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Chinese, Staples

Process: Jim’s 1-2-3 Stir Fry

The simple stir fry is something that anybody can cook as long as they’ve got a large pan or wok. The idea behind the stir fry is to very quickly cook fresh ingredients so that you not only retain all their flavour but also their ‘goodness’.

I’ve called this the 1-2-3 Stir Fry as using these very simple 3 steps you can produce some lovely dishes in next to no time.

Step 1

Prepare your ingredients – What you want to do here is to chop all your vegetables to a similar (smallish) size so that they cook at the same rate, cut your meat into thin strips and roughly chop some garlic and ginger (if using) into small pieces

Step 2

Prepare you sauce – The purpose of the sauce is to go in at the last minute and to coat everything evenly. You don’t want loads or you’ll end up poaching your ingredients which will make them less crispy. The simplest sauce I know is 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp dark soy, 1/2 tbsp sesame oil, 1/2 tbsp red chilli flakes.

Step 3

Cook – As I’m keeping this as simple as I can I’m going to offer you a bit of a cheat here. Normally the method is to heat the pan to a high temperature and then start off with your aromatics (garlic and ginger) but it’s really easy to burn them so try this instead. Place your oil into a cold pan along with the garlic and ginger, now heat the pan over a high heat. As soon as they start to change colour and bubble a bit you need to start moving them around the pan and then add your meat. The pan will be at a high enough temperature at this stage. Because the meat is thinly sliced it won’t take long to cook at all. As soon as you think it’s ready you can either remove the meat (keeps it juicier) or just thrown your veg in on top. Either way you need to move the veg around the pan for a minute or two and then (add your meat again if you removed it and) just pour the sauce in, give it a good move around the pan to coat everything and then serve it straight away.

All you need is a bit of an imagination. The ingredients you use need to be able to be tough enough to stand up to this kind of cooking so stay away from flaky fish or mushy veg.

I do have another tip for you too. If you’re following a recipe that asks you to use flour to thicken the sauce then try this instead. Mix a teaspoon of cornflour with a tablespoon of water to form a kind of slurry and add this to your sauce. It’s less likely to add flavour than flour and it creates a more translucent sauce rather than the opaque sauces that flour can produce.

That’s it, be creative and have fun. There’s loads of stir fry sauce recipes all over the internet that you can use as a base recipe and then experiment to find your favourite. Let me know how you get on!

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