Traditional recipes

Cooking Class: Stir-Frying

Cooking Class: Stir-Frying

Stir-frying is a fast and fresh way to cook. Simply toss and turn bite-sized pieces of food in a little hot oil in a wok over high heat, and in five minutes or less, the work is done. Vegetables emerge crisp and bright. Meats are flavorful, tender, and well seared.

Stir-frying fits hectic lifestyles and health-conscious tastes. It works wonders with September's end-of-season bounty―fresh ingredients such as bell peppers, zucchini, and corn―and because foods cook in a flash, vegetables retain their color and texture. It's a versatile technique you can use every day.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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Stir-frying was first developed in China as a cooking method that worked efficiently on simple brick stoves. The typical stovetop had a hole over the fire chamber. A round-bottomed wok fit over the lipped hole, capturing the heat efficiently. All it took was a small, hot fire to make the wok very hot. Oil and chopped food were stirred and tossed in the pan, cooking in minutes and making efficient use of precious fuel.

What stir-frying does

The high temperature required for stir-frying sears food quickly and preserves the natural juices. It takes only minutes (two to five, usually), so vegetables stay bright and crisp, meat browned and succulent. When the heat is high and the cooking quick, the Cantonese describe the result as wok hay―loosely translated "the breath of a wok." It's a difficult quality to define, but you can experience it in the first few moments after food is removed from the wok. The food tastes vibrant and fresh, characterized by concentrated, harmonious flavors with a hint of smokiness. To appreciate wok hay, serve food immediately.

Best bets for stir-frying

Most vegetables cut into thin, bite-sized pieces are ideal, especially those with high moisture content, such as summer squash and bell peppers. Denser vegetables like broccoli work well, too, but may need to either be blanched first or allowed to steam briefly with a little liquid after the initial stir-frying to become tender. Leafy greens such as spinach cook in seconds once they hit the hot oil.

Tender cuts of meat―such as chicken breasts, flank steak, or pork tenderloin―stir-fry beautifully when cut into thin, bite-sized strips. Avoid large or tough chunks of meat from items such as pork shoulder or beef stew meat, which require long, slow cooking to become tender. Shrimp, scallops, and firm-fleshed fish such as halibut work well, but delicate, flaky fish such as flounder or tilapia may fall apart.


All you need for stir-frying are a wok and a broad, curved spatula. A wok, which is shaped like a big, wide bowl with high sloping sides, is designed for stir-frying. The curve of the pan makes it easy for a spatula to scrape down the sides and toss the food without accidentally turning it out of the pan.

The best choice for the typical home cooktop is a rolled carbon steel or enamel-clad cast-iron wok, 14 inches across, with a flat bottom. Carbon steel woks often cost less than 20 dollars at retail stores or online sources, while enamel-clad cast-iron woks are pricier at about $160 or more. (Round-bottom woks may work on gas burners but will not sit steadily on electric ranges.) Over time and with frequent use, carbon steel and cast-iron woks darken and develop a patina that effects a natural nonstick finish (see Caring for your Wok). Avoid pans that come with a nonstick finish, as they can't be used over high heat and the finish deters browning.

In place of a wok, a 12-inch stainless-steel sautée pan with sloped sides can be used. Choose one that conducts heat well. Since these pans don't develop a nonstick patina, they often require more oil for cooking, and food may stick more readily. With the flatter shape and shallow sides of the pan, it's also a bit harder to move the food.

You'll also need a wide spatula. Wok spatulas, shaped like wide shovels, are slightly curved so they can easily slide down the sides of the pan. A lid is helpful for dense vegetables that may need to be briefly steamed at the end of cooking.

Size wise

When stir-frying, foods must be cut into thin, bite-sized pieces so they'll cook quickly. Generally, they should be of similar shape and size. If the sizes vary widely, foods will cook unevenly.

Mise en place

Stir-frying proceeds at a fast pace and takes attention. The total cooking time may only be five or so minutes, which doesn't allow time to prepare ingredients midstream. Read the recipe through, then cut, measure, and mix ingredients, and set them near the wok. Get out the serving dish. Then turn on the heat.


Choose an oil that can take high heat. An all-purpose, neutral-flavored oil such as canola oil works well. Don't waste expensive extra- virgin olive oil or dark sesame oil for stir-frying. The high heat will diminish the distinctive taste. Use them only at the end or in a marinade to add flavor. Avoid butter, which burns easily at high temperatures.


Preheat the wok on high heat until it is very hot, at least two minutes. It is hot enough to cook on if you see a little smoke rise from the wok, or if you flick a drop of water into the pan and it sizzles rapidly and instantly evaporates. Add oil and rotate the wok so oil coats the surface. The oil will become hot immediately and ripple across the surface.

Make room

Stir-fry thinly sliced meat in small batches of six ounces or less, so the pan is not overcrowded―otherwise, you risk a soggy result. With less juicy foods, cornstarch-coated pieces, or thicker pieces such as shrimp, you can sometimes cook up to one pound at a time. Limit vegetables to about four to six cups at a time (or eight to 10 cups for leafy greens). If you use more than one vegetable, add the thickest, densest pieces first, followed by smaller, thinner pieces so everything is done cooking at the same time.

Keep moving

Once the food is in the pan, it needs to be constantly flipped to prevent burning. Use your spatula to efficiently scoop the food.


Sauteing & Stir-Frying: Can you cook with water instead of oil? It’s as simple as it sounds when learning how to saute without oil or stir-fry, and yes, all you need is water.

The best technique is to start with a small amount of water (about 1-2 tablespoons), adding in an extra tablespoon at a time, if it gets dry until you’re finished sauteing. Be sure to watch your pan closely so the water doesn’t completely evaporate. For added flavor, you can use your favorite broth instead of water or even wine.

Browning & Caramelizing: Oil is not necessary for browning or caramelizing. These effects can be achieved when you’re cooking without oil you just need to allow for more time. The best way to achieve this is to saute vegetables without oil and water, preferably in a hot, non-stick pan.

They will begin to release their own water and start to brown. Give them plenty of time until you see the browning. Keep turning them in the pan until they have caramelized. Watch the video on how to saute vegetables without oil.

The brown bits that are left in the pan add a ton of flavor so “deglaze” the pan by adding a little liquid and stirring until the bits lift and flavor the liquid.

Steaming: Steaming is a quick and easy way of cooking veggies without oil. When you steam, rather than boil, your vegetables, you retain more of the nutrients in the vegetables. As far as seasoning goes, wait until after the veggies are steamed before you add any herbs, spices, or sauces.

Depending on what you’re cooking, you can steam these onions in as little as three minutes.

The Art of Stir-Frying #GiveawayCraftsy

As part of our pre-“The Breath of a Wok” warmup, I am giving away my Craftsy “The Art of Stir-Frying“online cooking class (valued at $44.99) to two lucky winners. Nearly 9,000 students have taken my Craftsy class. It currently has 155 five star reviews. If you’ve already taken the class you can give it as a gift. And because it’s online you can enjoy lifetime access to the class.

–“Grace Young is a born teacher…which is a rare and wonderful thing. I have purchased about 20 Craftsy cooking and baking classes, but this is the first where I have made every recipe – and enjoyed the results. I even tossed my non-stick wok, bought the wok she recommended and seasoned it – as she beautifully demonstrated. I can now say that I am glad I took this class, glad I switched to the carbon steel wok.”

–“I bought a wok a few years ago, but have rarely used it. After learning so much from this class I am cooking up a storm! I love how organized this class is. The instruction is clear and builds perfectly to increasing skills and techniques. I highly recommend this class!!”

–“I purchased the class, the wok and the ingredients…. all I can say is…WOW! The recipes are AMAZING! AMAZING! I have made the recipes a dozen times or more by now and they are SOOO good….. much, MUCH better than the local stir-fry take-out!”

To enter to win my Craftsy “The Art of Stir-Frying” class submit a photo of your wok on the Wok Wednesdays Facebook page (you’ll have to join the group) by September 19, 2016. Have fun with this assignment. The shot can be a close-up of your wok showing off its patina, a portrait of you and your wok, or an action shot of your wok being used for cooking. Let loose your wok photo creativity. If sadly you don’t have a wok, take a photo of your favorite cooking pan for stir-frying. Please include the hashtag #GiveawayCraftsy

The Craftsy “The Art of Stir-Frying” class will be sent to the two winners the day we announce the winners. (Open to Us Addresses Only!) Good luck to all!

How I became “The accidental voice of Chinatown”

S ince January 2020, my beloved Chinatown here in New York has been under siege. Due to the ongoing pandemic, a multitude of restaurants and businesses have closed permanently, while others struggle to remain open. Most eateries and shops that have survived have still not returned to pre-COVID business, and this is not sustainable. Over the past year, as I watched this tragedy unfold, I realized Chinatown (actually Chinatowns everywhere) was in dire need of someone to speak for this treasured ethnic community wavering on the brink of extinction. It needed an advocate, a dedicated voice to rally the press and public to this crisis. I became one of those voices, along with many others who have since responded to the need.

Yes, it seems I’ve become “the accidental voice of Chinatown,” as New York magazine’s Grub Street blog christened me at the beginning of the year. Thankfully, a broad range of national media and food-related organizations (see below) have heard the call to save Chinatown and Chinese mom-and-pop restaurants all across the country: Smithsonian, Vogue, Food & Wine, Huffington Post, and have run interviews and stories about my work as have Splendid Table, Thrillist, and Serious Eats Special Sauce podcast. Every mention helps because right now the one thing that’s needed is to get word out that our steady patronage is vital to the survival of Chinatown and AAPI businesses across the country.

I invite you to join me, going forward, in supporting any and all efforts to save Chinatown and AAPI mom and pop businesses. Last year I partnered with the James Beard Foundation to start the #SaveChineseRestaurants Instagram campaign.To participate post your favorite dish from your local Chinese restaurant with the hashtag #SaveChineseRestaurants. This campaign is ongoing and I urge everyone who loves Chinatown and AAPI mom-and-pop businesses as I do, to add their posts.

In January 2021, I launched my own Support Chinatown Fund, in partnership with the grass-roots organization Welcome to Chinatown. My aim was to raise $20,000 to provide nutritious hot meals for low-income, food-insecure, and at-risk senior residents in NYC. We’ve reached over $40,000 which means we can provide more than 4,000 meals! Let’s keep it going! The meals are purchased from Chinatown restaurants and distributed by community partners that serve neighbors in need. Your gift of $10 will help deliver a delicious meal for an in-need resident while providing critical income to struggling Chinatown eateries. In April, I partnered with Asian Americans For Equality for the Safe With Sound campaign to raise money for personal security alarms for the AAPI community. So far, we’ve raised over 24,000!

I will keep you posted on my work and I ask you to please keep showing up, especially now as Chinatown continues to face the challenges of anti-Asian hate crimes. For those of us who love Chinatowns, wherever they may be, this is our time to step up.

Here are some articles in case you want to read more about the work that I’m doing.

How to Make Stir Fry

A great stir-fry typically consists of three important components: protein, vegetables, and sauce. For a basic stir-fry, start with 1 pound of protein and 2 pounds of vegetables, and a basic stir-fry sauce (recipe below). Optionally, you can add in aromatics or herbs to change the flavor profile of your dish.


  • 1 lb. chicken, beef, or pork cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 lbs. vegetables, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp aromatics, such as garlic, ginger, or shallots (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as basil or cilantro (optional)
  • Basic Stir Fry Sauce (see below)

1. Set a large wok or frying pan over medium-high heat and allow it to get screaming hot. Swirl in 2 Tablespoons of oil (1 Tablespoon if using a non-stick pan).

2. Add your meat and cook until browned on each side (and cooked through if using chicken or pork). Remove the browned meat from the pan and set aside on a plate.

Asian Cooking Class

What You’ll Learn
We will explore the five major flavours of Asian cuisine and emphasising on authentic flavours, aromas, and presentation.

Students will be introduce to Asian spices and aromtics which are commonly used in local and Asian cuisines.

Students will also practice knife-skills, stir-frying and building balanced flavors as we put together a local feast.

Fee Includes
Cooking and preparation of 3 courses meal, demonstration and hands on 3 hour session.
All ingredients, tools and equipment.
Aprons + printed out recipes.
Each participant will take home his/her own dishes in a special takeaway containers!

Classes will only be confirmed once there is enough participation registered. Your credit card will not be charged until the class is confirmed.

You’ll be informed via email once there is sufficient participation registered.

Welcome to our cooking studio! Our resident chef will start off the session by giving a short introduction on the course outline and a kitchen safety and orientation brief.

Our chef will be doing a cooking demo on the class's menu and also the techniques and skills you need to know when you are working with the dishes.

You will get 2 hours to cook your dishes. Our chefs will be walking around to assist and guide you along!

You will get to sit down and taste your own cooking at our dining area specially set up for you after the class!

Cooking Class - Wok Skills 101: Stir Frying Basics

Chef Wearing a Mask Chef Providing Masks Social Distancing Friendly

Get ready to learn to walk the wok and make better stir fry with Chef Pao.

In this hands-on class with Chef Pao, you will learn how to prepare a flavor-forward four-course dinner menu using Asian-style ingredients and cooking techniques that take vegetables, meat, and aromatics from raw to crisp in seconds.

Chef Pao will begin by teaching you everything you need to know to master cooking in a wok. Then, you'll learn how to prepare dishes including fried egg rolls, your choice of chicken, seafood or vegetable stir fry over rice for your entrée, and a coconut cream cake for dessert.

Guests are welcome to provide wine and beer to enjoy during the class.

Special BYO Fried Rice

Fried Egg Rolls

With chicken, pork or vegetables and egg roll sauce

Stir Fry

With chicken, seafood or vegetables over jasmine white rice

Coconut Cream Cake

  • Minimum Guests 2
  • Maximum Guests 10
  • Meal Courses 4
  • Event Duration 2 hours
  • Labels Asian, Chinese, Couples, Date Night, Group

Cozymeal guest reviews for this experience

Learning how to make sushi from Chef Pao was so fun. He is very organized and calm, and when he starts teaching about sushi you can clearly see how passionate he is about it. I can't wait to recreate everything I learned during our time together!

Cozymeal guest reviews for other experiences with Chef Pao

Great experience!! We are already planning our next class! Thank you for your time and expertise!

Great experience and chef!

Guest reviews for Chef Pao

Chef Pao’s service was excellent! He went above and beyond to made sure everything was perfect. Everyone raved about the food. Thank you for making the event excellent!!

Food was great and I loved it.

Great sushi, and knowledgeable about the fish.

Chef Pao's cooking is exceptional and entertaining. He enjoys teaching about culinary art techniques and cooking methods, so he won't disappoint if you have the chance to see him cook and learn from him. As with the dishes he creates, there is no disappointment. He is passionate and it shows through the flavor he extracts from simple ingredients. All in all, he can always bring a unique twist on classic dishes, and that is probably what I enjoy the most about his cooking style.

Pao has excellent people skills and truly cares about how what he teaches to others! He’s passionate and creative when it comes to perfecting his craft, I highly recommend choosing him to learn more about what his cuisine can offer!

Very good chef and dedicated to his craft. He is very knowledgeable about his craft.

Had a great meal made by my friend !! Egg rolls and cheese puffs were very nice .

Made some egg-rolls and fried rice for my family! Delicious and everyone loved it! Very good food.

Ginger in Chinese Stir Fry

Ginger is one of the most widely used spices in stir-fry dishes in Chinese cuisine. This super-easy, Chinese stir fry recipe is the perfect dish for people who love simple yet tasty flavors. Ginger is a big part of Chinese culture, heavily used in Chinese medicine, ginger is believed to help balance the qi and body fluids of an individual.

When it comes to Chinese dishes, it is believed to help neutralize the harmful effects of the other ingredients in the dish.

In just 30 minutes, you can serve yourself a filling plate of Chinese stir fry over a bed of steamed rice.


  • 1 tbsp of canola oil
  • 1 and a half cup of chopped broccoli
  • 1 tbsp of water
  • 3⁄4 cup of carrots (julienned)
  • 1 and a half cup of snow peas
  • 6 pieces of shiitake mushrooms (slivered)
  • Half a cup of sliced water chestnuts (drained)
  • A clove of garlic (minced)
  • Half a tsp of fresh ginger (minced)
  • 3 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp of chicken broth
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch


  1. Heat up a frying pan over medium heat and add the oil and wait till it starts to heat up.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add in the broccoli and 1 tbsp of water and saute for a minute.
  3. When the broccoli is bright green, add the snow peas, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, water chestnuts and ginger and stir-fry for a minute or two.
  4. To make the sauce, get a small bowl and combine the chicken broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch and mix until smooth.
  5. Add the sauce to the frying pan and sautee for another minute.
  6. Plate up your delicious stir-fry dish over a bed of steamed rice.

Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge 'A Taste of History' Kitchen Daily Memorial Day recipes

Grace Young is the undisputed doyenne of Chinese cuisine. She has won numerous awards for her cookbooks, which include "The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen" and "The Breath of a Wok."

This newest tome is a beauty, with many full-page photos and dozens of master-class steps that show such essentials as how to prepare vegetables for stir-frying for optimum cooking, how to season a new wok, and how to select ingredients for the ideal wok-cooking pantry. (Think chili oil and fermented black beans, for starters.)

Among the many recipes are some we don't usually think of as stir-fry fare: Stir-Fried Mussels with Ginger and Scallions, Stir-Fried Aromatic Potatoes, Chinese Trinidadian Chicken with Mango Chutney. She includes master recipes, too, such as Cashew Chicken, Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Sichuan Pepper and Salt, and Stir-Fried Chicken with Black Bean Sauce.

Individual profiles of Chinese chefs, along with stories about the history of Chinese cuisine in America, make this a fascinating read. Young explains in compelling prose the brilliant roles the wok and stir-frying have played in both cultures.


"A Taste of History" on MPTV Channel 10

Hosted by chef Walter Staib, a specialist in 18th-century cuisine, this show looks at cooking in "the birthplace of America" in the late 1700s, which includes Philadelphia, Valley Forge and Delaware.

Next Tuesday at 6 p.m. is the second of four parts broadcast from the kitchen at Monticello in Virginia, where Thomas Jefferson introduced American society to the pleasures of European cuisine.

Staib explains how food was harvested and stored, visits the beer and wine cellars and the ice house, and then prepares Bouilli, a boiled beef dish that was one of Jefferson's favorites.


This is Kitchen Daily's Memorial Day recipes, including Dark Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookies.

Watch the video: HFD Cooking Class - Stir Fry #8 (December 2021).