Your Comprehensive Guide to Stir-Frying
An easy way to create healthy and delicious meals, stir-frying is the cooking technique you should master right now.
If you're looking for ways to create more fast and nutrient-rich meals, then it's time to get familiar with the cooking method known as stir frying. A stir-fry is an easy way to transform an assortment of simple, healthy ingredients into a harmonious whole. The cooking time is quick, so it's important to have everything ready to go before you're at the stove. When prepping, dry vegetables after washing them, and cut each ingredient uniformly for a crisp-tender, evenly-cooked result.
While a wok isn't strictly necessary in order to whip up a stir fry, if you have the space to store one, it's a tool that'll come in handy, especially if decide to prepare these types of dishes frequently. The beauty of a wok is that the sides are an extension of the cooking surface, and we're explaining exactly how to use the pan—introduced to the US by Joyce Chen ($34.79, amazon.com)—to create a delicious meal full of perfectly cooked ingredients. It's really as simple as repeatedly pushing the food up the sides and letting it tumble down while tossing and turning it over. Once you get the hang of it, you'll look at the contents of your refrigerator in a whole new way. But if a wok isn't in the cards for you, or if you're just getting started and aren't ready to invest in a new pan yet, a large, deep skillet will do just fine.
One of the best aspects of making stir-fry is the ability to cater the dish to your tastes, while making the most of in-season ingredients. If you're a fan of broccoli rabe, include the nutrient-laden vegetable in a springtime stir fry. If you want a warm winter meal that's as tasty as it is satisfying, make a stir-fry with Swiss Chard or carrots that are at their peak in the colder months.
Ready to level-up your cooking? Hone your stir-fry skills with our easy how-to guide.
Heat Your Wok, Then Add Oil
Preheat a 14-inch carbon-steel wok over medium-high heat until very hot, about two minutes (a sprinkle of water should evaporate immediately). Add one tablespoon oil and swirl to coat sides and bottom.
Season with Aromatics
Cook garlic, ginger, and chile, turning over with a wooden spoon or shovel-shaped wok spatula, until golden, about 10 seconds. Hear that sizzle? That's the sound you want throughout the stir-fry.
Add marinated pork, spreading into a single layer. Let sear (do not stir) until golden on bottom, about one minute. Toss and turn occasionally until golden on all sides and just cooked through, about 90 seconds.
Remove Pork Mixture
Transfer pork and aromatics to a shallow bowl or plate. While meat rests, reheat wok over medium-high heat until sizzling-hot. Add the remaining of tablespoon oil and swirl to coat sides and bottom.
Cook Broccolini, tossing and turning occasionally, until bright green and lightly seared, about one minute. Mild, tender Broccolini is a trademarked hybrid of standard and Chinese broccolis.
Add Rest of Vegetables
Push Broccolini up sides of wok and add carrots and scallions to bottom. Cook, tossing and turning, until crisp-tender, about 90 seconds. Incorporate Broccolini, and season stir-fry with salt.
Return Pork to Wok
Transfer pork and any accumulated juices (they help provide depth of flavor) to wok. Cook, tossing and turning, until pork and vegetables are combined and pork is heated through, about 30 seconds.
Divide stir-fry among bowls of rice. Stir-frying lends itself to improvisation, so have fun experimenting with other proteins and vegetables (or just vegetables) in similar amounts, cut in similar fashion.