The beauty of stir frying is that you can turn out a delicious, bright-tasting meal, using a single pan, in a matter of minutes. There’s no other cooking technique quite like it. Stir fried food tastes crisp and tender at the same time. The secret is high heat, which sears the ingredients, locking in moisture and flavor.
Sugar snap peas, radishes, scallions, green beans, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, peppers and summer squash immediately come to mind, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. This is a technique worth knowing as you can stir fry just about any vegetable throughout the entire harvest season. Just be sure to cut them into bite-sized pieces so that all the ingredients cook evenly. In addition to vegetables, tender cuts of meat like chicken breasts, flank steak or pork tenderloin work wonderfully in a stir fry. Ditto for shrimp and scallops. Ginger, garlic, chili peppers, cilantro, and basil are some aromatics of choice.
All the heavy lifting comes in the prep. Since the cooking is fast-paced, it’s best to have all your ingredients chopped and ready to go before you turn on the stove, including the aromatics that you plan to toss in at the end for a final flavor boost. Be sure to heat your pan until it is piping hot before adding any ingredients. I recommend using a wok because of its unique design. The bottom is hottest, but you can use the sides when you want a lower temperature. Start with the tougher vegetable since they’ll take an extra minute or two to cook, like carrots and green beans and then add the tender vegetables, like summer squash and scallions. Don’t crowd the ingredients and don’t stray too far; it isn’t called a stir fry for nothing. Finally, this is a dish that is best served steaming hot.