Stir-frying is actually quite simple, as long as you’re quite brave too! Most home cooks only do it on medium heat, resulting in food that’s more steamed than fried. Stir-frying requires a very hot wok and all the ingredients, in small quantities, on the ready. This makes sure that the food is fried quickly and you get that barely charred taste.
Here’s how to do it. First, heat a dry wok till very hot. Then add the oil, swirling to coat most of the wok. Wait till the oil starts to shimmer and barely smoke. Make sure the ingredients are ready. Add the aromatics, like chopped garlic, and stir like mad. When it’s fragrant, add the rest of your ingredients according to how long they take to cook, and keep stirring. Turn off the flame and then season.
Here are some ideas:
Almost Sambal Kang Kong
2 tsp belachan (about thumb-size)
1 tbsp oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 chilli padi, finely chopped
1 bunch kang kong
- Toast the belachan in a dry wok until brown on both sides. Crush using a mortar and pestle.
- Add oil to the hot wok and when oil is shimmering, add the shallots and fry till fragrant.
- Toss in the chilli padi, belachan and kang kong and fry till kang kong turns deep green.
Watercress and Tau Kwa Stir-Fried in Tau Cheow
1 tbsp oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 cake tau kwa, cut into squares
1 bunch watercress, torn to small sections
1 tbsp tau cheow, crushed
- Heat the wok and the oil till oil shimmers, then add the garlic. Fry till fragrant.
- Add the tau kwa and fry till tau kwa is browned but not burnt.
- Add the watercress and tau cheow and fry till the veg turns deep green.
Chicken, Mushroom and Bean Fry
1 tbsp oil
as many mushrooms as you like, cut into strips
1 chicken breast, cut into small chunks
handful fine french beans, cut into sticks
2 tbsp shaoxing wine
- Heat the wok and the oil till shimmering. Add the mushrooms and fry till browned.
- Add the chicken and fry till browned slightly on all sides.
- Now add the french beans and fry for a few seconds.
- Add the shaoxing wine and stir till it stops bubbling, then turn off the heat. Add salt to taste.
All recipes serve two. (Or one greedy person.)