Looking into my fridge I find some varieties of veggies that I bought. Carrots in different colors, cabbage, red onion, zucchini, red pepper and a piece of ginger. I also find a nice piece of top sirloin in the freezer. So today I decided to take the random selection of vegetables and the meat to make a stir-fry in my wok.
For seasoning sauce I take what I have at home and mix together water, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, grated ginger, red pepper flakes, and honey. And then whisk in some cornstarch that will be the thickening agent. Whisking the cornstarch into the seasoning sauce ensures there are no lumps of starch in the final dish.
I use ginger to both flavor the cooking oil and in the seasoning sauce as I like the taste of ginger.
To make a stir-fry in a wok there are some key steps:
- First heat up the wok to hot!
- When the wok is hot, add the oil. Swirl the wok around to ensure the oil coats all sides of the wok.
- Next add ginger and garlic to the oil to act as flavor agents.
- Then add thinly sliced meat (or chicken or shrimp) and cook quickly until done. Remove the meat before adding your vegetables to ensure the rest of the ingredients don’t lower the heat and make the meat boil. (I keep my meat on a covered plate as the meat will only be on the side for short period of time.)
- Stir-fry the vegetables. Stir-frying should go quick! If the veggies are kept on too low temperature and/or frying too long the heat brings out the water and the veggies start to boil and the final dish will be soggy. So hot and quick is the trick to get the veggies done but still keep them somewhat crispy!
- If cooking for many, stir-fry veggies in batches. Starting with root vegetables and onions. Ending with the leafy and watery ones such as cabbages and zucchini.
- When the vegetables are done, add the seasoning sauce with the thickening agent to the veggies. (As thickening agent use cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca to keep the sauce clear.) Stir until it thickens.
- Add the meat to the veggies and stir quickly around and serve immediately.
- Top the dish with more flavors if you like to such as squeezed lime, chopped coriander (cilantro) or anything else you like.
About the oil, I don’t recommend to use extra virgin olive oil in a wok as olive oil has a low smoke point and will easily burn and taste bad! Regular sunflower, soybean, corn or peanut oil work better in a hot wok. In Asia inspired dishes sesame oil are often used. Many people (incl me) find the taste of sesame oil quite strong, therefore when using sesame oil I use a small amount mixed with my regular oil.
Remember Life is too short to not eat and drink well!