If you like fabulous stir fry meals you may want to consider purchasing a Wok or stir fry pan.
These specialty pans are designed to do the job quickly and efficiently. Both pans are basically bowl shaped (fairly deep, sloped sides) and are used to quickly cook food over high heat.
What's the difference between the two?
The traditional type wok has a rounded bottom and is used over a flamed heat source.
This traditional round-bottom pan has been
"tweaked" a bit so stir-frying can be done more easily on our stove
The traditional pan was designed for use over an open flame. In other words, a stir fry pan usually has a flatter bottom for stability and a long handle for easier lifting and tossing.
Both pans have the fairly deep sloped sides to allow ingredients to cook at once as they are stirred or tossed about.
Both these pans come in a variety of sizes. A 9 inch pan is good if you're cooking for two. Both pans are made of various kinds of metal but for this particular cooking task I recommend a hard anodized surface.
So an easy way to describe a stir fry pan is to just say it is a flat bottom wok with a long handle.
The rounded wok usually comes with a "base" or "ring" that holds the pan over the flame steadily.
So what's the difference between stir frying and sautéing? Both are cooking methods that quickly cook ingredients with just a little oil, using high heat.
The difference between the two methods is that sautéing cooks serving sized pieces of meat. Stir frying involves cooking smaller size pieces cut into strips, cubed or diced, and these pieces are all similar in size.
Stir frying generally includes meat and other food ingredients cooked at different intervals, which are added together at the end of the cooking process to make one dish. They are cooked according to how quickly each food cooks, with the quickest added last.
Stir frying is a fast-paced cooking method so here is something VERY important to remember. Make certain everything you need for a recipe is ready (pre-measured and placed within easy reach) before you begin to cook.
Is either of these pans an absolute necessity for stir fry cooking? No.
Either pan simply makes the task easier. You can stir fry if you have a quality non-stick (anodized) skillet of adequate size and depth but you must be very attentive or you'll burn your food.
This is some very basic information but please check other online resources or, better yet, a local store for more details about these specialty pans.
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“I like to abide by the seasons and let the natural flavor in food speak for itself. I use quick cooking techniques of high heat with very little fat, such as quick sauté or wok stir-frying.”