My most common working eater meal is "the stir-fry." I'd say if I eat at home for the whole week, I will 9 times out of 10 be eating stir-fried vegetables.
Making stir-fries is relatively intuitive, but as you can tell from the overall content of my blog, I love stating the obvious!
In this post, I'll give you tips that I employ on a regular basis, but I hope you learn at least one new tidbit of information.
There are no inflexible ground rules to making stir-fries. Well, maybe some. In this post, I am going to outline some of my "dos" and "don'ts" to putting together a quick stir-fry for an evening after work.
Tip #1: Always use fresh herbs. Don't be shy, but be experimental. Cilantro and basil are two commonly used herbs in Asian cuisine. I generally use cilantro for Chinese-themed stir-fries and basil for a Southeast-Asian or Thai kick. But also think about using mint, lemongrass, or freshly chopped ginger. For every stir-fry, chopped garlic and scallions or yellow onions are mandatory.
Tip #2: Although it is important to include a varied assortment of vegetables, remember which vegetables generally work together. An avocado and cucumber stir-fry might taste a little narley. When you are starting out (essentially, if you are a stir-fry virgin), first try the generic basics, like mushrooms. Also, a sub-tip about mushrooms. If you are wary of experimenting with a unique (and more-expensive) types of mushrooms like oyster mushrooms, then combine the "gourmet" mushrooms with plain, ole' button mushrooms, to extend the earthy taste (and the pocketbook). Remember to cook mushrooms earlier on in the game, so that they can release their excess liquid.
Tip #3: I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again. Always cut the vegetables that you will be using in your stir-fries into relatively uniform, bite-sized pieces. You want all of the same pieces of the vegetables to cook at the same rate. Even if they are different vegetables, I find it preferable to have bite-sized florets of broccoli alongside bite-sized slices of carrots. Of course, you can vary the size of certain vegetables based on their cooking time, but try to avoid the massive discrepancies in the "cut size" of the different vegetables.
Tip #4: Always begin by cooking the meat first, and then add the vegetables, unless of course, it is seafood. Then, you should add the seafood after the vegetables, but "when" exactly you'll add it will depend on the cook time. Always add the ingredients to the stir-fries in stages, because if you add them all at once, the temperature inside the skillet or wok will decrease and the liquid won't fully evaporate. You'll tend to get a mushier, sloppier stir-fry that way.
Tip #5: Finally, instead of serving your stir-fry on regular white rice, try a more nutritious alternative, like black rice (pictured below), brown rice, or wild rice.
Okay, now go and experiment! And also come back to let me know if you have any stir-fry tips that you'd like to share!