So many people hear "eat more vegetables" and think "eat more salads." But we're here to tell you there's a different way: Stir-fries! Warm, nutritious, and just right for the season, stir-fries are a great way to get that one-two punch of lean protein and healthy vegetables. Here are a few of our favorite tips and recipes.
Four Steps To Better Stir-Fry
- Choose the right pan. You can use a wok, a heavy-bottomed pan (not nonstick), or a cast-iron skillet. It should be at least 12 inches wide and shallow enough to allow steam to escape, so ingredients will saute instead of stew.
- Prep your ingredients. Because stir-frying is a quick cooking method (yet another reason we love it!), always prepare the ingredients before you turn on the heat. Organize them so they're ready to go when you need them.
- Get the pan hot. Before you start stir-frying, it's important to pre-heat the pan until it's really hot. Next, carefully add the oil (it should smoke just slightly when it hits the pan) and swirl it around, then immediately begin adding the ingredients.
- Keep it moving. Put the "stir" in "stir-fry": Continually stirring the ingredients as they cook ensures they cook evenly without scorching. But pressing them against the sides of a wok helps get a great sear. The lesson? Stay involved -- do not walk away from a stir-fry! Once the stir-fry is doen, transfer it right away to serving dish so that it doesn't overcook in the hot pan.
What you need to know about woks
A wok is a great addition to your kitchen. Beyond using them to stir-fry, you can also sautee or steam in them!
Buying: A quality wok is usually made from carbon steel or anondized aluminum (avoid nonstick models). Look for a flat-bottomed wok, which works on gas and electric stoves.
Prepping: Woks made from carbon steel need to be "seasoned" before they're used. Scrub the wok clean, then heat over high until smoking. Moisten paper towels with vegetable oil and, with a pair of tongs, wipe pan. Reduce heat to low and heat for 15 minutes. Repeat oiling and heating until pan darkens to near black.
Cleaning: Seasoned carbon-steel woks should be washed with water (never use soap or a scouring pad) to maintain their coating. Dry thoroughly to avoid rusting. Anodized-aluminum woks can be washed and dried like other pans.
Five healthy stir-fry recipes