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Wet Stir Fries

 
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Matt



Joined: 30 Mar 2006
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 4:59 pm    Post subject: Wet Stir Fries Reply with quote

I was doing up a stir-fry last night, and found that at the end, there was a lot of moisture in the bottom.

After cooking the beef strips, I pulled them out and put in the marinade, but I had cooked it down to a thin sauce, so I don't think that's the source. The veggies seem to be the most likely suspect, but I'm not entirely sure how to avoid having them release all that moisture.

Is it perhaps that I'm using a flat-bottom wok on a gas stove? I've heard that flat works better for electric elements, while round works better for gas.

Any ideas on how to limit the "soup" at the bottom of my wok?
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Thor



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Posts: 112
Location: Camp Hill, PA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 5:52 pm    Post subject: Playing With Fire Reply with quote

I'm not quite sure by your description when you are adding what to your wok. But I suspect you need more heat.

Unless you are adding tomatoes or fruit, there really shouldn't be any moisture added to a stir fry by vegetables.

Meat can be more problematic. If your wok is not hot enuf to quickly sear the meat, meat will loose its juice, and you will end up braising your protein filled goodies in fluid instead of stir frying them. This can happen because your wok is not hot enuf when you add the meat. Or it can happen if you put too much meat in at one time for the size wok you are using. This can cause your wok to cool off excessively before the meat has a chance to sear. I have also noticed that previously frozen meat seems to loose more juice than fresh. Additionally, marinades should only coat the meat, not be a sauce of its own.

I have been using a flat bottom wok for some time on an electric stove, as round bottoms cannot be used on flat heat sources. My wok never got hot with electric. I am relearning to stir fry on my new gas stove with the same wok with no apparent negative impact due to its flatness. I get so much more heat that dishes I used to cook now taste entirely different, in a delicious way. My wok has completely reseasoned itself, the wooden handles are beginning to char, and I have a lot less hair on my knuckles.

So try more heat if your stove will do it, but (and a big BUT it is) don't try any more heat than you are comfortable applying, cause safety is more important than the perfect sear. A little extra moisture in an otherwise tasty stir fry is much easier to deal with than a trip to the burn ward.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1631
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It should be noted that using as much heat as possible is not a good idea for teflon coated woks. I recommend using a cast iron wok and heat cranked up as high as you can get it for the best results.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that's happened to me lots of times. Apparently, the problem is the heat is too low to sear the meat's exterior, thus the juices run out. So when the recipe says "medium heat", I go for "medium to high". Meat tastes better.
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Matt



Joined: 30 Mar 2006
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a stir-fry the other night at my new place, with my new wok, and what a difference! Surprisingly, the electric stove at my new place seems to put out more heat than the gas stove at my old place. Maybe it was because I was using a flat-bottom wok on the gas, and now I'm using the same style on electric.

I can safely say I've never been so happy to burn something in my life! *LOL*
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Thor



Joined: 24 Jul 2006
Posts: 112
Location: Camp Hill, PA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 11:18 pm    Post subject: You Can Stand the Heat Reply with quote

Congrats. You should not only notice improvements in meat texture, but you should also experience better flavor from dishes you've made before.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

add a little cornstarch/water mixture a minute before finishing cooking. that will make a nice glistening gravy.
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