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Old 04-26-2005, 04:00 PM   #21
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There is some sugar and a bit of salt in hoisin sauce, but it is very flavorful. So you don't need that much.

You might try combining a teaspoon of it with a teaspoon of low sodium kikkoman (i use that too -- it's great), adding in some grated or minced ginger and garlic and see how it tastes. You might need to cut it with water or you might think it needs more soy sauce or could stand a bit more hoisin.

Adding a wee bit of corn starch thickens up the sauce, too.

If it's the sugar you worry about, you might consider trading off by using the hoisin sauce and cutting back on rice.

If it's the sodium you worry about, maybe try the hoisin w/out the addition of extra soy sauce.

If it's about making your stir fry tasty so that you eat veggies, then experimenting with different sauces is probably a good idea, IMO.

One other thing, it's good to get an idea of the nutritional value of the veggies you're using. Celery, onions, mushrooms and water chestnuts, for example aren't nutritional powerhouses, so you'd want to add them as accents, not as main ingredients. You want to make several vegetables that pack a nutritional punch (like those good dark green ones) the star of the stir fry and add other stuff for a little variety and texture.

Here's a quick look at the numbers on veggies: http://www.healthalternatives2000.com/vegchart.htm

Here's A LOT of detail on most all foods, from the USDA


Here's some info on common chinese stir fry ingredients: http://asiarecipe.com/asianveg.html

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Old 04-26-2005, 04:42 PM   #22
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You know that I love to jump into these kinds of topics. I love to share what I know. But all of the postings have been so informative, and right on the mark that I simply can't add much. About the only thing is that moxt stir-fried veggies that lend themselves to the technique, are biased sliced, I would think to make them take a bit longer to cook, thereby preserving the natural vitamins and minerals from being denature by heat. Typical veggies that can be bias sliced include bok choy, celery, carrots, parsnips, etc. You will find the flavor of the slightly crispy veggies more bright, more intense, than their fully-cooked conterparts. That is part of the appeal of stir-frying. It produces better flavor, and healthier food.

Other foods that can be added to stir fry veggies include shrimp, clams, scallops, pork, chicken, beef, cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, nuts such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, and cashews.

You don't have to have a sauce if you don't want one. But you certainly can have sauces of great variety. By all means, if one of your favorite sauces with beef is A1 Steak Sauce, then use it. If you love Tabascoe Sauce, use it. If you prefer a fruity sauce, then plum sauce, or pineapple sweet & sour sauce might be the answer. Don't limit yourself. Be creative. Add sun dried tomato if you want, or pepper flakes. There are a host of spices that can add to the dish, such as chinese 5-apice powder, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt, MSG, onion, and a host of others.

Remember, you are cooking for your taste, not mine, or anyone else's here on DC. The food must taste good to you. I like my veggies slightly undercooked. My wife insists that hers be very soft. Ok. I take my portion out earlier and let her's cook longer. I also have to turn down the heat because if I cook on very high heat until her veggies are soft enough, they will be slightly scorched, and she is very sensitive to hot and bitter. No pepper, or dark brown to black color on her food thank you.

So experiment, then adjust your technique until you get your desired results.

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Old 04-26-2005, 06:12 PM   #23
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It's not difficult at all. The way you make it easy is to sit and chat with friends or listen to music and cut/chop/slide everything up prior to even beginning to heat your pan. You can even do some of these things the day before. All the work is really just in the prep work and how difficult an slicing/cutting/chopping be? It's just time-consuming. But it's very much worth it.

Try this recipe for starters Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

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Old 04-26-2005, 06:39 PM   #24
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My across-the-road neighbor made the best stir fry. She used peanut oil and added sesame oil just before everything was taken up. She used different kinds of squash, peppers, carrots, onions, peas, and probably something I can't think of now. She varied the main part by using chicken, shrimp, sliced beef, pork, etc. She always had a big pot of rice and I was very happy when she brought our dinner over. I'd never had anyone just bring us dinner for no reason. I miss her.
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Old 04-27-2005, 10:30 AM   #25
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what a flood of good information. im going to try this sometime this week....i may just buy a premade stir fry at Central Market..they have a bunch of fresh stir fries... american stir fry, thai stir fry, chinese stir fry.. etc etc........ my mom is also sending me a Wok.......
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Old 04-27-2005, 12:19 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Mylegsbig
what a flood of good information. im going to try this sometime this week....i may just buy a premade stir fry at Central Market..they have a bunch of fresh stir fries... american stir fry, thai stir fry, chinese stir fry.. etc etc........ my mom is also sending me a Wok.......
That's great. Don't hesitate to experiment until you get the hang of it. I see lots of different veggie mixes in the frozen food section that are made for stir-frys. You can pick the combo you like and try it out.

If you want to start out slowly, there are several brands of ready-made stir-fry sauces in bottles you can use in your experiments. They are an easy way to find out the kinds of things you like and dislike so you can focus on those you like most.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 05-06-2005, 06:53 AM   #27
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MLB, Don't completely abandon your original concept of stir fry, it just isn't stir fry. It's Mediterranean. Simply adjust your seasonings (lose the soy, grate some parm over it when done), and go with it (great over angel hair or other pasta).

I read all the posts, and though it was alluded to, don't think anyone outright said it (forgive me if I'm wrong). Peanut oil in stir fries is because it can take the high heats involved without burning/smoking. Olive oil smokes and burns at quite low heats, plus, as others have said, gives that European flavor that you don't really want if your aim is Asian. Sesame oil, by the way, is only added towards the end as a flavoring, not for cooking.
There are a lot of truly great bottled sauces for stir-frying on the market right now that make short-cuts fun and easy. While I often make my own stir fry sauces, I also love San-J Szechuan and House of Tsang peanut sauces for something different in a pinch.
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Old 06-04-2005, 09:09 AM   #28
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Peanut oil is typically used becuase it has about the highest smoke point of any cooking oil. Olive oil has amongst the lowest and is not a good idea for stir fry for that reason.
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Old 06-18-2005, 09:35 AM   #29
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Ever seen a WOK burner? Butane and Big! The pan is perfectly spherical (about 1/3 of a sphere) and fits in a special craddle so you can swing and tilt over the burner. The spatchula's edge is cut to make full contact inside the pan. Then it's a two arm movement to spinning , swinging and tilting the pan while scraping and tossing with the spatchula. Peanut oil is used because it has the highest flash point (when it ignites) and smoke point (when it smokes). The most important part is having enough oil in the pan. Do not dry fry! or worry about it being oily. It's always drained on cardboard or paper before serving. In fact an item fried at super high heat will actaully come out less oily because of the crispy outside. WOK is an attitude towards life! The heat cranked, lots of oil, in and out of the pan.!
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Old 06-18-2005, 10:03 AM   #30
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i love making stir fries.i made one just 2 days ago,and it was really good with fried rice.

I use a wok and heat very little peanut oil or sometimes veg oil over very high heat,then i fry small boneless pieces of chicken that have been marinated in a little vinegar and salt,then i take them out,and put in veggies that take longest to cook like bell peppers,onions,carrots,and add other veggies like peas,bok choy,scallions at the end,the total cooking time of all the veggies is just 3-4 minutes,so that they stay crunchy.At the end i add the sauce that i make by combining some hoisin sauce,dark soy sauce,some brown sugar,honey,a tsp of sesame oil,ginger,minced garlic,salt,red chilli flakes,a little black pepper.You could add some corn starch to thicken the sauce if u find it too runny.i usually add a little corn flour into the sauce ,and it works just fine.After i take the stir fry out into the serving dish,i garnish it with some fried or toasted cashews and toasted sesame seeds.

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