Rarely does takeout or delivery fall under the “healthy eating” category. But you can get the same taste experience once you learn how to make stir-fry at home. It will convince you that the classic Asian-style cooking method can (and should) be part of your weekly dinner meal plan. With oodles of vegetables, lean cuts of meat, and a splash of stir-fry sauce, this customizable cooking method is easy, nutritious, and a brilliant way to use those bits of ingredients leftover from previous meals. A few asparagus spears, a cup of diced chicken, and a handful of sliced carrots can become a mouthwatering dinner if you follow our tips and tricks for how to make a good stir-fry.
So what, exactly, does it mean to stir-fry? It’s a technique of quickly cooking small, uniform pieces of food in a little hot oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. We love it for highlighting vegetables, in particular, as the cooking style helps them retain their color, crunch, and nutrients.
If you plan to do a lot of stir-frying, you might want to invest in a wok, the traditional round-bottom pan used in high-heat Chinese cooking. (Learn more about different styles of woks.) Because most of us cook over stoves, rather than fires, woks sold in this country usually have flat bottoms. Woks with rounded bottoms often come with a metal ring to allow you to set the wok over a gas burner.
You can make stir-fry without wok by substituting a deep, large skillet ($45, Target). However, the wok has one major advantage: The gentle, sloping sides of the pan allow you to cook in stages. The sides serve as a resting place to get ingredients up and out of the hot spot (at the bottom of the pan) so nothing gets overcooked.
Some ingredients are better suited to stir-frying than others. Here’s a rundown, including how much of each stir-fry ingredient to use if you’re making four main-dish servings.
Before you start cooking, prepare all your ingredients and place them in bowls near your cooktop so you can focus on stir-frying without stressing about little prep steps. The heat is high, so the process goes quickly.
Many stir-fry recipes for main dishes follow similar steps. Once you key into this process, it’s easy to turn whatever produce looks its freshest at the market (or whatever produce you happen to have on hand) into a satisfying main dish, with or without meat.
To make a stir-fry dinner, use these general steps, which differ slightly from when you’re stir-frying vegetables for a side dish.
If you wish to stir-fry vegetables for a side dish, follow these tips.
Use your stir-frying skills to whip up fast side dishes or to create main dishes like this teriyaki shrimp and noodle stir-fry that incorporate several food groups and make ingredients such as seafood and vegetables more appealing to picky eaters because they’re served alongside pasta or rice that they love. With such amazing versatility, stir-fry dinners will become part of the weekly meal plan.
This content was originally published here.
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