Do you need a fast meal that’s full of flavor? Stir-frying is your answer. The beauty of cooking your veggies Chinese-style is all in the stirring, the high heat, and the distinct Chinese flavors. The heat locks in the flavor and the stirring ensures that your vegetables stay tasty, crisp and colorful. One mistake people make when cooking Chinese food is the amount of oil they use. It seems that the high heat encourages us to pour in more oil. Instead of being put to use, the excess oil leaves our veggies drenched and overpowered by greasiness.
I’m sure you have eaten a super greasy Chinese meal before, right? By nature, stir-frying is fast and hot, so the jist is not in the amount of oil we use but in the quality and the type of oil. We need to use oils that have high smoke points and ensure that we only use a little bit of them, that way our veggies retain their goodness, rich in flavor and our heart and cholesterol levels will thank us! Follow these steps to stir-fry veggies Chinese-style:
As you are going to stir-fry your veggies over a high heat for a short amount of time, you need those veggie’s chopped into bite-size pieces to ensure they cook properly!
2. Organize Veggies by Cooking Times
Place your vegetables on the chopping board in time order so when you’re cooking you don’t have to think about which veggies to reach for.
3. Heat Up That Wok
Before adding your oil, get that wok hot by turning up the temperature to a medium to high heat or high heat. As your wok starts to smoke, that’s when it’s time to throw in your veggies.
4. Pour in Your Oil
Add around 1 tablespoon of oil, as stir-frying uses high temperatures in a short amount of time, it is best to use oils with high smoke points like canola, coconut, peanut or sesame oil.
5. Infuse, Infuse, Infuse!
Infuse your oil by turning down the heat slightly, adding chopped garlic, shallots and ginger to your wok and stirring for 30 seconds.
5. Throw in the Veggies One by One
Place the veggies that take the longest to cook in first, these are veggies like, onions and peppers, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower, throwing in lighter vegetables like cabbage, bok choy, celery and, mange tout in last.
Turn up the heat by adding a bit of spice to your dish, add freshly chopped chili and Sichuan peppercorns – your stir-fry will be rich in flavors as well as aromatics!
7. Get Nutty!
Add a little texture to your dishes by adding nuts like cashews and peanuts, for a bit of recipe inspiration, take a look at this delicious kelp noodles in a peanut-miso sauce recipe or this carrot and courgette noodle stir fry.
8. Push Veggies Up the Sides of Your Wok
By pushing the veggies around the sides, you will create a well in the center of your wok ready to cook up your sauce.
9. Add Your Sauce & Simmer
Create a funky sauce by using a base of soy sauce, water, lemon, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and oil. You may need to add a little cornstarch to thicken the sauce a little. Allow the sauce to cook in the well in your wok, once thickened slightly, slowly stir in the vegetables into your sauce.
10. Serve Up!
Serve immediately with rice or noodles. You may want to add garnishes like finely sliced scallions, flaked almonds and a wedge of lemon.
For more inspiration, check out this article on How to Make Great Vegan and Gluten-Free Chinese Food and see our Vegan Chinese recipes here on One Green Planet.
Image source: Buckwheat Noodle Stir Fry