Stir-frying is a relatively easy method of cooking but mastering a few important tricks will make a big difference in the final result. The best thing about this method of cooking is that it’s one of the most flexible meals anyone can prepare. You have the option to add in any combination of vegetables, meat or fish and you’ll be set. All you need to do is invest a little in the appropriate kitchen equipment and ingredients and some time to improve your techniques. This can take your stir-fry dish from acceptable to restaurant-like quality. Here are some tips to help you to make the ideal stir-fry.
• Choose a proper pan
When selecting the pan for your stir fry, a sauté pan or a wok works best. Remember that it will be easier to flip and toss the vegetables in the wok than any other kind of pan. The best thing to do is utilize a pan which gives you plenty of area to work. Don’t over-crowd the pan so that things constantly fly out while you stir it. Also, make sure you know about the material that the pan is made with. If it’s made using carbon steel, you must season it adequately. You should learn how to maintain and season your wok, ensuring it’s in great working order.
• Use utensils with long handles
Utensils with long handles, like a wooden spoon with a long handle or a wok spatula, works best to stir-fry food while it’s cooking. It’s the preferred option as stir-frying is usually done using high heat and utensils with long handles will help protect your hands by keeping them further away from direct heat.
• Know the type of oil to use
When stir-frying, it’s best to use oils with a high smoking point, meaning that the fats present in the oil can endure high-intensity heat without producing a lot of smoke and breaking down. Certain oils which have a relatively higher smoking point than others are corn oil, rice bran oil, sunflower oil and peanut oil.
Using a variety of fresh meats and vegetables for stir-fry dishes are recommended. It’s best to use good quality ingredients as it ensures that the final product is perfect. Use fresh and seasonal vegetables and organic meats to guarantee that you have ingredients with the most flavour.
• Cut the ingredients evenly
All cuts of vegetables and meats must be uniform in size. This will ensure that everything is cooked evenly and also helps your dish look pretty when you’re finished.
• Blot the vegetables dry
It’s important to use dry ingredients. If your meat hasn’t thawed out properly or the vegetables are wet, blot them completely dry. This helps stop avoidable splatter from the water droplets when contacting the high heat and oil suddenly. It also helps the vegetables sustain a crispy texture.
• Marinate the meats
Marinating the meats before they’re cooked ensures that the meat stays tender and doesn’t dry out in the heat. It also helps seal the flavour within the meat. You don’t necessarily have to marinate it for hours; a few minutes should be enough.
• Have all ingredients in their proper place
Make sure you have everything prepared when cooking. Have all the sauces mixed and all the ingredients in proper dishes within reach. Once you start cooking over heat, the different steps will happen really fast, so the best thing to do is to be ready.
• Keep the pan hot while cooking
Stir-frying typically involves a very tiny cooking time over very high heat. You can flick a few drops of water in the pan to check if it’s ready. Once you notice them sizzling and disappearing fairly quickly, that’s when you know the pan’s ready.
• Pour the sauces along the side of the pan
Usually, stir-fry dishes include mixing the sauces in towards the end of the cooking process. Pouring the sauces down the sides of the pan rather than in the middle is a good idea as it gradually adds something with a cooler temperature to the mix so it’s ready to eat.
Stir-frying is a quick way to cook something delicious. Once the pan is heated, resist the natural urge to multitask. Remember when working with high temperatures and quick cook times, timing is very important. Hence, you must be on full alert throughout the whole cooking process.