Stir-frying is associated with Asian cooking
styles. A wok is the traditional tool for stir-frying, because of its
construction and shape. The wok concentrates heat in the bottom of the
pan. The sides of the pan have varying degrees of heat, creating zones
that allow a variety of foods to be prepared in a single pan, without
overcooking or undercooking any single item.
Foods must be cut properly, usually into
small strips, dice or shreds. They are added to the pan in sequence, with
foods requiring the longest cooking time added first, and those that cook
very quickly or are simply added for flavor and texture added at the last
Rather than turning the food once, you
should keep stir-fried foods constantly in motion. Push them up to the
sides of the wok out of the most intensely heated part of the pan. This
makes room for items to be added to the bottom of the wok in their turn.
Sauces are frequently part of stir-fried
dishes. They are generally combinations of intensely flavor liquids and
oils such as soy sauce, and sesame oil, occasionally thickened with a
small amount of diluted arrowroot or cornstarch.