The cooking order matters: For example, sliced carrots and celery take 6 times longer to cook than sliced mushrooms and zucchini.
Sometimes food organization and preparation is a must, especially when it comes to vegetable and stir-fry dishes.
Once the cooking begins everything goes into the pan in rapid succession so you must first assemble all the ingredients, including the spices, liquid and the utensils you’re going to use. Meats should be dried with paper towels, cut to size with the excess fat removed, and seasoned. Vegetables should be room temperature, washed, peeled, cored and cut to size as well. Sliced or diced, the choice is yours, though it’s best to size everything proportionally.
Also, before you begin the browning, greening and tossing, cook any starchy food you will be using, such as rice, pasta, risotto, potatoes or couscous. This aside will keep warm until you’re ready to add it to your meat and veggies, or to your plate.
Once your food is at the ready, have your olive oiler at hand and light the fire under your best stainless steel pan. If you’re using meat ~brown and cook it almost all the way through, then remove it from the pan to a covered bowl and set it aside. A dash more oil and in goes the hardest vegetable to cook, followed by the next hardest several minutes later, shortening the time between each additional veggie. Most stir-fries use 1 choice of meat and 4 veggies. Again the choice is yours. Simply put everything together at the end and heat through with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 1 cup of broth, stirring for 3 minutes..
An example of hard to cook veggies are carrots, celery, rutabaga, parsnips, potatoes, beets, winter squash, sweet potatoes. Though I wouldn’t like to see a parsnip in my stir-fry, the cooking order applies across the board for steaming, pan cooking, oven roasting, barbecuing and pressure cooking. An example of the next in line would be onions, bell peppers, corn, broccoli and brussel sprouts. The next group would include asparagus, snow peas, zucchini and mushrooms, and the lightest cooking would go to the green onions and bean sprouts.