Stir-frying is a great way to bring fresh meals to your table fast. These tips will have you stir-frying up sparkling, veggie-chocked dishes like a pro.
Because stir-fried dishes usually combine lots of vegetables and lean cuts of meats -- and you can use less meat, thanks to all those veggies -- this style of cooking can fit into your aim to eat healthfully.
What Is Stir-Frying?
To stir-fry is to quickly cook small, uniform pieces of food in a little hot oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. It is often used in Asian cooking and for cooking vegetables, as it helps the veggies retain their color, crunch, and nutrients.
If you do a lot of stir-frying, you might want to invest in a wok, the traditional round-bottom pan used in Chinese cooking. Because most Americans cook over stoves (rather than fires), woks sold in this country usually have flat bottoms. If they have rounded bottoms, they come with a metal ring to allow you to set the wok over a gas burner.
If you don't have a wok, you can use a skillet. However, the wok has one major advantage: The gentle, sloping sides of the pan allow you to cook in stages. The sides serve as a resting place to get ingredients up and out of the hot spot (at the bottom of the pan) so nothing gets overcooked.
Some ingredients are better suited to the stir-frying technique than others. Here's a rundown, including how much of each ingredient to use if you're making four main-dish servings.
Before you start to cook, prepare all your ingredients and place them in bowls near your cooktop.
How to Stir-Fry a Main Dish
Many stir-fry recipes for main dishes follow a general pattern, and once you key into this pattern, it's easy to turn whatever produce looks its freshest best at the market (or whatever produce you happen to have on hand) into a satisfying main dish, with or without meat.
If you wish to stir-fry vegetables for a side dish, follow these tips.
Try colorful and spicy Szechwan Beef Stir-Fry. It's ready in just 40 minutes.