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Stir Fry Method

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I bought a new wok - which i love - so more stir frying. But I am weak on the fundamentals of asian cooking method and sometimes it trips me up.

My question is around the aromatics/flavourings - I have been told that GSG is the mire-poix of asian cooking - garlic, scallion and ginger - but how to use these at such high heats without burning them? My inclination is to start most dishes with a little oil and GSG.

Most dishes require you to stir-fry meat first - remove and then do veggies...add meat...then create sauce.

If i add garlic to hot wok and stir-fry on high heat (either with meat or veggies) it burns. If i were to add later on a reduced heat - veggies would get soggy and it does not permeat dish.

What is the fundamental technique?

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  1. I typically season the oil I am going to use by frying ginger and/or garlic prior to stir frying - I then will add additional. GSG as you call it when doing the vegetables -

    1 Reply
    1. re: weinstein5

      I go with the season the oil method, as well. I find it important so the garlic, ginger and spring onion flavour permeates the meat. I would then stir-fry the meat and take it out. Then stiry fry any veg. Add the meat back in and add any sauce. If it needs more ginger/garlic/onion, I add that at the same time so the these bits are barely cooked.

    2. I heat my wok till smoking and stir fry the meat first. Then I add the vegetables and the ginger and garlic. It's important to keep the food moving to prevent the garlic from burning and to make sure the wok is not overcrowded.

      1. There is a great article in the second to last issue of Cook's IIllustrated about Stir Frying Beef (I'm sure their technique would work with other meat).

        Basically, you brown the meat meat first, remove, then cook your veggies. When your veggies are just about finished, you clear a spot in the middle and put in the GSG. Let it cook for 20-30 seconds, until fragrant, then toss it with the rest of the veggies, add the reserved meat (and any juices), then add your ingredients for your sauce. Cook 30 seconds more to thicken your sauce, and you're done.

        I've done this twice in the past two weeks (my first two time stir-frying), and it turned out fantastic both times.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hater5000

          I second the CI article as a really good primer for stir fry. One very important thing to keep in mind is to get a much heat as possible and do not crowd the wok/pan. So use the highest burner you have on the highest heat you have; probably don't want to add all of the protein at once - if you start to get much moisture in the pan, you have moved to boiling (yuk).

          Of course CI does not recommend that you use a wok in the first place. You are cooking (most likely) on a flat burner surface. A wok (curved bottom) is meant to be used in pit and not on a flat surface.