Whip up your own stir-fry

For years, Indian taste buds have been tickled by Chinese-inspired flavours. If there’s one cooking style that offers several opportunities to create delicacies for every foodie’s cravings, it is stir-fry, avows Chef Priyank Chouhan.

Legend has it that centuries ago, after a long day of hunting, Genghis Khan and his Mongolian Warriors would pitch tents, build a roaring bonfire and make extravagant feasts before retiring for the night. Using their swords, the Mongol empire soldiers would gather meat and slice it into thin strips.

Iron shields were thrown down over the hot ambers of the bonfire, creating a perfect cooking surface. These tender meat morsels would then be mixed with vegetables, spices and sauces, and grilled upon the warriors’ upturned shields. 

For years, Indian taste buds have been tickled by Chinese-inspired flavours. If there’s one cooking style that offers several opportunities to create delicacies for every foodie’s cravings, it is stir-fry. 

Stir-fry is a unique, yet an age-old concept, that has recently begun catching up with Indian foodies. The method was developed by the Chinese, and over the years, has evolved with the integration of new styles and flavours. It has inspired chefs across the world to create and recreate its gastronomical magic. 

The term ‘stir-fry’ was introduced into the English language by Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, to describe the chao technique. This method of cooking, where the dishes are prepared on a traditional griddle, has been well liked by those in quest of creating a perfect balance of flavours in their Chinese-inspired meals. 

When food lovers visit a stir-fry restaurant, they can select what goes into the making of their dish, right from the sauces, vegetables, condiments, preference of meat, spices to oil and starch. The guests have complete liberty to customise their dishes according to their taste and liking, in the spirit of experimenting with something new. 

The choice of ingredients listed in the stir-fry menu is so wide that one can make numerous permutations and combinations  to arrive at a unique dish or, perhaps, the first of its kind stir-fry dish since the invention of the concept itself! 

For your unique stir-fry to be prepared and served, it takes about 15 minutes or less; the ingredients are freshly tossed on the Mongolian grill with sauces and condiments. A stir-fry meal is typically saucy, tossed and served either with rice or noodles. Here go a few dos and don’ts for preparing an authentic stir-fry.

Dos 

n Learn to use correct pairings of sauces to get the best flavours n To keep up the authenticity of the cuisine, the dish is prepared on the grill.n Evenly chopped vegetables/meats should be used for approximately the same amount of time to ensure even cookingn Keep your selection of ingredients mixed and ready before beginning to cook n Let your imagination run wild while experimenting with your bowl of stir-fry
Don’ts 

n The use of cooking oil should be limited, excessive oil makes the dish soggy and overpowers the original taste n Adding too many sauces to the dish results in bad flavour; the combination of sauces should not exceed more than twon Overcooking of the dish is a big no-no. Cooking beyond 15 minutes contradicts the concept of stir-fry n Temperature of the Mongolian grill is extremely important when cooking stir-fry and must be closely monitoredOnce you follow these basic rules, you can experiment to your heart’s content, until you get what you want.
(The writer is the area kitchen manager in South India, for Shiro, Trader Vic's, Mai Tai Lounge and Ginger Tiger)

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