Stir fries are a great choice for planners and improvisers alike. A couple pro tips:
–Maximize your flavor factor by sauteing the meat first, until it’s nicely browned, and then removing it from the heat and reserving it until the end. Deglaze the pan at a medium high temperature with just a splash of water to pull the flavorful browned bits off the pan, then add some fat (peanut oil is delicious in a stir fry! corn oil or olive oil work well too) and reduce the heat to medium by medium low.
–Add your aromatics. Garlic and onion are a great way to start. If you’re using ginger, mince it finely and add it just before you toss in the rest of your vegetables.
–Strategically add vegetables in order of how long it’ll take to cook them. The thinner the veggies are, the faster they’ll cook. Put your halved jalapenos and bell peppers in in before you add the bok choy or other greens. You can always slice your vegetables thinner to make them operate on your timeline.
–Put the reserved meat back into the pan and add any seasonings you desire. Remember to use at least a little salt; a few shakes of sesame oil makes for a transcendent touch and adds a nice satiny texture to the proceedings that somehow makes everything taste more savory. Many folks like adding some kind of hot sauce for spice, and a fish sauce or a soy sauce can up the umami factor. Taste the dish as you go and adjust accordingly. Understand that sometimes 4 or 5 flavors can make for a bolder and more interesting dish than 7 or 8.
–If you’re using some kind of noodle you can throw it in around here (after you’ve cooked it, of course).
–Last touch: acid, brightness, and freshness. A few squeezes of lime juice or lemon, and some chopped cilantro or basil, can elevate the dish to another level. You don’t want these elements to cook too much (though basil can benefit from being wilted just a touch). Some chopped green onion at the end is also nice.
Serve with rice or the aforementioned noodles and you’re in business– all to the tune of about a half an hour of cooking and the cost of meat plus leftover vegetables. If you’re not making one night of the week a stir-fry night, you gotta start.
We can help set you up with meat that’s going to work. Chicken wise, we love making our stir-fries with a mix of white and dark meat. The contrast is a winning one and the white meat on our chickens is exceptional– it holds up orders of magnitude better to cooking like this than your average, industrially produced chicken breast. An enormous variety of beef options await you in our case, and we love using thin slices of pork sirloin in a dish like this. Depending on the direction you want to go in, sausage can be great too– the Linguica, Andouille, Green Chorizo, and Italian would all shine cooked with some peppers and other vegetables.
If you feel like attaining some extra credit, you can marinate or season your meat a couple hours (or a day or two) ahead of time. Salt and pepper are the building blocks for pre-seasoning but garlic, ginger, soy sauce, yogurt– all these things can make an impact.
And of course, you can always walk in and bounce a couple ideas around with the staff. We look forward to consulting on your next stir fry adventure soon.