A high flame and constant tossing is how chefs bring a smoky and robust flavour to their stir-fries. And even though Chinese restaurant chefs will insist that it’s impossible to get the same effect at home, Matthew says it is. You can even do it with a non-stick wok. The trick is to cook a small batch of meat or vegetables using high heat and just a little oil.

1 Heat the wok over high heat until it smokes.
2 Add just a bit of oil (too much oil lowers the temperature of the wok).
3 Add the ingredients to the heated oil. The oil shouldn’t be smoking hot; when it reaches smoking point it turns rancid and affects the flavour of the food.
4 Quickly stir-fry your ingredients.

• Lightly dust fish with some flour before pan-frying to prevent it from sticking to the wok.
• For crunchy vegetables, blanch them in boiling water with salt and sugar before stir-frying them as this toughens the fibres of the greens. Never cover vegetables when stir- frying, as they are easy to overcook.
• Stir the oil occasionally when deep-frying so that your food cooks evenly.

This article was originally published in Simply Her April 2011.