|A Colourfull stirfry!|
Monday, June 27, 2011
Why don’t you ….. stir fry!!! (the longer version of the shorter #Twecipe AKA Twitter Recipe!)
When worries about health are a concern in the monsoons and raw salads are avoided, stirfries offer the perfect way to get a veggie fix. But that stirfries are a favorite way for me to do quick nutritious tasty meals in a jiffy. In fact, they are a good choice for weeknight dinners, since they can easily comprise all the food groups and require no major preparation or washing up. Granted a little cutting is involved but I find certain contentment had in chopping vegetables just so while the kids squabble outside and FM plays. Get the balance of flavours right along with cooking times and it is hard to go wrong.
Stir-frying is an Asian method of cooking thinly sliced meat and vegetables so that the inherent textures and flavors of the ingredients are retained, typically involving a quick sauté over high heat, sometimes concluding with a brief steaming in a flavored sauce. And while not rocket science, there are a few things one should keep in mind to get tasty results. Stirfries are usually cooked in woks in oriental cuisine, but until you are inspired enough to invest in a proper wok, a medium sized shallow lightweight Kadhai will do just as well because it is similar to a wok in design (with a combination of a certain depth that is hotter and sloping sides that are cooler) allowing one to move ingredients away from the hot centre as they are cooked. (although it is advisable to invest in a quality nonstick wok at some time in your stir frying career)
It is also a good idea to have everything you need ready before you begin. Stir-frying needs to be fast, it won’t allow for time to stop and chop broccoli while the onion is cooking. Cut all your vegetables and meats and prepare your sauce in advance. Vegetables and meats should be approximately the same size (bite sized is best) since everything must be small enough to cook through equally and without burning. When your wok is really hot add oil (I use rice bran oil which has a low flash point). When your oil is hot, add the aromatics that will flavour it, such as ginger and garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds until their aroma is released. Then add your other ingredients stagger their addition according to the length of their cooking time. Ideally start with any meats, stir-fry until almost done, then remove set aside. (Add back at the end, so the meat cooks fully but does not dry out.) Then add harder vegetables like baby corn and carrots, stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then add vegetables like beans, onions and others. Broccoli florets, peppers and greens which require a minimum of cooking time can be added at the end and briefly cooked or just steamed. You do need to exercise a little judgment here - you are aiming for crunchy but cooked vegetables - so at this point if you think they need just a little more cooking time then just continue to stir fry but if you think they are more raw than cooked, cover and steam until done. Practice the basic technique of lifting under the food in the wok with a spatula or other flat utensil and moving it to the side.
The sauce would ideally go in when the ingredients are two-thirds cooked. My foolproof recipe for a stir-fry sauce that always works is 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tbsp. water, 1 tbsp. plain or rice vinegar, 1 tbsp. dry sherry, a pinch of sugar, 1 stock cube and 2 tsp. of chili garlic sauce. You can beat in 1 tsp. corn flour as a thickener if you want.
For delicious stir fried chicken and vegetables Chinese style stir together 1 tbsp corn flour, 1 cup stock, 1 tsp soy sauce and 1 tsp ginger –garlic in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside. In wok heat 1 tsp oil add 500 gms. chicken in batches and stir fry until browned, remove and set aside. Now in same skillet, heat 1 tsp of oil, add 4 cups assorted vegetables with lots of finely chopped garlic and stir fry until tender but crunchy. Reduce heat to medium and add reserved sauce mixture, toss constantly until thickened and add reserved chicken. Toss well and serve hot over hot steamed rice. Serves 4.
Stir fries needn’t always be oriental, try an Italian style stir fry, combine 1 tbsp oregano, salt and pepper to taste, 1 stock cube and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl and set aside. Heat one tbsp butter with 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat and add 250 gms. chicken, onions and garlic and stir fry for 2 minutes, or until meat is almost cooked. Add 1 cup of assorted colored capsicum cut into chunks and 4 cups cooked pasta. Add sauce and toss well. Serve with Garlic bread.
I also love to do a tropical seafood stir fry when I find good prawns; Combine 1 cup pineapple juice, 1 cup water, salt, a tbsp of grated ginger, 1 tbsp vinegar, crushed pepper, and 1 tbsp corn flour and set aside. Heat oil, add 250 gms small prawns until pink, (about 3 minutes), remove and set aside. In the same pan, simmer 1 cup hot water; add a cup each of broccoli and red bell pepper. Cover and cook until colors are bright and vegetables are crunchy. Add sauce mix, toss well until thickened add cooked shrimp and 1 cup pineapple chunks mix well. Sprinkle with almonds and serve with rice.
Formula - Oil+flavourings+meat(sauté and remove)+vegetables+sauce
Gyan and links
Eating out - stirfries are a healthy fibre filled options to ask for at oriental restaurants also called Asian woks and places lik eAll stir fry are where you will find them. As for less oil of water stirfrying.
Step by Step Twecipe as tweeted - Why don’t you ….. stir fry!!!
1. Have everything ready before u begin. Stir-frying needs to be fast, it won’t allow for chopping broccoli while the onion’s cooking!
2. Cut vegs & meats and prepare sauce in advance.
3. Vegetables and meats should be cut to approximately the same bite size since everything must be small enough to cook through equally and without burning.
4. Heat your wok/kadai till it is really hot. Add oil (I use rice bran oil which has a low flash point).
5. When your oil is hot, add aromatics that will flvr dish. pepper ginger & garlic since its the monsoon or spices. STfry for a few seconds.
6. Then add your other ingredients staggering their addition according to the length of their cooking time.
7. Ideally start with any meats, stir-fry until almost done, remove and reserve. (Add back at the end, so the meat cooks fully but does not dry out.)
8. Add hardier vegetables like baby corn and carrots, stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then add softer vegetables like beans, onions and others.
9. The trick with stirfrying is that the moisture from vegetables evaporates as soon as it is released so vegs are crunchy but tender
10. Vegetables like Broccoli florets, capsicums & greens that require a minimal cooking can be added at the end and briefly cooked or just steamed.
11. Practice the basic technique of lifting under the food in the wok with a spatula or other flat utensil and moving it to the side.
12. Your sauce would ideally go in when the ingredients are two-thirds cooked.
13. You do need to exercise a little judgment here - you are aiming for crunchy but cooked vegetables.
14. At this point if you think they need just a little more cooking time then continue to stir fry but if you think they are more, raw than cooked, add stock cover and steam until done.