Lots of liquid in bottom of wok when stir frying

Matt Sieker
  • Lots of liquid in bottom of wok when stir frying Matt Sieker

    When making stir fry, I use chicken, onion, bell peppers, green onions, bean sprouts, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. When doing this, I use just enough peanut oil to coat the bottom of the wok, and heat the wok up on high until the oil just starts to smoke, then start with the meat, then water chestnuts/bamboo, then peppers, then onions and finally the bean sprouts and green onions.

    When doing this, I have a large quantity of water/liquid that accumulates in the wok, to the point where the cooking seems to devolve to boiling instead of stir frying. I often drain some of this off into the sink. I estimate that between what is drained off, and what is left, somewhere in the range of 3/4 to 1 cup of liquid forms.

    I assume this is liquid released from the veggies when they're heated up. Is there anything I can do to reduce/limit the amount of liquid forming, which seems to greatly slow down the cooking, and doesn't leave the veggies as crisp?

  • Don't crowd the wok; steam has to escape.

    Frying off meat separately then no more than a cup of veg at a time for an average/lg wok, should prevent steam from condensing to soup.

    Some veg will always produce liquid unless cooking stops at the warm-but-raw stage: ie spinach.

    Adding salty ingredients only in the last few seconds helps.

    If you prefer quite tender veg then a parboil first is better than longer wok cooking.

    I am guessing sprouts are your soggiest culprit. A blanching and pat dry might do the trick.

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