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How Do I Stir-fry Different Types of Vegetables?

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Chinese Broccoli and Mushrooms Stir-fried in Oyster Sauce

Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan) and mushrooms are briefly stir-fried and then finished in a chicken broth seasoned with oyster sauce.

Rhonda Parkinson
Question: How Do I Stir-fry Different Types of Vegetables?
You’ve decided to a prepare a healthy stir-fry from scratch, using ingredients you have on hand. Not sure whether a certain vegetable is a good candidate for stir-frying? It all comes down to the density and moisture level of the vegetable.
Answer:
  • High moisture vegetables that are not too hard, like zucchini, sweet peppers, spinach and mung bean sprouts, can be quickly stir-fried at high heat without the addition of extra liquid.
  • Denser, low moisture vegetables like broccoli and carrots, on the other hand, require more cooking time. Most recipes call for the vegetables to be stir-fried briefly and then boiled in a liquid such as chicken broth. Another option is to briefly blanch the vegetables prior to stir-frying.
  • Many vegetables fall somewhere between these two extremes. Snow peas (also called sugar peas and snap peas) have medium moisture levels and thickness – they can be stir-fried dry or finished in a sauce. Asparagus, on the other hand, is a high moisture vegetable but relatively hard and thick – liquid is usually added.

    More Tips on Stir-frying Vegetables:

  • For all vegetables, cut them into uniform size before stir-frying. This ensures that they will cook evenly.
  • Be sure the vegetables are thoroughly drained before stir-frying. (A good tip is to wash the vegetables and leave them to drain earlier in the day). Wet vegetables can ruin a stir-fry.
  • On the other hand, if vegetables become too dry during stir-frying, they can burn. To prevent this, splash them with a bit of Chinese rice wine, dry sherry, or water while stir-frying.
  • Keep moving the vegetables during stir-frying. This also helps prevent them burning.


Vegetable Stir-fry Recipes

Asparagus Stir-fry Recipe
Stir-fried Broccoli
Bitter Melon Stir-fry
Simple Snow Peas Stir-fry
Spinach With Garlic Stir-fry
Stir-fried Lettuce
Stir-fried Spicy Sweet Potatoes
Stir-fry Baby Bok Choy
Stir-fry Chinese Celery
Stir-fried Mushrooms With Oyster Sauce Sweet and Sour Cabbage

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