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Apr 18, 2013 10:03 AM

Help with simple stir-frying?

I'm a pretty good home cook, but know very little about stir-frying, and am looking for a good book which will help me get started with simple & quick weeknight stir-frying. Any recommendation to help this beginner?

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    1. You know what?

      Stir-frying is better learned by watching than reading.

      I suggest you watch lessons on Youtube. I've done a prelim search for you.

      It's not that hard. Just like sex, the more you do it, the better you become at it and the more you enjoy it. It just takes a bit of practice and patience.

      Good luck.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        My stir fry is improving...wonder if YouTube can improve technique in in the latter category! ;-)

      2. Stir-frying to the Edge of the Sky by Grace Young. Get a carbon steel wok (flat bottomed for good stability) it will season well and can take the heat

        Another thing you need to keep in mind is that Stir-frying goes very quickly. You will need to have everything prepped and ready to go. A stir-fry won't wait while you have to go get a tablespoon to measure with. Have it all ready so you can work quickly.

        1. Unless you have a very powerful gas burner, you will have to adjust your expectations. Cooks Illustrated has concluded that a large skillet achieves better results that woks on the average developed world electric or gas stove.

          You don't need a book. Prep and cooking order are the important things. Your ingredients should be cut small, and at room temp. Mis en place is a French term, but no cuisine relies on it more than Asian cooking does. (According to the Frugal Gourmet, this is because fuel there has always been at a premium and the smaller the bits to be cooked, the less fuel is needed.) Prepare your rice or noodles before you start frying. Heat oil, cook the protein and remove it, quickly add the garlic and onion or other alliums, then the rest of the veg and whatever sauce you are using (usually soy of some sort).
          When the veg are about done, return the protein to the pan, and the starch if you wish. Or just spoon the stir-fry over the plated starch.

          4 Replies
          1. re: greygarious

            Excellent discourse. Yes, I agree...prep is most important, since once you're cooking, it goes fast. I've often wondered why there are no chinese drive throughs.

            1. re: greygarious

              Christopher Kimball lives on a remote planet. Be very suspect on Cooks Illustrated.

              1. re: Candy

                In this instance, I have found the utensil/stove advice spot-on.

                1. re: Candy

                  Opinions DO abound about Mr. Kimball's on screen persona, but I place my faith in his staff. Julia and company do get my stamp of approval for their insights and advice.

              2. Here's a thread which you might find helpful about simple quick Chinese dishes at home which offers some tips on stir-frying...