kake: The word "菜單" (Chinese for "menu") in various shades of purple. (菜單)
[personal profile] kake

As you'll know by now if you followed my link to Red Cook's stirfrying series in Monday's linkspam, the Chinese character for "stirfry" is 炒 (chǎo). Kian, the author of the Red Cook blog, divides stirfrying techniques into three main types: plain stirfry (清炒/qīng chǎo), moist stirfry (滑炒/huá chǎo), and dry wok stirfry (煸炒/biān chǎo).

清炒 generally incorporates just one vegetable per dish, often a leafy green or a gourd-style vegetable. A vegetable dish described as 清炒 alone is likely to be very plain, seasoned only with salt. Other flavourings may also be used, and different characters/words are used to denote this; for an overview, see my post on mix-and-match green vegetable dishes.

滑炒 involves several different ingredients, and results in a dish with a sauce; the fourth post in Kian's series has more on this. As he points out, this is the technique used to create dishes such as fish-fragrant aubergine (魚香茄子/yú xiāng qié zi).

煸炒 uses more seasonings and more ingredients than 清炒, but ends up less saucy than 滑炒. One subtype of 煸炒 is 乾煸 (gān biān), or extreme-heat stirfry, used in dishes such as dry-fried green beans (乾煸四季豆/gān biān sì jì dòu).

Here are some dishes with 炒 in the name:

茶樹菇炒臘肉chá shù gū chǎo là ròutea tree mushrooms with Chinese ham
蛋炒飯dàn chǎo fànegg [] fried rice
韭菜炒豬紅jiǔ cài chǎo zhū hóngpig's blood [豬紅/"pig's red"] stirfried with Chinese chives [韭菜]
乾炒牛河粉gān chǎo níu hé fěndry-fried [乾炒] beef [] ho fun [河粉]
肉絲炒麵ròu sī chǎo miànstirfried [炒] noodles [] with shredded [] pork [] (a.k.a. pork chow mein)
青椒炒兔肉qīng jiāo chǎo tù ròurabbit [兔肉] stirfried with green peppers
蕃茄炒蛋fān qié chǎo dànstirfried eggs with tomatoes

Finally, don't confuse 炒 (chǎo) with 抄 (chāo), which as mentioned in my post on 手 (shǒu/hand) is used in the Sichuan name for wontons: 抄手, literally "crossed hands", referring to the way they're folded. Another similar character is 沙 (shā), which is used in combination with 金 (jīn/gold) to denote the use of a salted egg yolk coating ("golden sands"); see my post on sweetcorn with salted egg yolk for more. You can tell them apart by remembering that 炒 has the fire radical, 抄 has the hand radical, and 沙 has the water radical.

炒: chǎo radical 86 (火) Cantodict MandarinTools YellowBridge Zhongwen

If you have any questions or corrections, please leave a comment (here's how) and let me know (or email me at kake@earth.li). See my introductory post to the Chinese menu project for what these posts are all about.
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