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Stir-fry basics


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Admittedly probably one of the simplest things to cook but haven't for many years.  Been having an urge to start making though.  To get that classic Chinese/ noodley savory taste it's just soy sauce, bit of fish sauce and bang some veg and meat in depending on cooking time at medium to high heat?

Seasame oil?  I need to buy both the soy and fish.   Re fish can't remember what one we had previously or which I've eaten and liked.  Was in the supermarket yesterday (Asda) and they didn't have much choice iirc some squid brand (assume it's got squid I didn't check) and I think oyster which I recall previously.  Any recommendations on which to buy.  I'll probably go to Sainsbury's today as it's very close but have Lidl and Aldi nearby too if they may have something.  There seems to be a smaller Chinese supermarket quite close too which is may offer better value/ choice.

Thinking bean sprouts, spring onion.  Will have to Google as my mind is blank for more.  Maybe prawns as the protein.  Loose seeds too for fanciness (sesame?). And of course bit of garlic and some ginger.

Just need to decide on fish sauce thing, guess they all add the relatively similar dimension needed for the dish?

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For authenticity, throw in a couple of bats. Just don’t undercook them.

get to a Chinese supermarket. Pretty much everything you buy in our supermarkets just don't cut it and is over priced. Sesame oil is for flavour not cooking. You will need heat, a lot o

That bit right there^  Wouldn't be without mine. Most good ones are useful for a whole range of other things. You can buy three times the amount of better quality dried spices for the same price

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You might find sesame oil is on the naughty list according to the plant seed oils thread.

Name % Linoleic acid
Safflower oil
78%
Grape seed oil
73%
Poppyseed oil
70%
Sunflower oil
68%
Hemp oil
60%
Corn oil
59%
Wheat germ oil
55%
Cottonseed oil
54%
Soybean oil
51%
Walnut oil
51%
Sesame oil
45%
Rice bran oil
39%
Pistachio oil
32.7%
Peanut oil
32%
Canola oil
21%
Egg yolk
16%
Linseed oil
15%
Lard
10%
Olive oil
10%
Palm oil
10%
Cocoa butter
3%
Macadamia oil
2%
Butter
2%
Coconut oil
2%
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27 minutes ago, Dogtania said:

Admittedly probably one of the simplest things to cook but haven't for many years.  Been having an urge to start making though.  To get that classic Chinese/ noodley savory taste it's just soy sauce, bit of fish sauce and bang some veg and meat in depending on cooking time at medium to high heat?

Seasame oil?  I need to buy both the soy and fish.   Re fish can't remember what one we had previously or which I've eaten and liked.  Was in the supermarket yesterday (Asda) and they didn't have much choice iirc some squid brand (assume it's got squid I didn't check) and I think oyster which I recall previously.  Any recommendations on which to buy.  I'll probably go to Sainsbury's today as it's very close but have Lidl and Aldi nearby too if they may have something.  There seems to be a smaller Chinese supermarket quite close too which is may offer better value/ choice.

Thinking bean sprouts, spring onion.  Will have to Google as my mind is blank for more.  Maybe prawns as the protein.  Loose seeds too for fanciness (sesame?). And of course bit of garlic and some ginger.

Just need to decide on fish sauce thing, guess they all add the relatively similar dimension needed for the dish?

Huge amounts of oil, salt and sugar.

 

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get to a Chinese supermarket.

Pretty much everything you buy in our supermarkets just don't cut it and is over priced.

Sesame oil is for flavour not cooking.

You will need heat, a lot of heat. Unless you have a very good wok burner things will always be a little under/over cooked.

Sauces to buy.

Oyster. Fish is more Thai that Chinese but I still use occasionally 😅 

Plum

Soy, light and dark.

Sweet chilli.

Black bean paste.

 

Basically go ape in the sauce aisle but get concentrates not cooking sauces.

Brands I use are Panda and Lee Kum Kee.

Make it up as you go along.

Nom nom nom...

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6 minutes ago, GBDamo said:

get to a Chinese supermarket.

Pretty much everything you buy in our supermarkets just don't cut it and is over priced.

Sesame oil is for flavour not cooking.

You will need heat, a lot of heat. Unless you have a very good wok burner things will always be a little under/over cooked.

Sauces to buy.

Oyster. Fish is more Thai that Chinese but I still use occasionally 😅 

Plum

Soy, light and dark.

Sweet chilli.

Black bean paste.

 

Basically go ape in the sauce aisle but get concentrates not cooking sauces.

Brands I use are Panda and Lee Kum Kee.

Make it up as you go along.

Nom nom nom...

Awesome, that all sounds good.  I'm not hungry but salivating already

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7 minutes ago, GBDamo said:

get to a Chinese supermarket.

That bit right there^ 

Wouldn't be without mine. Most good ones are useful for a whole range of other things. You can buy three times the amount of better quality dried spices for the same price as the supermarket at mine, sacks of quality rice and an Indian section as good as anywhere you will see out of Birmingham. 

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There are a few basics tbh that 90% of people get wrong. About 5 years ago I went down the route of trying to replicate Chinese restaurant food at home.

A proper Chinese wok for stirfry is bowl shaped, but nearly all the ones you find here have a flat base. Unless you're a bit anal and have a gas hob suitable for woks, I wouldn't worry about this point.

IME the most obvious but overlooked thing is: keep stirring. Do ALL the prep first. If you leave it even for 20s without stirring it will burn and taste shite. 

Ignore anyone that blabbers on about smoke points and fancy oils. For the amateur home cook, you won't be able to get your wok/pan hot enough to worry about smoke points.

I find Singapore style stirfries/noodles to be better personally. Adding a bit of curry powder or a teapsoon of those Pataks paste things, adds much more depth of flavour than some grotty overly salty plum sauce sachet (60% sugar and salt).

 

Spunko's stirfry recipe

  • Get the pan fairly hot for 2-3 minutes beforehand but don't worry too much.
  • Add a shit load of random veg - butternut squash strips, carrot strips, beansprouts, broccoli, chard, cabbage, onion, ginger.  etc
  • No need to do a soffrito or anything like that, just chuck all the veg in together at once.
  • Tofu for protein. If you are using tofu, brown it off first after coating it in black pepper and flour. Cook it separately then add it at the end of the stirfry.
  • Add curry powder and Chinese 5 spice.
  • Shit loads of soy sauce - dark soy sauce if you want colour.
  • Optional - add prawns and some edamame at the end
  • Don't stop stirring!

 

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17 minutes ago, spunko said:

Ignore anyone that blabbers on about smoke points and fancy oils. For the amateur home cook, you won't be able to get your wok/pan hot enough to worry about smoke points.

 

 

You could easily with an induction hob. You'd have to use a flat bottom wok to get the magnetism to connect though.

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6 minutes ago, eight said:

You could easily with an induction hob. You'd have to use a flat bottom wok to get the magnetism to connect though.

I believe the average induction hob heats to  max 250C and the 'ideal' surface  temperature for a proper wok that they use in a chinky restaurant will be about 220-240C. So yes it's possible but as you say not with that sort of pan because induction hobs require full contact...

But I have yet to see any commercial premises use an induction or electric hob, they all seem to favour gas...

 

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So regarding light Vs dark soy.  Can you use both together or is it more normal to use depending on what your making.  Would assume something like pork better with a dark as opposed to maybe prawn being light.  Or if your wanting colour like mentioned add the dark for whatever.  Would have assumed has a bit of a richer taste.

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Just now, Dogtania said:

So regarding light Vs dark soy.  Can you use both together or is it more normal to use depending on what your making.  Would assume something like pork better with a dark as opposed to maybe prawn being light.  Or if your wanting colour like mentioned add the dark for whatever.  Would have assumed has a bit of a richer taste.

Light is meant to be best for stir fries as it doesn't make it go really dark like a dark soy sauce will. You want to avoid making it look burnt.

But light soy sauce is really salty so I prefer the dark, and sod how it looks :D

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18 minutes ago, spunko said:

But I have yet to see any commercial premises use an induction or electric hob, they all seem to favour gas...

 

I only know of one; the kitchen was on the top floor of an old three storey building and I don't think gas supply was available.

 

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All this fish with everything crap. One of our major central London work locations was very close to an allegedly top drawer Chinese restaurant so naturally enough a lot of do's were held there. 

First time I went, I phoned ahead. Do you have anything vegetarian? Oh ya no problem tons of stuff. 

When I got there it was back pedal time. Is this vegetarian? Er no it's got fish in it. How about this? Nope. And so on. 

I sat through many a meal consisting purely of alcohol. 

Of course there was always one "go on try it a only a little bit of fish won't hurt you." To which I always replied how much dog in your food is too much, which always shut them up. 

Tl;dr same ingredients in absolutely everything shows a lack of originality at least, and lack of business acumen considering the amount of the company's money that restaurant never got from me or my other vegestralian colleagues. 

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24 minutes ago, spunko said:

I believe the average induction hob heats to  max 250C and the 'ideal' surface  temperature for a proper wok that they use in a chinky restaurant will be about 220-240C. So yes it's possible but as you say not with that sort of pan because induction hobs require full contact...

But I have yet to see any commercial premises use an induction or electric hob, they all seem to favour gas...

 

250C is bloody hot, I get loads of smoke from my oiled cast iron when I bake sourdough bread at that temperature. There's been no regulation on the induction hobs I've had, beyond the physical limitations of induction heating and the power of the hob ring. I think they'd ignite oil with no problem.

As for commercial premises, I think they favour gas because it gives the required responsiveness with little to go wrong -- and if it does, a commercial kitchen gas fitter probably has the needed parts in his van, while the electrician who fixed my first induction hob* had to go away and research on the internet...

* the company underwriting the guarantees went bust, I received several letters as a creditor due to having a few months of guarantee left xD

 

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Ketjap Manis (sp?), it's a tasty sauce which has worked well for me when cooking chow mein type stuff, it's like a sweet soy sauce. Tesco's used to sell it, and it was always beside the soy sauce. Looks like they still sell it :

https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/282670045

Aside from that I'd say sesame oil is best, and frying the onions with some aniseed supposedly makes them sweeter, I've never tried that though. A really hot wok and loads of stirring as folk upthread have mentioned.

 

You won't be able to make it though, you need people from China to cook it, you couldn't possibly just use quality recipes and ingredients. 

9_9

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Also, water chestnuts are lovely and crunchy. I'd add them, bean sprouts, random veg, random meat, spring onions, ginger, garlic, chili, soy sauce and a wee bit of that ketjap manis stuff. 

Seasoning your wok is supposed to be important too, I did that by cleaning our newly bought wok thoroughly, then oiling it and bringing it to temp, since then I've just wiped it down after use (then wiped some oil round it before putting it away)- not washed it properly with hot water and washing up liquid. 

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