Shu Han Lee’s stir-fry tips
by Sarah Alcock
Shu Han Lee caught our eye with her big bowls of steaming noodles and colourful plates of stir-fried vegetables. Born in Singapore, she set up her food blog, mummyicancook.com, when she left home for the first time to study here in the UK – gulp – and wanted to prove to her worried mum that she was, in fact, capable of feeding herself! She's gone on to host supper clubs, pop-ups, workshops and has even written her debut cookbook, Chicken And Rice (Fig Tree, £20), out this month. We were lucky enough to crash Shu's kitchen for the day and she let us in on her top stir-fry tips...
Ingredients for Shu's easy veggie stir-fry:
• Peeled ginger
• Finely chopped garlic
• Spring onions
• Baby corn
• Peppers (Shu likes to use red sweet pointed peppers for their sweet flavour)
• Groundnut oil, for frying
• Soy sauce
• Pinch of sugar
• Toasted sesame oil, for natural fragrance
Top tips for a perfect stir-fry:
• Have everything weighed, cut and prepped before you start - once you start cooking there's no time for peeling garlic!
• Use a spoon to peel ginger – it's easier than using a knife, and you don't lose any of the ginger.
• Squash garlic with the flat side of your knife so the skin comes off easily.
• Cut vegetables so they're all a similar size, so that it takes the same length of time to cook them.
• Use groundnut oil in your wok as it has a high smoking point. You can also use any other vegetable oil, or even lard if you want more flavour, but it's best not to use olive oils.
• If your meat or vegetables are sticking, don't add more oil – a splash of water will loosen them from the pan.
• If you're using really firm vegetables, like broccoli with thick stems, you may want to blanch them quickly in boiling water before adding them to the wok.
• If your wok is on the small side, cook any meat or tofu by itself first, then remove to a plate and cook the vegetables and aromatics, adding the cooked protein back to the pan for the last thirty seconds of cooking.
• Asian food is all about balance. If you use soy sauce, add a pinch of sugar to balance out the saltiness and sweetness of the stir-fry.
• All stir-fries benefit from a garnish added once they're off the heat – torn herbs, toasted sesame seeds or chopped peanuts will all add a new texture and dimension to the dish.
• Never try to stir-fry for large numbers. Domestic woks just aren't big enough for anything more than 4 servings.