fry (meat, fish, or vegetables) rapidly over a high heat while stirring briskly. “stir-fried beef”
a dish cooked by stir-frying. “make the stir-fry just before you want to eat”
In the Chinese language stir-fry is simply known as chao (炒) or fry. The basis of stir-frying technique is fresh ingredients cut up into bite size pieces, then rapidly cooked in oil over very high heat. The final dish always retains the ingredients’ fresh flavor and enhanced by added seasonings. Thank you to Kian Lam Kho from Red Cook for this information.
To me a stir fry is the quick frying of meat and/or vegetables in a hot, oiled wok. Stir fries originated in China but as you probably know or have had, Thailand and Malaysia are also well renowned for their stir fries. Stir fries are not just limited to these countries, as I found out through Grace Young. Let me know where else you’ve had a specialty stir fry that I may not know about.
The staple ingredients that you should have in your pantry for the perfect stir fry would be peanut oil, ginger, garlic, spring (green) onions, soy sauce and sesame oil (used as a finishing oil not a cooking oil). Added staple ingredients range from chillies, sugar, corn or rice flour, oyster sauce and rice wine vinegar – this is to name a few that I use, depending on the country of the dish.
If you have nut allergies, replace the peanut oil with either rice bran or canola oil – something with a high smoking point. Never use olive oil or extra virgin olive oil for a stir fry as it changes the flavour of the stir fry completely! Leave out sesame oil altogether.
Choosing your protein (chicken, red meat or seafood) or tofu (firm tofu is best for stir fries as it won’t fall apart) is up to you. Vegetables are open to anything you and your family like – there’s no right or wrong when it comes to vegetable choice. Rice or noodles are both fantastic for stir fries. For an alternative, try quinoa.
If you are looking for a quick dinner idea I don’t think you can go past a stir fry. Dinner can be ready within half an hour as long as all your ingredient and quantity preparation is done prior to heating the wok. All vegetables should be cut into similar sizes, the protein should be sliced thinly for quick cooking times and if mixing needs to be done of ingredients, do it prior to heating the wok. Wok frying happens very quickly so you don’t have time to cut or measure ingredients as you go along.
In this recipe I have tweaked it to make it my own. I have cooked this many times and it’s one of my husband’s favourites. I found inspiration while watching Chinese Food Safari a while ago. Not only is this a healthy dish but it’s so quick and easy it’s ridiculous!
TIP 1: Your wok must be hot! If your wok isn’t hot, the meat absorbs too much of the oil – not good! Test a small piece of meat by adding it to the oil in the wok – if it sizzles, you’re ready to fry away.
TIP 2: I use rump as my cut of meat for stir fries – it’s tender and easy to slice. Use the meat you have readily available and you like the taste of. Substitute red meat for chicken, seafood or even tofu as a vegetarian option.
TIP 3: Don’t have rice flour in your pantry? Substitute it for corn flour or potato starch.
TIP 4: I use the absorption method to cook my rice and it works perfectly for me. If you try cooking the rice this way, let me know how you it went for you. Please feel free to cook the rice the way that works for you. To me there’s nothing worse than gluggy or stuck together rice – the rice should be individual pods – which is why I cook my rice this way.
TIP 5: Cook the meat in 3 batches or more. This will keep the meat from stewing – not good. It will also keep the meat tender.
PREP: 1 hour COOK: 16 minutes SERVES: 4
580grams beef rump steak, fat trimmed and thinly sliced (465grams with fat trimmed)
1½ tablespoons rice flour
5 tablespoons (80mls) water
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 cup Basmati rice
1½ cups cold water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 button mushrooms, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, grated
1 head broccoli, sliced into big florets
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
4 spring (green) onions (optional), sliced on the diagonal
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sliced meat and rice flour slurry until completely mixed.
Cover with gladwrap or plastic wrap and place in the fridge for half an hour. Do not leave in the fridge any longer than 2-3 hours.
Remove the meat from the fridge half an hour before cooking.
While the meat is marinating, cook the rice. Place all the rice ingredients in order as listed in a medium saucepan with lid on a high heat, covered. Once water boils, turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 7 minutes – no longer! Turn the heat off and allow rice to steam for another 7-10 minutes, keeping the lid on the saucepan.
Once that time is up, grab a fork and gently separate the rice. Allow to sit until ready to serve.
Wok time! Grab your wok (no wok, use the largest frypan you have) and place it on a medium-high heat. Add in one tablespoon peanut oil and when hot enough (see TIP 1) add a third of the meat. Quickly fry until meat has browned, no pink showing and set aside in a bowl. Repeat this process until all the meat is used.
Add the butter mushrooms to the wok, turning the heat to medium. Fry for 2 minutes then add the garlic and broccoli.
Fry for a further 3 minutes then add the meat back to the wok with the oyster sauce. Fry for another 2 minutes.
And there you go, dinner is ready! How quick was that!
Serve immediately with rice, topped with spring onions.
What do you think? Will this become a favourite for your family too?