Did you know that stir-frying originated from China, presumably from the Han Dynasty? Compared to traditional meat and potato meals with vegetables on the side, stir-fries are not only nutritious and delicious, their colors appeal greatly to the eye and most only require minutes to whip up. It's a tasty way to get more vegetables on your plate too.
When cooking stir-fried meals at home, take these pointers to heart.
1. Right-size your ingredients.
In stir-fries, ingredients are cut into smaller pieces – shredded, diced or stripped.
If you’re planning to have a stir-fried dish or more this week, one time-saving tip is to prepare the veggies and meat in advance, wrap them up separately and store them in your fridge. So when it’s stir-fry time, you only have to thaw and cook.
2. Know the cooking sequence.
Always follow this basic stir-frying rule: ingredients that require longer cooking time are added first and those that cook easily are put in at the last minute.
3. The sauce is an important element in stir-frying.
Various kinds of liquids can be used as stir-fry sauce –wines, soy and oyster sauce, meat glaze, and others. The ratio of the liquid to the dry items in stir-fries are generally lesser and thicker compared to sautéed fares. You can use a small amount of cornstarch or rice flour diluted in an equally small amount of water as a thickening agent.
4. Stirring in high heat.
There’s a reason behind the stir-fry’s name – stirring, coupled with high heat, is an important component to its success. Cooking the dish requires high heat with the ingredients stirred constantly. Meat should be well-cooked while the vegetables crisp and savory.
There’s beauty and adventure in mixing-and-matching ingredients for your stir-fry. For more planned stir-fry meals, you can follow these easy recipes from The Spruce Eats.
Stay true to stir-fry’s Chinese roots by using a wok when cooking your dishes. Advantages to using one are:
Heat distribution is more even.
Cooking requires lesser oil.