The above is a picture of the core of a purple cabbage after most of it’s been cut off. Nature is beautiful isn’t it… (too bad my photography sucks though.. heh)
So we have the 4 components, next up is the order in which a stir fry is normally done.
I have an electric stove, but it’s a relatively new one so at the max setting, it does get hot enough to reach the smoke point of peanut oil. It doesn’t get quite as hot as a wok burner on a gas does, but it does the job for my stir fries. I use peanut oil because it’s got a higher smoke point. I’ve tried olive oil but do find that it burns way too quickly.
I use a squeezy bottle for my oil so I don’t know the exact amount, but it’s probably in the region of 1-2 tablespoons. I heat that up first, and then I’ll throw the garlic/ginger/onion in. For garlic or ginger I normally stir around until it starts to brown before the next component. If I’m using onion I might use a slightly lower flame and let the onion caramelise a little slower.
The meat is next, and the time does depend on what meat is being used and how well done I want it to be. If it’s especially tender meat I don’t want to cook for too long.. then once it’s cooked I’d take it out and put it aside. In the event of this happening (and I don’t do it often (I do it with things like liver though)), I’d have put half the garlic aside as well… and saving that to go with the vegetables.
Making sure there is enough oil still coating the bottom of the wok, I then throw the vegetables in. Timing again depend on what vegetables I’m using. If it’s slower cooking ones like carrot & broccoli, I often add a tablespoon or two of water, and then cover it for a few minutes with a lid to allow it to steam a little. Ones which cook quicker, or are cut small enough might not need this step.
As for the flavouring, that’s a whole post in itself. My usual rule though is that more liquid stuff like soy sauce or oyster sauce goes in at the end. While things which need frying off for example bean paste / miso / fermented beancurd / home made black bean paste goes in just after the garlic. I often add a dash of ground white pepper towards the end of the cooking time, and if I fancy the flavour – a couple drops of sesame oil or a capful of chinese cooking wine.
If I had separated the meat earlier, I add them back in once the vegetables are cooked. And if I want a bit of gravy, I add 1/3-1/2 cup of cold water mixed with some corn starch to thicken. Again, all this is personal preference and how much or how little gravy is made depends on the dish and taste of the cook!