How to Make the Perfect Stir-Fry
Who needs takeout when you can make all your favorite recipes at home? Tonight, tackle the classic stir-fry by following our 6 foolproof tips:
1. (Seriously) Have All Your Ingredients Prepped
One of the keys to a great stir-fry is timing. Everything cooks up quickly, and unless you have 8 additional arms, you won’t be able to continue prepping ingredients once food starts going into the pan. So, have every, single ingredient chopped/peeled/minced/measured before you start. This is called “mise en place,” and it’s a great technique to master anyways!
2. Get Everything Screamin’ Hot!
Your pan and your oil absolutely must be pre-heated. Putting your ingredients into cold oil will make them soggy and slow your cooking process. Make sure to give everything a few minutes to get warm before you start adding food – your stir-fry will be so much better for it.
3. Pick the Right Pan
No wok? No worries. Use the widest, flat-bottomed skillet that you have. What you want is a large cooking surface so as many ingredients as possible can heat at once.
4. Make it Spicy in Steps
If you’re trying a new stir-fry recipe for the first time, there’s nothing wrong with using a little less spice, and then adding more as you go along. Especially when you’re cooking with new sauces, chili oils, etc., spiciness levels will vary by brand. Give everything a taste first, then add gradually (unless you’re feeling extra-daring!).
5. Try One of Rachael’s Recipes…
To start mastering the technique, may we recommend:
- Barbecued Beef and Pepper Stir-Fry
- Ginger-Garlic Chicken Stir-Fry with Soy-Sesame Noodles
- Thai Green Chili Stir-Fry on Shredded Lettuce
- Chicken Satay Stir-Fry with Orange-Scented Jasmine Rice
- Citrus-Soy Chicken, Pork or Shrimp Stir-Fry
6. …Then Make Up Your Own
Once you’ve tried a recipe, step up your game by adding new veggies and meats to one you love, or making your own combo based on what’s already in your fridge. Just remember these basic tips for successful improvisation:
- Cook your meat first, then set it aside so you can cook your veggies and not overdo the protein.
- Add tougher, more fibrous veggies to the pan earlier in the cooking process. That way, they have more time to finish as you cook other ingredients that are more delicate.