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The secret art of stir-fry cooking.

The Secret Art of Stir-fry Cooking Mmmmm! What's cooking? It's Chinese stir-fry, and it's as nutritious as it is delicious. But the best part is: It's easy. That's right, easy. Roll up your sleeves, come on in the kitchen and see. Stir-frying is a cooking method in which ingredients are sauteed quickly over high heat in a small amount of oil. This method preserves the nutritional value of food, as well as its taste, color and texture. Although a wok can come in handy, if you don't have one, you can stir-fry just as well with an electric skillet or frying pan. The recipe on the next page is a starting point for a variety of stir-fry dishes. Once you learn the basics, you can devise your own stir-fry recipes based on your own tastes, your energy level, and what's on hand in your cupboard. The most time-consuming and cumbersome aspect of stir-frying is chopping the ingredients into bite-sized pieces. But you can vary the number of items that need to be chopped or sliced depending on how much energy you have and how much work your joints are up to. For instance, if your joints are stiff, use canned corn or frozen green peas instead of hard-to-chop vegetables like carrots. Canned bamboo shoots and water chestnuts are available pre-sliced. For people who just aren't up to chopping at all, many supermarkets are now carrying fresh, pre-sliced and packaged stir-fry vegetables. Or let the nearest restaurant offering a salad bar do the work for you. Just stop by and pick up the items you need!

Most supermarkets also carry fresh minced garlic and offer pre-sliced chicken and beef for stir-fry. If yours doesn't, you can chop a quantity of meat ahead of time when you're feeling good, marinate it and freeze it in meal-size portions. Of course, another tactic is to have a family member do the chopping and you do the cooking.

Entertaining with flair

The fun of stir-frying is that no one will guess it's as easy as it is. Besides making a fun and nutritious meal for your family, a meal from the Far East is a festive way to entertain dinner guests.

When entertaining, add Oriental flair to the event by picking up egg rolls or other Chinese appetizers from your favorite Chinese restaurant. And don't forget the fortune cookies for dessert! Add some colorful chopsticks to the table setting and you're entertaining in style.

But--shhhhh! Don't tell 'em how easy it was!

Basic stir-fry 3/4 cup meat (choose from the list below) 4 cups vegetables

(choose several from the list below)
1 tsp. garlic          1/2 cup bottled stir-fry sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce      Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. olive or       Ginger powder

vegetable oil

Chop meat into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle with salt, pepper and ginger powder. Toss with soy sauce and set aside to marinate. Chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces and combine in one bowl.

Heat wok or skillet on Medium High setting. When hot, add 1 Tbsp. of oil and quickly coat bottom of pan. Immediately add meat and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes, tossing with a spatula until browned. Remove meat from pan. Add remaining oil and quickly coat bottom of pan. Add vegetables and cook 3-4 minutes, tossing with a spatula. Return meat to pan, reduce heat and mix in bottled stir-fry sauce. Stir well and serve over rice or noodles. Suggested meats: chicken, shrimp, beef strips Suggested vegetables: broccoli, onions, mushrooms, snow peas, bean sprouts, green or red bell peppers, cauliflower, squash, carrots, celery, peas, corn, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, etc.
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Title Annotation:includes recipe
Author:Witter, Dianne C.
Publication:Arthritis Today
Date:May 1, 1989
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