Monday, June 22, 2009

Stir-fry Vege


When I learned how to cook as a child, Mom taught me how to stir fry first. This is really the simplest way of learning cooking. Sometimes, if we don't have time, we just stir fry whatever ingredients that were left in the fridge. :p

Stir frying is used to describe two fast cooking techniques: chǎo (炒) and bào (爆). Cantonese restaurant patrons judge a chef's ability to perform stir frying by the "wok hei" produced in the food. When food is stir-fried properly in high heat with garlic, it has a subtle smoky fragrance, i.e. the "wok hei". This in turn is believed to display their ability to bring out the "qi" of the wok.

Firstly, a wok is heated to a high temperature. A small amount of cooking oil is then poured down the side of the wok (hot wok, cold oil), followed by dry seasonings (such as ginger and garlic), then at the first moment the seasonings can be smelled, meats are added. Once the meat is seared, vegetables along with liquid ingredients (a combinations of soy sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, wine, salt, sugar, and cornstarch) are added. The wok then may be covered for a moment so the water in the liquid ingredients can warm up the new ingredients as it steams off.
To keep the meat juicy, usually a cook would take the seared meat out before vegetables are added, and put the meat back right before vegetables are done. In some dishes, or if the cooking conditions are inadequate, different components may be stir fried separately before being combined in the final dish.
Make sure that your vegetables and meats are all cut approximately the same size - bite size, as a matter of fact. Stir-frying uses high heat, so pieces must be small enough to cook through without burning.

Learn the different cooking times of meats and vegetables. You'll need to stagger additions to the stir-fry according to how long they take to cook. For example, carrots need more time to cook than some vegetables like Bak Choi and peppers.

Don’t forget to STIR.

Ingredients used here are very simple: prawn, broccoli and carrot.

For the flavour, I used finely chopped garlic, a few slices of ginger, 1/2 tbsp Korean bean paste, some water, and soy sauce.

Easy right? :)

8 comments:

Dora said...

This is certainly a healthy dish with broccoli and carrot as the main ingredients! I love it!

Angie's Recipes said...

A combination of broccoli and seafood is a real treat!

Pei-Lin said...

Hey! A great post with superb details about (Cantonese) stir frying! Frankly, I've been seeing some angmoh friends "stir frying" in the absolute way!!! OMG! I can't believe they still tell me in my face that they ARE "stir frying!!" Let me give you a few examples:

1) They always cut their meat into super big chunks and still think that it's not too big!!! *Faint*

2) Use super gentle low heat while "stir frying" ... In the end, it becomes more like braising ... =.="

3) Think that every stir-fried dish must have garlic, ginger and onions, which for me, it's an overplay and lack of understanding of ingredients!!

4) Think that all stir-fried dishes have to have oyster sauce and soy sauce together!!! There was once when I was making fried rice, that angmoh asked, "You're not adding soy sauce!?" This, to me, is a lack of understanding of our ingredients!!! *Sigh*

5) They "stir fry" in a slow motion, ultra-gentleman way ... as if they're tossing salads.

I can still go on and on ... I've told them that it's all wrong. Yet, they insisted that, "It's 'STIR FRYING!!!'" Looking back at the things I've listed above, I couldn't help but to sigh ...

homeladychef said...

Hi Dora: I simply love ALL vegetables. Hehe....

Angie's thanks!

Hi Pei Lin, Good to see you here! i think it takes time to know how to stir fry, even for myself, i had to stand beside and watch ppl stir before i can do it myself. hehe...

tigerfish said...

Easy and healthy :) nice....

Cindy Khor said...

i absolutely agree with u, stir frying is the simplest way of getting the food cook and i justs love the sound of spatula clashing the wok as well as the mix and match of sauces..

homeladychef said...

Hi tigerfish: I like you stir fry too. But you seldom stir fry these days hor? Never see your posting leh...

Hi Cindy: Yeah right! The sound of spatula clashing the wok is the sound of 'mummy' at home, when she's still alive and kicking, thus be able to cook for us... My mum no longer cook for me.

Jo said...

Looks great and nothing like a simple stir fry. Best part is you can practically add anything that is in the fridge.

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