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Methods & Techniques

How To Cook a Simple But Tasty Stir-fry

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Here is an example of one of my typical stir-fry’s. The boys were round and were hungry. I had not planned to cook, but knocked this up using what I had in the fridge and cupboard. I did not have ginger – usually essential in an oriental stir fry. You’re bound to be missing something – but don’t let that stop you.

Stir-frying is all about mise en place. In other words preparing everything before cooking. Chop all the ingredients and set aside in bowls.

NB: I use ground nut oil for all oriental stir frying. My essential tools are a sharp knife, non-stick wok with lid, a silicon spatula and lots of bowls.

The first stage of the process is to prepare all ingredients mise en place.

I often have ham hock in the fridge – it’s very flexible, I also had leftover easy cook rice, which is great for stir-frying.

As I cook on a normal stove – without the benefit of the extremely high heat of dedicated stir-fry burners – I have developed my own strategy for stir-frying:

Use a non-stick work, par boil some vegetables, use the lid on the wok to steam some ingredients, cook individual ingredients in small amounts and in separate stages and decant into bowls.

The broccoli and the cabbage are par boiled – for just one minute. The garlic and chilli is stir-fried and set aside. The onions are stir-fried for 5 minutes and then the carrots and courgette are added and stir-fried for a further five minutes. The garlic, and chilli are then added with the addition of Shoaxing wine and stock and allowed to steam with the lid on the wok for a few minutes. This is then decanted into a bowl.

I add a little more oil to the wok for the next batch…

The steamed vegetables are flavoured with light soy sauce and oyster sauce, and cooked for 30 seconds. They are then put aside in a bowl. I stir-fried the ham until turning brown and then added the vegetables and stirred.

This then was put in a bowl, and the wok made ready for the remaining stir-frying.

You will need to judge the relative cooking times of vegetables – here I am frying the broccoli for a couple of minutes and then adding the cabbage for just one minute. The rice is stir-fried thoroughly – it needs to be thoroughly re-heated if leftover.  The noodles were boiled, drained and mixed with a little sesame oil. These are then added to the rice and stir fried. Finally the remaining ingredients are added to the wok and heated through.

Finish with a drizzle of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Add chopped coriander if you have some (I didn’t). Serve with soy sauce.

The boys loved it and chowed-down!

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