The secret to a great relationship also happens to be the secret to great food - heat.
Think of delicious stir-fries cooked over a flaming 170,000 BTU wok burner and it removes all doubt.
Interestingly enough stir-fries are not indigenous to Thai cuisine but rather introduced by the Chinese but have become so mainstream that it would be impossible to think of Thai food without this cooking technique - imagine a world without Pad Thai!
Since Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist nation, this permeates into the very core of its cuisine which results is foods using a lot of fresh ingredients, vegetables and green herbs rather than dry spices. Also, the meat is rarely cooked in big chunks but rather sliced into slivers and infused with flavored marinades.
Fusing stir-frying as a cooking technique with fresh ingredients of Thai cooking is a gateway to culinary heaven and a great way to treat oneself to a delicious week night meal.
Most of us don't have access to a 170,000 BTU wok burner and if we do, perhaps stand a risk of burning the house down! But even with the meagre 16,000 BTU stove in our home kitchens, we can still end up with a great stir-fry using these simple but key tips,
- Pre-heat the wok to very hot. When a drop of water sizzles when it hits the wok, the wok is ready to use.
- An inch of oil at the bottom of the wok is a good general rule of thumb to use while stir-frying. If the oil runs low, add more. (I said wok, not a flat pan)
- Keep that heat on high as much as possible but never below medium-high.
- All ingredients must be prepared in advance before hitting the stove. 90% of the time is spent at the cutting board and a mere 10% at the stove.
- 1/8" thick juliennes are the way to go - meat or veggies, keep it all the same thickness so they all cook at the same rate.
- Eat right off the heat. Stir-fries don't keep well so have the rice or noodles ready to go before beginning to stir-fry so you can sit at the table immediately.
I'm using beef sirloin which is a tough cut of meat so it is great cut into thin strips and use in stir-fries otherwise would need overnight marinating to use on the grill. Mind you, chicken thighs could also be used the exact same way and would be delicious.
To this I'm adding ginger, garlic, lemongrass, carrots, red bell peppers and a delicious sauce with Thai Sweet Chilli sauce, soy & sriracha. Off the heat, the stir-fry is tossed with fresh cilantro, mint & crunchy bean sprouts.