Stir-Frying Basics

by on February 16th, 2014
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Go into a Chinese restaurant and take a good look at the variety of foods they offer at the buffet. They are not all stir-fried dishes. The Chinese, according to The Cooking Class Chinese Cookbook have many different techniques they use on a regular basis to prepare their foods. They traditionally use the stir-fry technique but they also use, deep-frying, braising, stewing, steaming, roasting, barbecuing and preserving methods on a regular basis.

So you are thinking about cooking a Chinese dish at home? Most of these techniques may be familiar to you if you have done alot of other cooking. Chinese cooking is different though. Preparing the food will take longer to do than the actual cooking. You should have all of the ingredients measured, prepared and ready to go before any cooking is started. Once cooking has begun, limit any distractions as the food will cook very quickly and you do not want it to burn.

Stir-frying, according to The Cooking Class Chinese Cookbook, was invented by the Chinese. It is the brisk cooking of small pieces of ingredients in a hot oil over an intense heat source for just a short amount of time. Most Chinese dishes only take a few minutes to cook–the prep work will take longer. While stir-frying you must keep the food in constant motion by stirring, that way all of the food will be cooked evenly.

When you are ready to attempt your first stir-fry (or Chinese) dish, make sure that you are completely organized and prepared before you start cooking. All of the ingredients should be measured, cleaned, chopped, sliced or whatever the recipe has instructed you to do. Remember the cooking process is very quick and you do not want to forget an ingredient and add it at the last minute. It will not have time to cook.

You will also be cooking over intense heat. A gas cooktop stove works best and you will get better results but you can use an electric cooktop stove if that is necessary.

Only use a vegetable oil. Do not use butter, olive oil, or shortening. Always follow the directions of the recipe and use the listed fat. Do not make exceptions. Butter, olive oil, etc is not recommended because they will heat up quickly and will burn your food. Vegetable oil is the best choice.

Always read the instructions and use the appropriate cookware, ingredients, and cooking methods listed for the best results. Once you get the hang of the recipe you can then start substituting and making the recipe your own to accomodate your taste.

Stir-frying is a great way to provide you and/or your family a quick meal. Most of the preparation can be done ahead of time and then all you have to do is cook it up.

Cooking Class Chinese Cookbook


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