Stir-frying is one of the fastest and most versatile weapons in your kitchen arsenal, but it's also one that is very much misunderstood. A reduced volume in the wok will fry much more easily, and wok cooking is so quick you can actually make several small dishes much faster than one large one! Two or three key ingredients are often quite enough. You don't have to stir-fry every ingredient together. Sometimes, the best results come from treating each component individually.
dash of vegetable oil, plus
2 tbsp for stir-frying, plus
1 tsp for the sauce
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths
cornflour, for dusting
8 shelled scallops, roe removed
pinch of sea salt
2 thick slices ginger, bruised
1 cup strong chicken stock, or Japanese dashi
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
¼ tsp salt
a pinch of sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp cornflour mixed into 2 tbsp stock
1. Heat 2 cups of water in your wok over a high heat until boiling, add dash of oil and blanche the asparagus for about 30 seconds until it is bright green and slightly softened. Drain and set aside until ready to fry.
2. Dry the scallops with a paper towel and dust very lightly with a little cornflour. A dry pastry brush dipped in cornflour works well for this purpose.
3. Heat the wok (ensure it's dry and clean) until very hot and drizzle two tbsp of the oil around the edges so it coats the surface of the wok.
4. Add the scallops, season with a little salt and fry for about 30 seconds until just starting to colour.
5. Add in the asparagus and stir-fry for a further minute. Remove from the wok and brush the wok clean.
6. Heat a further one tsp of oil in the wok and add the ginger. Fry for a few seconds, then add the stock, wine, salt, sugar and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then drizzle in the cornflour and stock mixture while stirring, a little at a time, until a silky sauce forms.
7. Remove the ginger, pour the sauce over the scallops and asparagus, and serve.
Suggestion: Serve with Adam's garlic and eschallot chicken.