My Stir-Fry Truths

If you’ve ever made a stir-fry, you know that it’s easy and quick and has great potential to be healthy. There are a few things, if applied, will make your stir-fries better. Or at least they did mine. These are my personal stir-fry truths, learned by hanging out with my mom in the kitchen over the years, as well as cooking on my own.

  1. Don’t be afraid to use a non-stick wok. Yes, I know, it goes against most stir-fry advice out there. And it is true that stainless steel holds a high heat than nonstick. I’m not arguing with that. But for most everyday uses, you don’t need super high heat anyways. As a bonus, it makes clean up so much easier. (Ever scrubbed that stubborn layer of
    “fried-on” rice?)
  2. Do use a wok though. It makes the stirring part of the stir-fry easier.
  3. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try out new combinations of meats and vegetables and aromatics. You never know what tastes good to you until you’ve tasted it.
  4. But do learn the classic combinations. They don’t fail. Try garlic broccoli, celery with dried shrimp, tofu with Chinese cabbage, eggplant in fish sauce (which has nothing to do with fish), etc.
  5. Use aromatics! Very important! They go a long way to flavouring your dishes! Green onions go with almost everything. Ginger is good with meats and seafoods – it removes the unwanted “fishiness” or “xing” as Chinese people know it. Garlic is a wonder and your gift to a stir-fry, makes everything tastier. (And good for you too!)
  6. Heat the oil until hot, so hot that foods sizzle and spatter and spit. Just keep your face and arms out of the way. (The add oil to hot pan rule applies here too.)
  7. Go easy on the oil, a couple tablespoons or less is plenty for vegetables. Meats require a tad bit more. Make it healthy! You will be happier too.
  8. Cook the meat and veggies separately in most cases. This avoids overcooking either.
  9. Don’t be afraid to add a little bit of water if foods are burning. China doesn’t have conveniently packaged chicken stock when my mom learned to cook so I didn’t learn to use it either. I find that chicken stock sometimes interferes with the flavours because stir-fries typically uses simple flavours. Cover to cook faster if needed.
  10. Go easy on the soy sauce. It doesn’t belong in every dish.

These are the main things that I go by. I hope that they will help you. Stir away! If you prep food ahead of time, i.e. chopping veggies and slicing meats, which come in handy on the nights when you came home late, you can give Rachael Ray a run for her money on the 30 minute dinner!


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