[Photographs: Shao Z., J. Kenji López-Alt, Daniel Gritzer]
This sounds like the type of hyperbole you'd hear on a late-night infomercial, nevertheless when I got my very first wok, it really did replace the means we cook. Abruptly, virtually every meal we made ended up being a stir-fry. Why? Well, a method that's simple and delicious, so adaptable to an array of components, is bound to connect you. You'll find nothing to stir-frying but cutting up animal meat and vegetables, mixing a simple sauce, and tossing all of it in a searing-hot wok—and if you don't have a wok (or have allowed yours to assemble dust), ideally the aforementioned selling things will spark your fascination with this endlessly useful device. If you'd like further convincing, this collection of weeknight-friendly stir-fry recipes—some genuine, some unapologetically American-Chinese copycats—might push you within the correct path.
Cashew Chicken Ding With Jicama, Celery, and Red Bell Pepper
[Photo: Shao Z.]
A Chinese ding mixes cubes of chicken and vegetables with crunchy add-ins. Cashew chicken is a popular example—we make our version with mushrooms, celery, and bell pepper, plus jicama for an unusual little bit of extra sweet crunch.
Stir-Fried Chicken With Mushrooms and Oyster Sauce
A technique called water-velveting—marinating animal meat in a combination of egg white, wine, cornstarch, and seasonings, then blanching it in liquid with a little oil added—yields silky, tender beef that is perfect for stir-fries. We velvet chicken because of this meal, after that pair it with a number of mushrooms and great traditional oyster sauce for a hearty and fast stir-fried dinner.
Takeout-Style Kung Pao Chicken (Diced Chicken With Peppers and Peanuts)
[Photo: J. Kenji López-Alt]
With a wok and about 50 % an hour of cook time, this beloved if less-than-authentic meal, made out of diced chicken, bell peppers, celery, and roasted peanuts, is yours for supper. The mildly spicy sauce is some gloppy in texture, nonetheless it wouldn't be American-style kung pao chicken without one.