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Basic Stir-Fry Instruction

If any technique in Chinese cooking demands proper preparation, it is stir-frying. Because the heat has to be high and there is little actual cooking time, it's crucial to have all your ingredients assembled beforehand. The best advice I can give here is to keep your stir-fry ingredients separated in bowls based on how much time they need in your wok. So chop your onions, meat, mushrooms, carrots, and peppers into small pieces and separate them. You want the veggies and meat to be in bite size pieces for two reasons. First, the stir-fry will be appealing and easy to eat if all of the components are equal in size. Secondly, similar size pieces will insure more uniform cooking time.

Saucing the Stir Fry
There are several techniques for making a flavorful sauce for stir-fry. Some include a touch of cornstarch for thickening. Toss chunks of meat, poultry or seafood in cornstarch before cooking or add a touch of cornstarch mixed with water to the sauce before cooking. In both cases, you want to make sure that the cornstarch has time to cook in order to produce a smooth and shiny sauce. All at once sauce is one that I use quite often, give it a try.

Stir-fry Technique
1 Heat the wok over high heat. Until wok is steaming hot. Place a small amount of oil in the bottom of the wok. (Olive oil is fine. Peanut oil and sesame oil add a very distinctive flavor.) The oil will smoke slightly.

You may want to add slices of garlic or ginger to the oil to infuse it with flavor. Fresh herbs tossed into the hot oil will also impart their essence into the dish. As the herb begins to brown, move the pieces out of the oil and up the sides of the walk to slow the cooking process.

2 Next, add the ingredient that will take the most time to cook. In most cases this will be meat or poultry. Cook until the or poultry begin to brown on all sides. This will begin the tenderizing process. You may notice that some liquid forms at the bottom of your wok when you are cooking the meat or poultry. This is may happen if the wok is not hot enough or because you try to cook too much meat at one time. When this happens to me I scoop the liquid into my all in one sauce to add flavor.

3 At this point, you may push these meat up the sides of the wok, or remove them to a dish while you continue with the recipe.

With your wok empty you can now add more oil and start the process over with the vegetables and stir until they are just crisp tender. I have seen people using a squirt bottle to shoot water into the wok to create steam then cover. I have tryed this method and it works fine, however I have not see much writen about doing this.

4 Add the meat or poultry back into the wok. Add other needed ingredients that the recipe requires like rice or noodles in wok. Pour in "All in One Sauce" or the sauce the recipe calls for. Stir to coat all of the ingredients. Cook until sauce is at desired thickness.


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