Last week, I was invited to attend the “Stags in the Kitchen” program hosted by Sodexo’s Culinary Director Jacqui Lombard and Sodexo’s Executive Catering Chef Jim Turner.
I observed a few of Fairfield’s upperclassmen learned the cooking technique of stir frying. Stir frying is a nutritious method of preparing food since it uses various vegetables. I learned a lot about healthy techniques of stir frying that I believe would be helpful to be shared with students.
There are two primary types of stir frying: the Chao technique and the Bao technique. The Chao technique is similar to sautéing, where ingredients are added after the cooking oil is placed in the pan.
After the pan has heated for awhile, seasonings such as garlic, ginger and shallots are added. Ingredients such as meats, shellfish and tofu that take longer to cook are placed in next.
Finally, you can add in your variety of vegetables. When your meats and vegetables are fully cooked, soy sauce, vinegar or salt can be added to give the dish some extra flavor.
The second type, the Bao technique, involves cooking at a high temperature and tossing to keep the food crispy.
The pan is heated on a high flame and then the oil, seasonings and meats are added in succession. The food is tossed continuously and is only stopped to add in more ingredients or seasonings.
The Bao method is usually just used for small amounts of food so that the juices do not flow out of the ingredients.
Stir frying can be healthy if done correctly; if not, important nutrients and vitamins your body needs from these ingredients can be burned off.
The proper way to stir fry and retain nutritious value is to use extra virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil or coconut oil instead of corn or blended vegetable oils to preserve vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals.
Stir frying can be a fun and easy way to make delicious, healthy meals at home or even on campus in the dining hall through the stir fry station.