The Art of Stir Frying


This is for you Hasso.

Simple Chinese stir-frys will generally follow a series of similar steps. It is important when stir-frying that all your ingredients are prepped and ready (mise en place) before the actual cooking process begins. Typically, diced or sliced meats are quick marinated, no more than an hour. The marinade will often consist of soy sauce, dry sherry and cornstarch. I like to add a pinch of sugar to many recipes to aid in caramelization. I don't have any written recipes for stir-frys but I will try to create some. I have been stir frying since I was a kid so the amounts and techniques all come second nature to me.

1 pound sliced chicken breast
3 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps dry sherry
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 coins ginger
2 tbps canola oil
1 cup frozen peas
Slurry 1/4 cup water mixed with 2 tsps cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil
2 scallions sliced

Method
Combine first four ingredients in a bowl. Marinate for 10 minutes.

In a wok or saute pan, over high heat add oil and ginger coins. Make sure your pan is very hot before heating your oil. This will help to insure your meat will not stick. When ginger coins have bubbled for 30 seconds, add marinated chicken. Spread the meat around the pan and don't move for about 30 seconds. This will allow for some caramelization. Then stir with a large spoon. When cooked, about 5 minutes (this will depend on how hot your stove gets), add peas and cook until hot. Add slurry and bring to boil. Add more water if there isn't enough sauce. Adjust seasoning by adding salt, pepper and/or soy sauce. Remove from heat and add sesame oil and scallions.

Notes:

Vegetables are obviously interchangeable. Fresh veggies that may require more cooking can be stir fried in a little oil and ginger first. Remove and reserve. Add to the wok when the chicken is cooked. Fresh peas, snow peas can be added while the chicken is still cooking. Maybe after 4 minutes.

Serve with plain white rice.

There is an incredible link to a Boston Globe article, which has a ground beef stir-fry that I grew up with and my son now loves. The link is: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2004/10/31/growing_up_gourmet/
I will post more ideas, recipes and techniques on another post.