Stir-frying techniques

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How to Stir-Fry

Stir-frying is the cooking of small pieces of food in a pan over high heat. The food cooks very quickly, so you must stir almost constantly to heat it evenly and keep it from sticking. Because of this, it is important to choose firm seafood that will hold together when stirred and not fall apart as it cooks. You should avoid overcrowding the pan, or the food will release liquid and poach rather than fry. Don't worry about fitting all the food in the pan at one time; ingredients can be stir-fried in batches and assembled just before serving.

A wok is ideal for stir-frying because its deep and evenly sloping sides make easy work of stirring the ingredients. The Chinese-style wok shovel has a gently rounded edge that easily scoops and stirs food in a wok. If you don't have a wok, use a large skillet, preferably one with sloping sides. Any long-handled spoon can be used for stirring.

Stir-frying requires little oil ÄÄ and that means little added fat.

The combination of high heat, small pieces of food and constant stirring ensures that the food cooks evenly without sticking. Because a variety of vegetables can be stir-fried with seafood, all you need is rice to make a complete meal.

1. Cut the seafood into even bite-sized pieces along with whatever vegetables you will be cooking. Scallops and shrimp can be cooked whole unless they are very large, in which case you will want to cut them into pieces to ensure the cook quickly and evenly.

2. Heat a wok or large slope-sided skillet over high heat, add the oil and allow to heat. Add the vegetables and cook very quickly, stirring constantly. When just crisp-tender, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3. If needed, add more oil to the pan, then reheat. Add the fish pieces and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned on the outside and opaque in the center, 1 to 5 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.

4. Return the vegetables to the pan, add any sauce or seasoning and toss just to evenly mix and coat.

5. Spoon the fish, vegetables and sauce over rice and serve.

Simply Seafood Fall 1994

Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 01-13-95

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