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STIR FRYING (Chinese : 炒; pinyin : chǎo) is a Chinese cooking technique in which ingredients are fried in a small amount of very hot oil while being stirred in a wok . The technique originated in China and in recent centuries has spread into other parts of Asia and the West.

Scholars think that wok (or pan) frying may have been used as early as the Han dynasty
Han dynasty
(206 B.C. – 220 A.D.) for drying grain, not for cooking, but it was not until the Ming dynasty
Ming dynasty
(1368–1644) that the wok reached its modern shape and allowed quick cooking in hot oil. Well into the 20th century, while restaurants and affluent families could afford the oil and fuel needed for stir fry, the most widely used cooking techniques remained boiling and steaming. Stir fry cooking came to predominate over the course of the century as more people could afford oil and fuel, and in the West spread beyond Chinese communities.

Stir frying
Stir frying
and Chinese food have been recommended as both healthy and appealing for their skillful use of vegetables, meats, and fish which are moderate in their fat content and sauces which are not overly rich, provided calories are kept at a reasonable level.

The term "stir-fry" was introduced into the English language in Buwei Yang Chao 's book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese
How to Cook and Eat in Chinese
(1945), to describe the chǎo technique.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 In China
China
* 1.2 In the West

* 2 Technique

* 2.1 Chao technique

* 2.1.1 Wok
Wok
hei

* 2.2 Bao technique

* 3 Effects on nutritional value * 4 Uses in Traditional Medicine * 5 Stir fried dishes * 6 See also * 7 Notes * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links

HISTORY

IN CHINA

Further information: History of Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine
During the Tang dynasty (618–907) chao referred to roasting tea leaves. Stir frying became a popular method for cooking food only later, during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

The Chinese character "chao" (炒) is attested in inscriptions on bronze vessels from the Eastern Zhou
Eastern Zhou
period (771–256 BC), but not in the sense of stir frying. Dry stirring was used in the Han dynasty (206 BC – 221 AD) to parch grain. Although there are no surviving records of Han dynasty
Han dynasty
stir frying, archaeological evidence of woks and the tendency to slice food thinly indicate that the technique was likely used for cooking.

The term chao appears for the first time in the sense of "stir frying" in the Qimin Yaoshu , a sixth-century agricultural manual, including in a recipe for scrambled eggs . In sources from the Tang dynasty (618–907), chao refers not to a cooking technique, but to a method for roasting tea leaves . It reappears as a cooking method in a dozen recipes from the Song dynasty
Song dynasty
(960–1279). The Song period is when the Chinese started to use vegetable oil for frying instead of animal fats . Until then, vegetable oil had been used chiefly in lamps.

Historically, stir frying was not as important a technique as boiling or steaming , since the oil needed for stir frying was expensive. The technique became increasingly popular in the late Ming dynasty (1368–1644), in part because the wood and charcoal used to fire stoves were becoming increasingly expensive near urban centers, and stir-frying could cook food quickly without wasting fuel.

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