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03.28.2005

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stir-fry crazy how to stir-fry
by Yee-Fan Sun
| 1 2 3 4
continued from page 3

fire it up
With everything prepped and ready to go, it's time to get cooking. Get out your wok (preferably seasoned) and a sturdy spatula (wooden is best, although metal is fine too; avoid plastic as it can't withstand the high heat). Pull out your bottle of cooking oil as well. You'll want to use a mild/neutral-flavored oil -- peanut oil is traditional, but in my house, we stick with the healthier canola, sunflower or other vegetable oils.

I always stir-fry the meat separately, and first, to ensure that it cooks up to exactly the right still-juicy, not-dried-out stage. Heat up the dry wok over high heat for a couple of minutes, until it just begins to wisp smoke. Add a good amount of oil (for a lb of meat, I'd add maybe 2 Tbsp. of oil; more for larger quantities). Let the oil heat up for a minute or two, then gently slide in the marinated meat. Time to get stir-frying. Slide your spatula under the meat and lift it up, then toss the ingredients towards the sides of the wok. Repeat this motion constantly to keep the ingredients moving in the pan; this ensures that they cook quickly and evenly, and don't end up all stuck to the bottom of your pan. When the meat is just cooked through (pull out a piece and slice it in half to check for doneness), remove it from the wok using a slotted spoon. If there's excess oil, pour it out and reserve a tablespoon for cooking the veggies. Give the wok a quick swipe with a thickly-wadded paper towel (so as not to burn yourself) to remove any burned or caked-on bits of food, and return it to the stove.

Heat up the wok over high heat, and add either the reserved tablespoon of cooking oil, or fresh oil if there wasn't any extra from cooking the meat. Add the aromatic ingredients first -- we're talking about your garlic, ginger, scallions, chili peppers all the flavor-packed little ingredients. Stir-fry for 30 seconds to a minute, until you can smell their aroma. If you're using onions, add them now and continue cooking for another minute or two. At this point, you're ready to add your other veggies. Start with ingredients that will take longer to cook -- stuff like green beans, asparagus, peppers, sturdy greens and carrots, for instance. Cook them for a bit, then gradually add in the quicker-cooking ingredients (things like bean sprouts, peas and spinach). As with cooking the meat, be sure to keep stirring and tossing the ingredients once they go in the pan; dig in with gusto, and stir-fry with abandon. Once all the veggies are in the wok and getting close to properly cooked -- for the most part, you want ingredients just-tender and still crisp, to retain their color and distinct individual flavors -- add in the meat and any pre-cooked veggies, and give it a good toss around. Pour in the sauce, adding JUST enough to give the dish a light coating of flavor, and cook for another minute or two.

Slide the finished dish onto a platter, serve with plenty of steamed white rice, and dig in with your chopsticks!

o
check out these related articles: 
wok this way
| the chinese pantry | stir-fried chicken with broccoli | chinese broccoli with oyster sauce | yu hsiang eggplant | ma po tofu | stir-fried udon noodles

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