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Old 05-09-2010, 06:34 PM   #1
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Blanching vegetables before stir frying Chinese??

One of my ultimate goals as a cook is to cook Chinese food at home that tastes just like what I get at the restaurant. I have a cupboard full of just about every Chinese sauce, condiment, spice ..... you can get. Every time i order take in, i stand at the counter and kinda watch them cook in the back to see if i can pick up a few things Im not doing at home.

Anyway, the reason for this post is, I was watching them make a tofu/ mixed vegetable dish. That is when I noticed them dunk the vegetables in a pot filled with liquid ( stock or water, not sure) for a minute or two. Then draining them. And then adding them to the stir fry for literally seconds and finally placing the dish into the take out container.

Every time I stir fry at home, i put the oil in the wok, and then add the raw veggies and do my thing. I was surprised to have seen this pre-blanch method.

I did a little research and found online that this is done to preserve the color, limit the amount of time in the stir fry ( therefore using less oil), and to get a more evenly cooked vegetable ( especially those that are firmer like carrots, broccoli).

I was wondering if anyone else does it this way, or their thoughts on this method.

larry

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Old 05-09-2010, 07:06 PM   #2
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Never did that. Never saw it done. It's certainly worth a try. Let us know how it effects the end product.

I don't know that you would use less oil.
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:34 PM   #3
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i often add left over vegs to a stir fry. not as crispy cooked just stirred in oil. but tasty anyhow
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
One of my ultimate goals as a cook is to cook Chinese food at home that tastes just like what I get at the restaurant. I have a cupboard full of just about every Chinese sauce, condiment, spice ..... you can get. Every time i order take in, i stand at the counter and kinda watch them cook in the back to see if i can pick up a few things Im not doing at home.

Anyway, the reason for this post is, I was watching them make a tofu/ mixed vegetable dish. That is when I noticed them dunk the vegetables in a pot filled with liquid ( stock or water, not sure) for a minute or two. Then draining them. And then adding them to the stir fry for literally seconds and finally placing the dish into the take out container.

Every time I stir fry at home, i put the oil in the wok, and then add the raw veggies and do my thing. I was surprised to have seen this pre-blanch method.

I did a little research and found online that this is done to preserve the color, limit the amount of time in the stir fry ( therefore using less oil), and to get a more evenly cooked vegetable ( especially those that are firmer like carrots, broccoli).

I was wondering if anyone else does it this way, or their thoughts on this method.

larry
Hi Larry, I always do it this way, it is for the color as well as cooking just ever so slightly...

Let us know if you try it, and how you feel it differs...
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Old 05-09-2010, 07:45 PM   #5
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P.S. where in long island are you from? I'm from long beach...
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Old 05-09-2010, 09:39 PM   #6
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I often blanch (or nuke) veggies in a stirfry - but not all of them. Usually just broccoli. I also precook the tofu, searing it to get some color on it.

If you nuke the veggies - just run some cold water over them to cool. Then you can hold them for a little while while you get your dish together - adding at the last minute to reheat and finish cooking.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:01 PM   #7
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larry, most chinese cooks i've seen blanch the harder veggies in chicken stock. broccoli, bok choy, carrots, celery, peppers, etc..

things like scallions, mushrooms, and bean sprouts are added after the stock has been dumped out since they're more delicate.

the stock they use is made from raw chicken carcasses with a little ginger and garlic that's simmered for hours with any scum skimmed off. a good one has a nice, dark golden colour and silky mouth feel without being oily.
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:36 AM   #8
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blanche/shock/then stir fry or glaze makes for delish veg in Asian or Euro cuisine
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:10 AM   #9
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P.S. where in long island are you from? I'm from long beach...
Grew up in Plainview, live in Port Jefferson, Work in Babylon
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:19 AM   #10
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Yup - I always blanch denser vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sometimes green beans, etc.) for a minute or two before stirfrying. Otherwise I find they can burn before they reach the ideal crisp-tender stage in the wok.

The only time I don't do this is if it's a braised Asian dish, because the braising will take care of the veggie density.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:22 AM   #11
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I just cant believe after all these years of cooking, watching cooking shows, attending cooking demonstrations and reading cook books, this is the first ive heard of this.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:23 AM   #12
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I just cant believe after all these years of cooking, watching cooking shows, attending cooking demonstrations and reading cook books, this is the first ive heard of this.

See you don't need anything but DC!
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:46 AM   #13
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I'm not sure that it would use less oil. BUT it would make it easier to get the timing correct. I sometimes find myself doing "in and out" with stir frying to make sure nothing is over or under cooked. Blanching some of the vegetables would eliminate that, and I'll definitely try it.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:51 AM   #14
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I'm not sure that it would use less oil. BUT it would make it easier to get the timing correct. I sometimes find myself doing "in and out" with stir frying to make sure nothing is over or under cooked. Blanching some of the vegetables would eliminate that, and I'll definitely try it.

I don't have super powerful burners so I cook stir-fry veggies in small batches. I'll do green pepper and remove it to a plate. Then mushrooms and remove, then onions, etc. This eliminates the timing because of different cooking times for different veggies. It allows me to stir-fry etch batch quickly.

I then combine the parts and finish the dish.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:49 PM   #15
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I just cant believe after all these years of cooking, watching cooking shows, attending cooking demonstrations and reading cook books, this is the first ive heard of this.
Me too Larry, me too!!
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:13 AM   #16
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Been doin' it for years. Wife loves broccoli but likes it softer than stir fried. I zap the tough veggies in the microwave for three or four minutes.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:18 PM   #17
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I consume a lot of stir-fry, both at home and out on the town, and this is the first I've heard of it. It makes a lot of sense though. Stir-frying in a wok is usually very brief cooking with very high heat. There's nothing worse than a vegetable that's slightly charred and well-cooked on the outside but cold and raw on the inside. For even cooking, I've mostly relied on cutting my vegetables relative to their cooking time (my carrots, for example, are sliced paper thin). Pre-blanching/nuking vegetables will add a whole new dimension to my stir-fries. Thanks for the tip, Larry, and all at DC!
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