Tips for Great Low Carb Stir Fry Cooking
Of all the wonderful things that Asian cuisine has to offer, stir fry has to be one of the absolute best, especially for the low carb lifestyle. Not only are stir fry meals delicious, but they also are very easy to prepare and have nearly limitless ability to be customized to your preferences. If there’s a vegetable you love, throw it in. If there’s a sauce you don’t like, swap it out for another one. The flexibility of the stir fry method means that no matter what your tastes or your dietary concerns, you’ll always find a way to create something amazing.
Stir fry is particularly well suited to the low carb diet, as its heavy emphasis on vegetables and protein make it a perfect meal option with a very low carb count. Of course, just as with any other style of cuisine, there are certain things that low carb dieters need to watch for. Some recipes may call for particular ingredients that are higher in carbs, and some styles of sauces can have high sugar content. Fortunately, there are many low carb and low sugar products available that can be substituted for these ingredients, and nearly every stir fry recipe can be made low carb quite easily.
Tips for Preparing Meats and Seafood
When it comes to stir fry, fresh is always best, especially when it comes to your meats and seafood. Whether you’re working with chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, scallops, or fish, you’ll always want to choose fresh over frozen for the best results. Cooking from frozen in a stir fry meal can result in meats that aren’t as tender, and will detract from the taste of the recipe.
Since wok temperatures tend to be higher than other frying methods, foods will cook quickly and require frequent attention in order to achieve the best results, especially when it comes to meat. The last thing you want in your meal is chewy or tough meat, so be wary of overcooking to ensure your meat stays tender and delicious. This is especially true with many types of seafood, such as shrimp and scallops, as they cook extremely quickly.
Regarding beef, you have a couple of different choices when choosing how you want to prepare it. Some people prefer very thinly sliced beef strips, which cook quickly and are perfect for many types of stir fry dishes that include some type of noodle. For stir fry dishes that involve mostly fresh vegetables cut in to large pieces, many people choose to cut their beef in to larger cubes in order to better suit the style and presentation of the dish. By doing this, you are also able to achieve different levels of ‘doneness’ to your beef that can’t easily be achieved with thin strips. Larger cubes allow you to prepare your beef to be a little bit pink in the middle, if that’s what you prefer. Keep this in mind when deciding what style of stir fry you are making, and what your personal preferences are.
Choosing the Best Vegetables
Now, your vegetables are where you can really indulge your personal preferences in a stir fry. While there are many vegetables that are considered to be pretty standard, and sometimes even essential in many stir fry recipes, there are no rules set in stone here. You can easily add, subtract, or substitute any vegetables for ones that better suit your taste and dietary concerns. Fortunatley for low carb dieters, many of the vegetables found in stir frys are already low in carbs, but there are a few that you may choose to avoid in order to keep the carb count as low as possible.
Bell peppers are an ideal vegetable for many stir fry recipes, as they are low in carbs, commonly found and also add a nice variety of colour to your meal. You should always have a selection of bell peppers handy to incorporate in to your stir fry creations. Bamboo shoots are another low carb veggie that is perfect for stir frying. Broccoli, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, and bok choy are all great choices too, and are all easy to find at most fresh food stores. Just as with choosing meats, fresher is always better in a stir fry!
There are a few vegetables that tend to be higher in carbs though, and should either be avoided or limited when you see them listed in a recipe. For example, it may seem like virtually every stir fry recipe you see has onions listed as an ingredient, but they are a type of vegetable that can bring the carb count up if used in excess. When it comes to onions, don’t be afraid to reduce the amount or simply leave them out altogether. Carrots, leeks, and ginger also have higher carb counts, and should be used sparingly or substituted for alternatives.
Choosing a great sauce for your stir fry can really take the taste to a whole new level. Most people will be familiar with the most popular sauces like Teriyaki or Szechuan, there are many more exciting flavours that you can try. Stir fry sauces cover a huge range of tastes, with some being mild and gentle and others being bold and spicy. Depending on your tastes, you might opt for a lighter sauce like a lemon or soy sesame sauce. If you’re looking for something with more of a kick, check out sauces made with chili pepper, or perhaps a bold tasting sauce like Hoisin.
Regardless of the type of sauce, or how spicy it may be, be on the lookout for the sugar and carb count. This is where a lot of traditional stir fry recipes will get their carbs from, so a simple substitution here for a low carb version of your sauce, or crafting your own, will help keep the carbs under control.
Here’s a collection of stir fry sauce recipes from Yummly that has lots to choose from. We’re sure that no matter what you plan on cooking up in your wok, you’ll find a sauce that works on this list.
For a great tasting stir fry sauce that is really low in carbs, we recommend trying Yai’s Thai Almond Sauce. It’s a creamy curry sauce that works really well with a lot of different stir fry combinations. Try it with chicken or shrimp to create a unique spin on traditional Pad Thai.
Noodles and Rice
Even though many stir fry recipes recommend serving over rice or noodles, the reality is that you can skip these entirely and not be missing much at all. If you do decide to serve your stir fry over noodles or rice, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve chosen a low carb version to make sure your carb count doesn’t go up too high. There are lots of options available for low carb noodles, such as our customer’s favourite Miracle Noodles. You can find Miracle Noodles in a wide range of styles to suit your preference. If rice is more your style, you should pick up some Miracle Rice to go with your meal. Made from the same ingredients as Miracle Noodles, it has almost no carbs or calories, and is perfect for a wide array of Asian dishes, including stir fry meals.
Start Experimenting Today
Once you start getting creative with your stir fry combinations, you’re bound to have a lot of fun discovering new tastes. Don’t be afraid to try different varieties of ingredients, sauces, meats, and vegetables. The very nature of stir fry cooking is all about experimentation and discovery of new things, so take some chances and you could discover something original and amazing. For low carb dieters, stir fry cooking is a blessing for meal planning, since it’s so fast, easy, and flexible. Start working in some wok time this week, and have fun exploring a whole new world of low carb cooking!