Cook Chinese...: Chinese Cooking Techniques - Part 1 Cook Chinese...

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Chinese Cooking Techniques - Part 1

Stir-Frying

The most well known Chinese cooking technique is stir-frying. This is where your wok comes into its own as it's shape and size (at least 14 inches diameter with deep sides) is ideal for quick cooking. The secret to successful stir-frying is to have all your ingredients ready in advance.

Meat should be cut according to the recipe but normally in thin strips. Vegetables likewise but in any event should be of similar shapes and sizes to ensure even cooking. Long thin vegetables such as spring onions, carrots or asparagus are often cut on the diagonal so that more surface area is exposed for quicker cooking. Measure out sauce ingredients - check the recipe - if they are all added to the dish at the same time, you can put them all in one small bowl. If corn flour is included, don't forget to give it a good stir before adding to the other food.

Once you have everything prepared, heat your wok until it is very hot then add oil and using your chosen stirring implement ensure that the oil is evenly distributed over the surface of the wok. Before you add your ingredients the wok should be so hot that it is almost smoking - this will prevent the food from being greasy. The exception to this is if you are flavouring your oil with garlic, chilli, spring onions, ginger or salt - these will burn if the oil is too hot.

Now add your other ingredients in the order stated in the recipe and toss them over the surface of the wok ensuring that nothing rests in one place for too long and moving the food from the centre of the wok to the sides. I suggest that you wear an apron or other protective clothing for this operation as the food often spits due to the high temperature it is cooked at.

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