Friday, July 02, 2010

9 Stir Fry Secrets from Grace Young

Grace Young
Are you a stir fraud? Do you stir fry or do you stir faux? During a recent taping of You're Doing It All Wrong for Chow, I learned I was making some pretty big mistakes when it comes to stir frying hence my less than stellar results. The video is not quite ready yet, but to tide you over, here's what I learned from stir fry master and cookbook author Grace Young. Her latest book, Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge is out now.

Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge

* Use a 14-inch wok. Other sizes are too small to cook enough food or too large to heat properly on a typical home range. Find a carbon steel flat bottom wok. RESIST the urge to use a non-stick wok! It cannot be heated high enough to give you good results. If you must, use a 12-inch skillet. But again, not non-stick!

* When you marinate meat for stir frying, which only takes five minutes, add a little bit of oil.

* Use a high smoke point oil such as peanut, canola, grapeseed. Grace said rice bran oil is good too and that's generally what I have on hand.

* Hot pan, cold oil! Do not add the oil to your wok until it is hot, hot, hot! Otherwise the food will stick, stick, stick.

* Use the highest heat possible!

* To get good caramelization, spread out the meat and really let it sear before stirring.

* Stir fry the meat only until it's 3/4 of the way done before removing it and adding the vegetables.

* Be sure vegetables are good and dry when they go in the wok.

* Don't crowd the pan! The amount of vegetables will vary depending on the type, but a rule of thumb is no more than 3/4 of a pound meat and maximum 4 cups vegetables.

But you want to know the most important thing I learned? You can make a better stir fry at home than you can get in a restaurant. Really. According to Grace, you are much more likely to use higher quality ingredients than your local Chinese restaurant. And if you do it right, your results should be better.

My thanks to Chow and Grace for inviting me to the taping. I'm only sorry I couldn't stay for lunch!

Stir Frying to the Sky's Edge

More tips on stir frying from Grace on Culinate