I got a new wok for Christmas, so I’m stir-frying quite a lot. Here is how I do it:
Feeds 1 Hungry Wizard, or 2 Muggles (3, if you add a bit more Noodles)
Some meat (or not). I used 2 Pork Loins, cut into strips (about 240g total). Just over £1, as it was on a deal at Aldi. If you’re avoiding meat, a few more mushrooms helps.
Some veg. Today I bought a pack of “mushroom stir-fry veg” (325g). Just under £1 at Aldi. £1 at Asda/Tesco. £1.25 at Co-op. If making from scratch, I suggest per person:
- 1/2 a small onion
- a few mushrooms
- a bit of cabbage or other greens
- a small handful of beansprouts
- 1/2 a carrot, grated
Make sure your veg are all different colours!
Sauce. You can make your own, but Aldi had either Sweet’n’Sour or Oyster’n’Onion packs at 35p! I went for S’n’S.
Noodles. I skipped them this time, but “Straight to Wok” noodles are cheap and plentiful. Don’t over-do it though! You’ll end up with NOODLE and stir-Fry!
1 stirring stick (wooden, so as not to scratch the wok)
1 Meat-cutting knife (unless you bought pre-chopped meat)
1 surface to chop meat on (see above)
1 eating-bowl and eating utensil per person (I use a fork. You may risk chop-sticks if you please)
Read through the entire Method. Check you have got all of the ingredients and tools, and understand each process.
Get all the ingredients nearby. Check you have everything.
Chop your veg, if you didn’t buy pre-chopped. They want to be quite small, but not wafer-thin slivers. Or you can leave them chunky.
Heat a little oil (I use Spicy Stir-Fry Oil – adds a little kick, and resists the high temperatures) in a wok (High Heat. On my cooker, I use Level 5 (out of 6). You may choose to use ‘6’. I do not think ‘4’ is hot enough).
While the oil is heating, chop up your meat (unless you bought it pre-chopped, in which case, just wait for the oil to reach temperature! There should be just enough time to TXT a friend: “HEY! I’m Cooking! Yeah, me! Cooking! Gotta go, kitchen on fire!“).
The oil should be hot enough by now, but you can throw a little piece of meat in to check – it should sizzle!
Carefully place the meat in the wok. Beware, it may splash hot oil!
You can take a moment now, as the meat starts to cook, to clean down your meat-chopping surface. Be quick-but-thorough.
Now stir the meat (cf: name of dish!). Keep stirring, not too fast, until the meat is about cooked. Make sure to turn it over regularly, cooking all sides, and allowing the heat to reach the centre. This should take a few minutes. If, after 5 minutes, the meat is not starting to brown, you have the heat too low!
ASIDE: If you are blogging your meal, make sure not to get the camera too close! The steam will mist the lens, and may get inside the worky-bits. The auto-focus will struggle. Your photos will end up looking like this:
Use the Zoom function, from further away!
Now that the meat is cooked, and we have a decent photo of it, we can add the veg. Pop it all in the wok.
We now refer back to the Dish Name: Stir the veg (and meat!), turning over, and making sure it all gets nice and hot! A couple of minutes of stirring, and the veg will be starting to cook through, and wilt a little. It will be noticeably reduced in size.
We can now add the sauce. Depending on the sauce, this can be a bit messy. Sweet’n’Sour is sticky, and gets everywhere if you’re not careful!
Stir some more (are we getting an idea of where the name came from yet?). Don’t go splashing it everywhere, and throwing it all over the hob. A nice, gentle motion, just to keep it moving so it cooks evenly, and the sauce covers everything.
If you are using noodles, now is the time to add them! (I often skip them, but they do bulk it out nicely). Stir the noodles in, but no more than a minute (unless your packet says otherwise!).
The meal is now cooked, and can be spooned into bowls.
Pro-tip: keep the bowls very near the wok, so as not to spill food all over the oven/counter/floor!
Sit at your favourite table, and savour your creation!