Stir Fry or Saute?

Stir frying (Chinese: 炒; pinyin: chǎo) is a Chinese cooking technique in which ingredients are fried in a small amount of very hot oil while being stirred in a wok. The technique originated in China during the Han Dynasty, and in recent centuries has spread into other parts of Asia and the West. Today, it is a very popular style of cooking the world over. The method of stir frying is probably the most popular way of cooking and we just don’t realize it because we tend to think of stir frying as cooking something that is only Chinese or Asian, when in reality, every time we saute something, we are basically stir frying it. The main purpose of stir frying foods is to bring out and evaporate the moisture from the foods. 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 or a skillet over high heat, and in just a few minutes, the work is done. Vegetables emerge crisp and bright and meats come out nice and tender. Stir frying and sauteeing are very similar cooking methods, only there is usually a higher heat and a higher fat content used when stir frying than there is for sauteeing foods. Because stir fry cooking is a fast method of cooking, you want everything prepared before you start the cooking process, which I do anyway. This is called mis-en-place, or everything in its place and ready to go.

I did a stir fry/saute with garlic, rosemary, pork that I served over rice with sundried tomatoes, green onions and lemon zest. It was very tasty, and though I usually think of lemon as something for spring and summer, it was a very satisfying and tasty fall dish too. I finished it off with some potstickers and a nice buttery chardonnay.

Pork with Garlic and Rosemary

1-1 1/2 lbs pork cut into thin strips

1 zucchini or crookneck squash sliced thin, or 1/2 of each

1 1/2 TBSP garlic

1/4 red onion, sliced very thin

1-1 1/2 cups broccoli florets

2 TBSP sherry or brandy

2 TBSP water

1 TBSP lemon juice

2 tsp corn starch

3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped fine

salt & pepper to taste

1 TBSP lemon zest

peanut, canola or olive oil for cooking

I did not have enough pork to make this on its own, so I added some leftover chicken as well. I know in the picture it shows some sliced sausage. I was going to use that, but at the last minute, Larry decided he wanted to add the chicken instead. So as you can see, this dish lends itself to many different types of meat, and/or combinations. It is good with all of them too.

Combine the sherry, water, rosemary and cornstarch. I also added a bit more lemon juice to the mixture as well, to make it nice and lemony.

Get the oil very hot and cook the meat first. Then add the vegetables, garlic and onions and continue to cook until the vegetables are done. You want them to be slightly crisp. Then add the lemon juice and cook for about 1-2 more minutes.

Add the sherry and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

While the stir fry is cooking, cook your rice. You can use white rice, brown rice or even wild rice. I added chopped sundried tomatoes, with their oil, green onions, parsley and lemon zest to the rice once it was cooked.

Once everything is cooked, plate it up serving the stir fry pork over the rice. I also served it with some potstickers on the side as well.

It doesn’t matter if you call this dish a stir fry or a saute, either way, you are going to call it delicious. And as you can see, it is very versatile as well. Enjoy!

Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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