The native guide; All about unique Japan google.com, pub-5441866818918003, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 VEGETABLE STIR FRY 101: JAPANESE COOKING TIPS TO AVOID YOUR VEGETABLE STIR-FRY MAKING WATERY | Japanmcconnell

VEGETABLE STIR FRY 101: JAPANESE COOKING TIPS TO AVOID YOUR VEGETABLE STIR-FRY MAKING WATERY

VEGETABLE STIR FRY 101: JAPANESE COOKING TIPS TO AVOID YOUR VEGETABLE STIR-FRY MAKING WATERY Food & Recipes

A stir fry dish is an easy and quick side or main dish that adds colors and savory.

Stir-fried vegetables are common in Japan and we call it “YASAI ITAME”.

Although it is an easy dish, it’ll be different whether you know the cooking tips or not to make nice snap vegetables without watery.

YASAI ITAME TIPS FOR VEGETABLE

Choosing vegetables with less water content is one of the tips.

The juicy vegetables make the stir-fry dish watery while cooking but also while serving on a platter.

Such as MOYASHI bean sprouts, they are great items for stir-frying but contain much water, so use a small amount or make thick sauce I talk about later.

Also, making a small batch as practice is better until you get experience in making stir-fry.

Cut Veggies To The Same Size

Cut the veggies into the same size, and thickness. (it does not mean cutting all kinds of veggies in the same size.) It allows the ingredients cooked evenly and quickly.

Besides, cut the leafy veggies bigger than the root veggies for a colorful and savory look.

Cut the veggies along the grain to avoid the water draining out of the veggies and keep a crisp texture.

FRESH AROMATICS

Mince or Julianne garlic and ginger. Use fresh aromatics rather than using powder. You can use scallion or leeks as additional aromatics.

Add chili peppers if you like spicy. I generally use dried red hot chili peppers but you can use fresh chili peppers of course.

I store minced garlic and chili peppers mix in a freezer so I can use it anytime quickly. Use a vegetable chopper, mince them in your favorite ratio, and freeze them in a flat.

Break up as much as you need, and throw in oil. *Caution the frost sometimes splutters.

Read this post if you want my garlic and chili pepper mix recipe.

I like to adjust the amount of ginger each time, so I don’t add ginger in my MIX, but, please do if you like.

CABBAGE/BOK CHOY

Put cabbage/napa cabbage/ bok choy to make the best stir fry at home. I recommend using napa cabbage in the wintertime since it increases its sweetness and UMAMI flavor.

Divide the Napa cabbage or bok choy into the leaf (green) parts and the stalk (white) parts to cook evenly and keep the crisp texture in the stalks.

BROCCOLI/CAULIFLOWER

Broccoli and cauliflower are great choices for stir-fry, and they get so sweet and crunchy. Parboiling them before cooking helps shorten cooking time without getting mushy.

Bring plenty of water to a boil in a deep pot and add a pinch of salt. Parboil broccoli or cauliflower cuts for 2-3 minutes depending on your size and amount.

You don’t need to boil them until they get soft.

Drain them into a colander and set aside. Avoid a water bath since it brings excess water to the dish.

PREPARE THE SEASONING AND THE SAUCE INGREDIENTS

MIX VEGETABLE STIR-FRY IN KETCHUP OYSTER SAUCE

Before starting to cook, prepare all ingredients for seasoning and the sauce and set them aside.

Also, all the veggies you cut should be around the stove.

Stir-fry is easy but it does not give you much time to prepare seasoning during the process.

MY STIR-FRY SEASONING AND SAUCE IDEAS

  • CHINESE CHICKEN SOUP POWDER + SOY SAUCE
  • CHINESE CHICKEN SOUP POWDER + SALT & PEPPER
  • CHINESE CHICKEN SOUP POWDER + OYSTER SAUCE + HOISIN SAUCE
  • CHINESE CHICKEN SOUP POWDER + MY JAPANESE BBQ SAUCE
  • CHINESE CHICKEN SOUP POWDER + MY TERIYAKI SAUCE
  • CHINESE CHICKEN SOUP POWDER + OYSTER SAUCE + SOY SAUCE + KETCHUP (COCKTAIL SAUCE)

Chinese chicken soup powder is often used in Japanese home cooking not only to make Asian soup but also to add rich umami flavor to stir-fry dishes.

As well Dashi powder is a must item for making Japanese food at home, and Chinese chicken soup powder is a handy item for making Asian food at home.

ASIAN CONDIMENTS YOU MAY LIKE TO USE

LAYU

Homemade Layu

La-yu is chili oil made of hot chili peppers, roasted sesame oil, and other exotic spices, which is often used to add spicy and sesame oil aroma for gyoza dipping sauce, ramen soup, mainly Chinese dishes, and tofu dishes in Japan.

Despite commercial Layu products is not for cooking, my homemade Layu chili oil can be used for cooking like the stir-fry recipe today.

Substitute 2 tbsp of homemade Layu chili oil for minced garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame oil.

By the way, don’t use my homemade chili oil if you don’t like spicy food.

*HOMEMADE LAYU RECIPE

SHIO-KOSHO

TAKE A PEEK INTO A JAPANESE PANTRY: DAISHO AJI-SHIO-KOSHO SALT AND PEPPER UMAMI SEASONING MIX

AJI-SHIO-KOSHO is an all-purpose seasoning and also can bring savory dishes without effort while simply shaking the bottle to ingredients.

You can use it not only for stir-fry dishes such as mixed vegetable stir-fry and fried rice but also for steak and fried chicken.

Switch salt and pepper to AJI-SHIO-KOSHO, thus, you can save a bit of time (cut the time to sprinkle salt and pepper), besides, avoid over-season since the ingredients of the seasoning mix are well-balanced and designed so the same amount comes out every time you shake the bottle.

AJI-SHIO-KOSHO can bring absolutely more savory flavor to this classic simple stir-fry dish!

TOASTED SESAME OIL

Japanese-Style BOK CHOY GREENS Stir Fry With Sesame Oil

Toasted sesame oil has a strong flavor, and its nutty aroma is essential to make Asian cuisine at home.

It adds deep-umami flavor and glaze to dishes to any Asian food like stir-fry, fried rice, dumplings, and noodle dishes. It can also be used to make Asian dressings.

It can be used for cooking oil yet the rich flavor likey is reduced while heating.

Use the toasted sesame oil at last while drizzling over the ingredients to enhance its rich nutty flavor.

My best-toasted sesame oil recommendation is OTTOGI PREMIUM ROAST SESAME OIL. It’s super-rich nutty flavor and can change everything that you know about sesame oil.

KEEP MEDIUM-HIGH/HIGH HEAT THROUGHOUT COOKING

It depends on the type of stove you use, keep medium-high or high heat throughout cooking. You can adjust the heat if needed, but, please keep the heat more than medium.

The very high heat is not needed if you think the ingredients cook too fast and start burning.

Too quick and too slow cooking induces the water from the ingredients, find moderate heat when making more stir-fry dishes.

START WITH THE DENSE VEGGIES

After you heat the aromatics until they are fragrant, cook the dense vegetables (dry, less water content, root vegetables) first since they need more time to cook compared with the leafy vegetables.

FOR THE FIRST 2-3 MINUTES

  • carrots
  • yellow onions

FOR THE NEXT 1-2 MINUTES

Then, add mushrooms, bell peppers, and stalks of Napa cabbage, or bok choy.

*If you are going to use sweet or red onion, add them to this point.

FOR THE LAST 1-2 MINUTES

Cook the leafy veggies and the vegetables don’t require much time such as MOYASHI bean sprouts, scallions, and parboiled broccoli/ cauliflower.

COOK SEPARATE

Cook separately each vegetable especially when making a big batch or you don’t want to rush to cook.

First, cook dense veggies then transfer to a platter. Oil the skillet and stir-fry the veggies without the leafy veggies such as mushrooms, bell peppers, and stalks of Napa cabbage, or bok choy.

Return the cooked dense veggies to the skillet, combine, and add the leafy veggies and the vegetables don’t require much time such as MOYASHI bean sprouts, scallions, and parboiled broccoli/ cauliflower.

MY TIP: STEAM THE DENSE VEGGIES WITH SAKE OR WINE

Adding 1- 2 tbsp of sake, white wine, or Chinese cooking wine provides a richer and sweeter Umami flavor to the stir-fry dish and it also saves the cooking time by trapping the steam in the skillet.

After coating the dense veggies in oil, add 1-2 tbsp of sake, white wine, or Chinese cooking wine. Immediately, cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat.

Avoid over-steaming because the stir-fry dish becomes watery and soggy.

Besides, this tip is better to use when making a big batch.

In this case, you can skip parboiling some vegetables such as broccoli/cauliflower.

Note that avoid steaming when you cut the vegetables relatively smaller or thinner.

ADD SALT & SOY SAUCE LAST

Salt and pepper (Chinese soup powder as well), also a stir-fry sauce should be added at the last minute since they bring the water out from the ingredients.

After adding salt or the sauce, combine the ingredients quickly while shaking the skillet or wok over medium-high or high heat. (for about 1-2 minutes)

You don’t want to take time in this process.

HOWEVER!!!, there is an exception I often add a pinch of salt and pepper when cooking dense vegetables or dense-leafy vegetables such as cabbage and kale since the salt pulls out water and enhances the natural Umami flavor in the ingredients.

It is a great method for especially making a simple stir-fry dish so adjust the amount of salt at last.

I recommend using Chinese chicken soup powder instead of salt too.

SERVE FRESH COOKED YASAI-ITAME STIR-FRY DISH

Stir-fried vegetables will become watery if you leave them out, so serve them immediately after cooking.

CHEATER TIPS TIPS FOR SAYING GOODBYE TO WATERY STIR-FRY

ADD GLASS NOODLES

Glass noodles absorb excess water while cooking so it is one of the tips to add cooked glass noodles into your stir-fry dish.

Ideally, bean thread glass noodles are better to add than rice glass noodles since rice noodles are easy to become mushy when they are cooked or left for a long.

Par-boil or soak the glass noodles in boiling water until soft, then cut into halves or thirds.

Add glass noodles with the leafy veggies and continue stir-frying until the noodles absorb the juice.

MAKE THE THICK SAUCE

Savory Bean Sprouts & Fluffy scrambled Eggs Stir Fry

Make the thick sauce with excess water from the ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, add corn or potato starch and the same amount of COLD water. (ex. 1 tbsp of starch with 1 tbsp of cold water.) Be sure to add COLD water.

You can add them to the stir-fry sauce.

Once you add the slurry or the sauce to the skillet, combine the ingredients well immediately before the sauce gets lumpy.

Continue cooking until the sauce gets thick over medium-high heat.

For the extra tip, make a room in the center while pushing away the ingredients, then, pour the slurry or the sauce.

Making the thick sauce brings benefits such as the dish slowly cooling down and it does not get water even when you reheat the dish.

WOK OR SKILLET???

  • I like and generally use a non-stick skillet
  • You can choose a cast iron wok for a professional gourmet upgrade
  • When I make fried rice, I use a non-stick deep-round skillet

Ideally, the best cookware for stir-frying is a cast iron wok since it has good thermal conductivity.

To make crispy snappy vegetable stir-fry, you’ll need to cook the ingredients over high heat and quickly.

The cast iron wok can bring the ingredients cooked quickly before they get watery and save cooking time.

However, it requires a little more technique to handle.

Personally, I like to use a non-stick skillet.

Because I can reduce the oil use, less risk of burning, easy to stir.

Besides, a wok takes a room in a kitchen pantry.

Yet, when you have a round bottom skillet like a wok or deep-round bottom skillet, you can easily shake and combine ingredients in seasoning or source.

Also, the wok and the deep-round bottom skillet are great for making fried rice.

When you use a regular skillet, you don’t need to shake like a Chinese chef.

The family stove can not provide super-high heat and shaking the skillet too many times reduces the heat and makes the ingredients watery.

So, keep the skillet bottom attaching the stove while cooking the vegetables and shake it only when combining the ingredients, or seasonings and the sauce.

MY STIR-FRY RECIPES

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