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Cook & Fry

October 8, 2010

Here’s a little breather from the seemingly endless slew of Western dessert posts I’ve put up recently.

As I mentioned two posts ago, I’ve been doing more subsistence cooking of late, and that means the less glamorous but more enduring stuff, like basic stir-fry and steamed Chinese dishes. The pictures aren’t as fun to look at and the recipes aren’t quite as challenging, but I thought it might be worthwhile doing a couple of posts on these styles of cooking anyway, just in case I have readers who are terrified of cooking just like I was two years ago and could do with some simpler stuff to start off with.

If I can fry, so can you!

In Singapore we often refer to stir-fry dishes as tze char or 煮炒, which literally means “cook fry”. I’m not a big fan of getting tze char outside because it’s often cooked in much too much recycled oil, and seasoned with nasty stuff like msg. But I do appreciate the option of stir-frying at home because it’s a fantastic way of doing what I call kitchen-sink-cooking (i.e. throwing in the whole kitchen sink of whatever remnant meat and veggies you might have, into one dish).

Here are the basic tools you will need to do most kinds of stir-fry:

  • A stove
  • A wok
  • A spatula
  • A pair of long wooden chopsticks (extremely handy for turning over little pieces of meat or veggie)

Here are the basic ingredients:

  • Cooking oil
  • Chopped garlic (I’m a big big fan of the pre-chopped garlic you can buy at all supermarkets these days. Saves you so much trouble. Though I find that fresh chopped garlic is better for marinading.)
  • Light soy sauce
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Oyster sauce
  • Fish sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Chinese cooking wine
  • Some more interesting sauces like worcestershire sauce (especially for marinading pork and beef), bean sauces/pastes, honey etc.
  • Salt, pepper and sugar

And here’s the typical sequence (more or less):

  1. Marinade meat/key vegetables.
  2. Heat oil in wok.
  3. Fry ginger and garlic.
  4. Fry hard veggies (e.g. carrots, veggie stems).
  5. Fry meat.
  6. Fry soft veggies (e.g. leafy parts of green veggies).
  7. Add sauces and toss it all about.

Kapish? Easy peasy right? It’s really the proportions of the sauces that takes some practice getting right (and believe you me, I’m still getting there)…

So now to end of the post, two stir-fry recipes that I really like. Happy frying!


Stir-Fry Pork with Spring Onion

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 250g lean pork for stir-frying
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced thinly lengthwise (clearly I didn’t do too well on the “thinly” bit!)
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 stalk of spring onion, sliced into 5-cm lengths
  • 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine


1. Marinade pork in light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil and corn starch mixture for 15 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Fry the ginger till fragrant, then add the garlic and do likewise. Next add in the pork (with the marinade) and spring onion stems and fry till pork is cooked. Finally add the Chinese cooking wine and spring onion leaves and give it a good final stir before shutting off the heat.


Stir-Fry Eggplant with Minced Pork


  • 200-250g minced pork
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 baby japanese eggplants or 1 large eggplant
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp chilli bean sauce or black bean sauce, depending on whether you want it spicy
  • 1 stalk spring onion, chopped


1. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the minced pork, then marinade the pork in worcestershire sauce for 20 minutes.

2. Slice the eggplant lengthwise, then slice each half lengthwise and crosswise to get roughly thumb-sized pieces.

3. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Fry the chopped garlic till fragrant, then add the eggplant and fry for another 3-4 minutes till eggplant is fairly soft. Finally add the pork and fry till pork is cooked. Add the bean sauce and mix it in well.

4. Garnish with chopped spring onion.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lazy Susan permalink
    October 9, 2010 10:05 am

    ohhh… i love stir fried eggplant! would be wonderful to be able to cook this at home! i love your 1st pic too! very professionally taken babes!

  2. October 9, 2010 10:09 pm

    love your intro about stir frying. Both dishes look great. I love savoury foods so it’s great news for me that you’re featuring more cooking 🙂

  3. October 9, 2010 11:54 pm

    noobcook: Haha I think my next post is going to be a dessert post again! But thank you. And yes I really ought to post more savoury..
    Lazy Susan: Thanks dear! Another of my good friends told me that too. I think girls like eggplant a whole lot more than most guys do =)

  4. October 10, 2010 6:03 am

    I am definitely a savory person, so 99% of my posts or cooking are subsistence cooking: no pretty glamor :O …

  5. October 12, 2010 11:33 am

    tigerfish: I think your food still looks great! And I’m sure your family is more than satisfied =)

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