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. Once the dish is completed, taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
19. Serve the stir-fried dish immediately.
20. 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. In Chinese Home Cooking, Helen Chen suggests starting to cook at medium-high heat and then adjusting the temperature up or down as needed. 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.
Source document: Journey of herbs and spices for the picky palates Easy Chinese Style Vegetables Stir-Fry.
Source document: Wikipedia Cooking Oil smoke point chart.
Almond oil 420°F 216°C
Avocado oil Refined 520°F 271°C
Canola oil Refined 400°F 204°C
Castor oil Refined 392°F 200°C
Coconut oil Extra Virgin (Unrefined) 350°F
Coconut oil Refined 450°F 232°C
Corn oil Unrefined 352°F 178°C
Corn oil Refined 450°F 232°C
Cottonseed oil 420°F 216°C
Flax seed oil Unrefined 225°F 107°C
Hazelnut oil 430°F 221°C
Hemp oil 330°F 165°C
Lard 370°F 188°C
Macadamia oil 413°F 210°C
Mustard oil 489°F 254°C
Olive oil Extra virgin 375°F
Olive oil Virgin 391°F 199°C
Olive oil, high quality Extra virgin 405°F
Peanut oil Refined 450°F 232°C
Rice bran oil 490°F 254°C
Safflower oil Refined 510°F 266°C
Sesame oil Semirefined 450°F 232°C
Soybean oil Refined 460°F 238°C
Sunflower oil Refined 440°F 227°C
Tea seed oil 485°F 252°C
Vegetable shortening 360°F 182°C
Walnut oil Semirefined 400°F 204°C
Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.
Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your Comment(s)