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Help with simple stir-frying?

josephnl Apr 18, 2013 10:03 AM

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?

  1. d
    dkenworthy Apr 19, 2013 07:59 AM

    I found Ken Hom's Quick and Easy Chinese to be a game changer for me. He had advice about the weird, stinky sauces that are essential for that authentic flavor, and his recipes work really well for the neophyte. May be out of print, but worth searching for used.

    1. fldhkybnva Apr 18, 2013 01:48 PM

      Here's a thread which you might find helpful about simple quick Chinese dishes at home which offers some tips on stir-frying...http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/834378

      1. greygarious Apr 18, 2013 01:05 PM

        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
          njmarshall55 Apr 18, 2013 01:58 PM

          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
            Candy Apr 18, 2013 05:39 PM

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

            1. re: Candy
              greygarious Apr 18, 2013 08:32 PM

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

              1. re: Candy
                njmarshall55 Apr 19, 2013 07:43 AM

                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. Candy Apr 18, 2013 12:03 PM

              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. ipsedixit Apr 18, 2013 10:59 AM

                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
                  ItalianNana Apr 18, 2013 11:54 AM

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

                  1. re: ItalianNana
                    ipsedixit Apr 18, 2013 12:51 PM

                    You can only try ...

                2. g
                  GH1618 Apr 18, 2013 10:25 AM

                  Wokcraft, by Schafer and Schafer:


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