If you have ever been to an Asian restaurant, chances are the dishes you ate were cooked through stir-frying. Stir-frying is a method of cooking that involves tossing food items in a special pan called a wok. Not only does it make dishes taste better, but it also allows you to limit oil use. Yes, this way of cooking doesn’t need much oil at all. It’s different from deep-frying which usually makes foods greasy. Since it uses high-heat, stir-frying cooks food fast. You don’t have to wait long until your food is ready.
Since the food items are usually fried in a pan for just a few minutes, they should’ve been prepared before the cooking begins. There’s no time to cut and do other preparation when the oil has been poured into the pan. Preparation should be done in advance. Just cut the food items into small pieces. They should be small enough, so that they cook evenly. Meat needs to be chopped small as well because it takes longer to cook compared to vegetables.
All those cut pieces should be submerged in the water before they’re added to the pan. Water helps make them tender faster. If they’re still dry once the frying begins, you can add some water into the pan. Although stir-frying doesn’t use much oil, it’s still necessary. If you skip oil, then it will be more like boiling or steaming. Oil actually affects the texture of the food. Besides, it’s important to prevent food from sticking, which is normal when cooking with a wok.
Oils for stir-frying
This method of cooking doesn’t need special oil. However, choosing the right oil is important as different oils have different smoke points. Some oils are more tolerant to high heat thanks to their higher smoke points. Keep in mind that stir-frying requires high heat, which means it will raise oil temperature very quickly. Once oil has reached its smoke point, it will start to become unhealthy.
For this reason, you should make sure that the oil you use for cooking has a relatively high smoke point. All oils will deteriorate as they’re exposed to high heat, but some have greater tolerance to high temperatures. Extra virgin oil for instance, isn’t appropriate for this because it smokes very quickly.
Fortunately, there is a refined version which is specifically made for sautéing and frying. It usually has a higher smoke point. Apart from olive oil, other alternatives you can try include corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, canola oil, and sunflower oil. See, there are many actually. They all have nutritional profiles, so you should read more about all these oils before purchasing one.
There are a few ingredients you have to prepare before stir-frying. Besides oil, you must also prepare protein. It can be chicken, beef, or another meat. Adding chopped meat is not just for the nutrients, but also for flavoring. The meat should be finely ground, so that it can cook quickly. Another important ingredient is vegetables.
They should also be cut small and evenly. In addition to the main ingredients, you will also need aromatics or spices to improve the taste of the dish. Lemongrass, ginger, and garlic are some aromatics commonly used for cooking. Don’t forget to add different kinds of sauce to make it more delicious.