Rich has recently got really into stir-fry which gives me an opportunity to relax and play computer games whilst he cooks. Here are his tips for a delicious stir-fry outcome.
Stir-fry. Quick, simple, tasty, and most importantly healthy. For anyone who moans all too frequently of their inability to cook anything, or at least anything with vegetable in, surely the stir-fry is the easy answer? Granted you can still burn the food, under-cook it or even set the wok and then the kitchen on fire, but really all of these things can be relatively effortlessly avoided. (Hint, if the oil in the pan catches fire, don't throw water on it, I'm looking at you, Kathryn)
For your standard stir-fry I've done here for Abby and me, you will need a small number of elements; diced chicken, vegetables, noodles, sauce, oil, wok, hob.
Get your hob on your oven up to a high heat, put the wok on, wait two minutes, then add a splash of oil. Common sense and experience will guide you here. Once the oil is fizzing away nicely (ie proper hot), add in the chicken, add a splash of soy sauce and cook both sides until they start to brown just lightly. Now add in all your vegetable with a little more soy. Generally I always use carrots and peppers, as I like the flavour and also they easily cut into strips, but brocolli, green beans and other mini-veg are all good too.
Now you can go with just meat 'n' veg stir-fry, or you can add some noodles in with the minimum of extra fuss. To do this just add the noodles you have to the veg 'n' meat mix after the veg has been in for about a minute. Keep stirring the food ensuring everything gets exposed to the heat. You want to aim for about five minutes all-in-all here. And then you'll want to add a good sauce. Sweet and sour sauce is always a good bet (though I prefer hoisin, char siu or a sweet chilli, S&S is a safe all-rounder) and the best way to do one of these is get the following:
1/3 mug rice vinegar
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp ketchup (controversial but it helps create a nice consistency in the sauce)
2 tsp cornstarch
3 tsp water
2 tsp soy sauce (I like dark but any is good)
1 thinly diced chilli (if you want extra zing)
Splash the sauce on and stir well. After just over a minute you're good to serve and eat immediately. If you're unsure try a small piece of the vegetables to see if you deem it cooked. Serve with rice if you want, or you can flavour the the whole mix with some egg, or you can do this with beef instead, in which case cook the meat much less, or you can do this without meat and just have it vegetarian...the options really are limitless.
Once you master the basic elements it's all very simple and easy if you want to extend or modify the way in which you want to cook and serve the food up. Also if you struggle with making a decent sauce, there are plenty of good ready prepared ones out there you can buy for relatively few pennies. Having said that it is good to master your own sauce preparation as it's so easy to do, with just a small amount of practice.
Nom, as my better half would say.