Recent events in the UK have inspired many more of us to cook from home; a 2021 survey revealed that 91% of Brits intended to cook as much as, or more than they had been cooking during the coronavirus lockdowns of the previous year. Though many of us had the best intentions, it is also true that many of us may have lost that vim and vigour when it comes to cooking up a storm. A lot of us simply don’t have the time, energy or inclination, especially when that takeaway or microwave meal is just that bit more convenient.
But before anyone hangs up their kitchen aprons, here’s some food for thought: what if we weren’t approaching cooking the right way? Making breads and four-hour ragu sauces is undoubtedly fun, but there are other fun, nutritious, versatile and above all tasty ways to rustle up a meal. This piece aims to evangelise one such cooking method; none other than the humble stir-fry. But what makes it such a great solution to the fatigued home chef?
The Time Factor
Simply put, stir-frying is an undeniably quick way to cook. A delicious meal is ten minutes of preparation, and five minutes in a scorching hot wok, away from being on a plate or in your mouth. Stir-frying is an intense and effervescent way to cook, but can produce unbelievable results in a fraction of the time it would take you to properly reduce a pasta sauce.
The Health Benefits
Stir-frying also begets much healthier dishes than many other forms of cooking. It is true that some wok dishes can demand a large amount of oil, but it is also true that the sheer heat required by most dishes renders that oil an optional extra. Stir-frying sees vegetables flash-fried, retaining all of their vitamins instead of seeing them leeched away by boiling.
One of the best things about cooking with a wok is that the recipes simply do not stop coming. There are boundless ways to create delicious stir-fry meals; it is one of the rare cooking styles that you can cater to your fridge’s contents, rather than the other way round. You can also transform your dishes in all manner of ways – for example, with stir-fried garlic, pepper and mushroom becoming the perfect base on which to build a quick noodle soup.
The above versatility makes stir-frying an incredibly cost-effective way to cook, as you can use up all the items in your fridge in the making of a quick, delicious meal. Not only that, but with the shrewd purchasing of the inexpensive ingredients you can make quick, long-lasting and filling meals for cheap. Shredded cabbage and carrots stir-fry extremely well, and make up the base for so many brilliant recipes.