Stir-frying involves frying food quickly over very high heat in an oiled pan. While stir-frying, you generally stir continually. A special slope-sided pan called a wok is designed for stir-frying. An open flame heat source such as gas works best when using a wok.
Different frying oils produce different results. A light oil such as sesame produces a slightly healthier and much more tasty result but can burn if overheated. Olive oil has a low smoking point and may heat too quickly.
Here are some tips:
- Make sure all ingredients are prepared before you begin stir-frying.
- Heat the wok on medium-high or high heat at least one minute before adding oil. Do not pre-heat the wok if it has non-stick coating, as the heat can damage the coating.
- Drizzle the oil down the sides of the wok to maximize oil coverage as well as to heat the oil more quickly.
- Cook meat on high heat in order to keep it juicy. Remove the meat before stir-frying the vegetables. Add the meat back into the mix once the vegetables are almost cooked.
- If you are cooking over an electric range, replace the wok with an ordinary heavy-bottomed frying pan. You will achieve better results this way since electric ranges will not properly heat the curved sides of a wok.
- If you are using an electric range, you can preheat the pan or wok in an oven set to its highest setting, and only use the electric range to maintain heat during cooking. Be careful, as the pan's handle will be very hot.