Stir fry is a fast and healthy meal that is easy to cook, making it an favorite dish for many beginners. Anyone who is interested in cooking can start with a stir-fry for successful and delicious meals that can easily be prepared for two or even an entire family.
What is stir-fry? Stir-fry is a method of cooking meats and veggies in a frying pan or wok. It’s a wonderfully flexible dish that can be made either from easy recipes or whatever you have in your refrigerator. This makes it an excellent option when you haven’t had a chance to go grocery shopping yet, but still need to make a healthy dinner in a pinch. Traditionally, stir-frying is an Asian-style technique; however, you don’t have to exclusively use Asian ingredients to prepare a great-tasting dinner.
This method of cooking is considered to be very healthy because it calls for small portions of meat balanced out by a variety of vegetables. Stir-frying also allow you to cook in a way that retains the ingredients’ crunch, color and nutrients.
Cooking tips and tricks for preparing stir-fry While stir-fry is a simple and easy-to-prepare meal, a few pointers on whipping up the perfect stir-fry never hurt:
- Consider buying a wok. You may not feel eager to rush out and buy a wok for your first stir-frying attempt, but after your first couple tries with standard cooking ware, you may want to consider it. A wok is a traditional Chinese frying pan with sloped sides. Some foods in your stir-fry may need to be cooked at different rates and you can use the sloped sides to push these ingredients onto when they need to come off of the hottest part of the pan. This is especially helpful if you need to pre-cook items and then remove them from the flame until the meal is almost ready.
- Use tender, quick-frying meats or tofu. Meats such as chicken breast, shrimp, boneless pork or sirloin steak are all great for stir-frying. If the meat isn’t tender, the pieces will become tough and chewy from being cooked too fast. Maintaining a tender and juicy dish is a key component of stir-frying. If you have difficulty cooking meats like chicken that are prone to drying out, you can soak them in a marinating liquid for a few minutes.
- Cook meat in your frying pan or wok before adding vegetables. You want to make sure that the meat is thoroughly cooked, but you don’t want your vegetables to burn or turn to mush because they were overcooked. Fry the meat until it is almost completely done and then place your pieces along the side of your wok so that they are no longer directly above the heat source. If you are using a frying pan, put the meat on a plate and cover it. Add the meat back into the stir-fry once your veggies are almost finished. Not only will this prevent overcooked vegetables and unsafe meat temperatures, it also protects the veggies from being overwhelmed by the meat’s flavor.
- Try to chop the veggies in similar sizes to standardize the cook time. Larger vegetable chunks will take longer to fry than smaller slices, resulting in some of your stir-fry being either overcooked or undercooked.
- Stir-frying is a quick method, so don’t start cooking until you are ready. The beauty of a stir-fry is that you can cook a whole meal in very little time. Make sure all your ingredients are chopped and ready to go when you turn the stove on because you won’t have time to prepare them once you begin. You should also be cooking at a medium-high heat to start. Once you are comfortable with stir-frying, you can experiment with higher temperatures if you want.
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