WHAT IS STIR-FRYING? Stir-frying is a method of quick cooking that is very popular throughout Asia, particularly in China. The Chinese use a ‘wok’, which is a large round-bottomed frying pan that’s placed over a very hot gas flame. Meat, fish, vegetables, rice and noodles can all be stir-fried, and then flavoured with lovely Asian ingredients such as fresh ginger, garlic, chilli and soy sauce. Woks are thinner than regular frying pans so they heat up really quickly. When stirfrying it’s really important to shake, stir and toss the food in the wok to keep it moving and stop it from burning. Ingredients for stir-fries are usually sliced up quite thinly to help them cook quickly. You don’t have to have a wok to stir-fry; you can use a large heavy-based frying pan instead, but you should follow the same basic principles listed below. HOW TO STIR-FRY Make sure you’ve prepared all of your ingredients BEFORE you start. Stir-frying is a very quick method of cooking, and once you get going you won’t have time to chop up ingredients. • Rice or noodles are great in stir-fries. Make sure they are cooked, drained, allowed, and cooled before you start. • Open the door or window before you start in case it gets a bit smoky! • Give your wok or pan a chance to get nice and hot before you start adding your ingredients. • Start by adding oil and swirling it around the pan to get it sizzling hot, then add your protein (chicken, beef, pork, fish, shellfish or tofu). • Once the protein has had a chance to cook almost all the way through, start adding your sliced veg. Crunchy things like sliced onions, shredded carrot and chopped peppers should be added first as they take the longest to cook; softer ingredients, like spinach and mushrooms, can be added a few minutes later. If you’re adding rice or noodles, these should go in at the same time as the crunchy veg. JAMIESHOMECOOKINGSKILLS.COM © Jamie Oliver. Illustrations by Peter Hamilton. • Add any liquid ingredients, such as soy sauce, sesame oil or black bean sauce right at the end of cooking. WHAT NOT TO DO… • Don’t try to use a wok over an electric hob. Because of its round-bottomed shape you’ll struggle to get it hot enough. • Don’t cook more than two portions of food at a time: the most common mistake people make when stir-frying is adding too much food to the wok at once. When this happens, not all of the ingredients are able to make contact with the base of the pan, and as a result, some of the ingredients end up releasing water, which drips down to surface of the pan and boils, making everything soggy. Not nice! JAMIESHOMECOOKINGSKILLS.COM © Jamie Oliver. Illustrations by Peter Hamilton.