Stir-fried chicken, shiitake mushrooms and vegetables are tossed in a delicious oyster sauce.
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If you really want to learn how to cook, then you need to practice the concepts taught in this lesson. We've compiled some "edible exercises" along with some supporting recipes that will help reinforce what was taught in this lesson.
Your first task is to stock up on some staple ingredients for stir-frying. Cornstarch, Shao Hsing rice wine (or dry sherry), soy sauce (light and dark), peanut oil, toasted sesame oil, oyster sauce, sambal oelek, rice, unseasoned rice vinegar, fermented black beans, and dried, red chilies are a good place to start. It may seem like a lot, but once your pantry is stocked, these ingredients can last quite a long time. In terms of produce, purchase some ginger and garlic (more than you think you’ll need), some green onions and make sure you have some chicken stock on hand (preferably home made stock but a low-sodium brand will do).
Start easy. Make the Chicken & Shiitake Stir-Fry below, following the stir-frying steps in the lesson. Do not get hung up if you can’t find fresh shiitake mushrooms, substitute another type of mushroom such as crimini or button. This practice recipe is for two people, so make sure you divide the mise en place in half and stir-fry one portion at a time. This will help you practice and learn how fast ingredients cook when using high heat. Remember that stir-frying is one of the most advanced cooking techniques. It will take some time and plenty of practice to become extremely comfortable with the technique so you can produce consistent results.
Work your way through the practice recipes below. Commit to making at least one stir-fry a week. Experiment making the same stir-fry but cut all of the ingredients differently.
Make a batch of the Oyster-Chili Stir-Fry Sauce and keep this in your refrigerator. It will keep for a very long time. By following the basic guidelines in this lesson, you will be able to build a stir-fry with ingredients that you have on hand using any combination of aromatics, vegetables and a bit of meat (if desired). You’ll be able to turn a few vegetables into something rather tasty. Practicing and becoming comfortable with the technique of stir-frying will open up a whole repertoire of possibilities. By having a few sauces in your back pocket, you’ll also be able to create different meals at a moment’s notice.
Note: Cooked rice or grains are often served alongside a stir-fry. Because stir-fries and their sauces are often highly seasoned, the rice or grain itself is often kept plain (in many cases, it’s not even seasoned with salt).
For a more advanced stir-fry, try velveting (see the Velveted Chicken with Snow Peas practice recipe below). Either water- or oil-blanch the chicken. Keep in mind that you can incorporate velveted poultry, meat or shellfish into nearly any stir-fry.
In partnership with:
Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver