Published November 1, 2007.
Home stovetops often yield watery stir-fries with steamed meat and underdone vegetables. But with the proper technique, you can stir-fry like a pro.
A wok doesn't work well on a home stove. While the bottom of a traditional round wok reaches an average of 564 degrees (a temperature sufficient to brown meat and vegetables), the temperature drops by more than 100 degrees halfway up the edge—good for steaming but not for searing. And adding the vegetables all at once leaves some underdone and others mushy.
We wanted to identify both the right pan and technique to consistently produce a great stir-fry.
The right pan is a nonstick skillet. Its flat shape allows the entire surface to stay above 550 degrees, hot enough to achieve a good sear. The right technique is a combination of six rules: 1) Start with the right cut (we like flank steak, sirloin tip steaks, and blade steaks). 2) Freeze the meat for 20 to 30 minutes to make slicing easier and cut across the grain to keep the meat tender. 3) Give the meat a 10-minute marinade to add flavor and help the meat retain moisture. 4) Use a big pan, at least 12 inches. 5) Cook the meat and vegetables in batches. The meat needs space to brown, and some vegetables need more cooking time than others. 6) Add garlic and ginger last so they don't burn.list of recipes