Stir-frying is an ancient Chinese cooking technique. It was developed by the ancient Chinese who developed an ingenuous way of cooking their meals especially in times of calamity like droughts where food and oils were severely rationed.
Stir-frying has now become an art and the Chinese have perfected this cooking method. They have been able to come out with culinary masterpieces, making the food tasty, textured and piquant.
Indian Chinese uses a lot of chillies in its cooking. Chicken Manchurian is an Indo-Chinese concept and does not find a place in the authentic Chinese menu. Indian Chinese is rarely stir-fried.
It uses a fair amount of oil, chillies and sauces to suit the Indian palate. Monosodium Glutamate is used in abundance to enhance the flavour of the recipe. All of these are extremely unhealthy in the long run.
Original Stir-Frying uses lots of vegetables, little oil and less meat making it a healthy ad useful tool for the weight conscious. So master this cooking technique with these basic tips and incorporate it as a part of your Chinese menu.
The oil that you use to stir- fry should have a high smoking point. This allows the oil to be heated up without the fatty acids breaking down. The Chinese traditionally used peanut oil but safflower oil and canola oil are also good options for stir-frying. Sesame oil has a low smoking point and should not be used.
Ideally you should use a Chinese cast-iron wok for stir-frying but a stainless steel pan too works just as well. Never use non-stick pans. Allow the pan to heat sufficiently before putting the oil. Test the heat of the pan by putting a few drops of water. The water will sizzle and quickly evaporate.
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Learn how to control the heat before stir-frying. When you put in the oil, turn down the heat, otherwise the oil will quickly smoke and your vegetables will burn in no time.
The veggies and other ingredients should always sizzle when you are stir-frying. Keep stirring all the time. This will allow the vegetables to cook without burning. If you don’t hear the sizzling sounds, it means that the pan has lost its heat.
Don’t Add Too Much
Never crowd the pan. The quantities of the vegetables should just be enough to allow even cooking. Too many vegetables will lead to over-cooking or uneven cooking. A good way of testing this is to see whether all you veggies touch the bottom of the pan.
For stir-frying you need some basic ingredients like vinegar, rice wine, raisin sauce, hoisin sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce in vegetarian and non vegetarian varieties.
Cutting the Veggies
Cut all the veggies and meat into uniform pieces for even cooking. Before you start to cook, keep veggies chopped, washed, cut and measured so as to save cooking time.
Categorize all the veggies into hard and soft. Always add the veggies that are hard first into the pan so that they get the time to cook. Blanch the hard vegetables so that they are easier to cook.
Eat your stir fries when they are hot . Otherwise they tend to absorb a lot of moisture from the air and become soggy. Practice this art of cooking and the meals you make for your family will be relished and appreciated.
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