Monday, June 18, 2012

Stir Frying in a Wok:

Stir Frying in a Wok
Photo by Mats Stafsang Einarsen

Ever since they have known about each other the French and the Chinese have had a great rivalry when it comes to cooking.  Both sides claim they have the best cooks in the world but there are great differences of the techniques that they use and the food they prepare.  Stirfry is one of those differences it is similar to sautéing but the technique is different.  The reason the Chinese develop stirfry is simple, they don't have much fuel.  Because of this lack of fuel they had to develop a method of cooking that was quick and didn't use much fuel.  The answer the Chinese came up with was stir frying.

In stirfry it is important to prepare all your food first by cutting it up into bite sized pieces so you can add it to the wok all at once.  The wok is already heated over a medium to high flame and three or four tablespoons full of vegetable oil have been added after the wok is been heated for about a minute.  Be sure to cover both the sides and bottom of the wok with oil.  Traditionally the Chinese have used peanut oil for this process, but you can substitute other oils like canola, olive oil, corn oil or other vegetable oils.

For the most part the Chinese cooks didn't work with recipes as we Westerners are used to doing.  The Chinese idea of food was anything they could lay their hands on that was edible including some things that we Westerners wouldn't even consider eating.  From this they developed one of the great cuisines of the world, and with that we’re ready to do some cooking.

The first thing you're going to have to do is gather the ingredients together keeping the meat separate from the vegetables.  So that the heat will be evenly distributed through your meal cut all the pieces approximately the same size so that they are all bite sized.

Get the cooking utensils together that should include a wok, a wooden stirfry paddle a large size pair of cooking chopsticks.  All of these utensils are available at a specialty shop that specializes in cooking utensils.

The chopsticks are optional you don't have to use them if you don't know how.

Heat your wok over at medium to high heat for about one minute and then drizzle some cooking oil into it so that you cover both the sides of the bottom of the wok.  Season the cooking oil be for use start cooking and some garlic or ginger root to the wok just to impair some flavor to the oil.  (You may need to reduce the heat at this point to keep the garlic or ginger from burning.)

First you cook the meat over a high heat so that you sear the surface of the meat to keep the natural juices into the meat.  After the meat is cooked set it aside, and go on cooking your vegetables.  He should never add more than a cup of meat to the wok at any time.  If your recipe calls for more than a cup of meat cook them in sections.  You should also lay the meat out in single layers of the wok.  Remove the meat from the wok when it changes color.  Most recipes indicate that you should cook the meat over a high flame but some recipes do vary.

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