What is the difference between saute and stir fry?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question,”What is the difference between saute and stir fry?,” and discuss what stir frying is, and how to stir fry foods, along with what sauteing is, and how to saute foods and minimum internal heat temperature guidelines.

What is the difference between saute and stir fry?

The difference between saute and stir fry is saute uses lower heat and the cooking action is slower than stir frying. Large or small pieces of food are cooked in a wide and shallow pan, using medium high heat. 

Stir frying uses high heat, and the food has to constantly be tossed and turned. Butter cannot be used in stir frying because the high heat burns it, while it can be used for sauteing as it is done at low heat.

What is sauteing?

Saute is a cooking method that uses fairly high heat using a small amount of fat. It is one of the quickest cooking methods around. 

How to saute?

Sauteing vegetables – vegetables are best sauteed if they have a tender and a crisp texture with a surface that is caramelised.

  1. Choose the right size of pan that’ll keep the food in a single layer and will not let the food be on top of one another. This prevents steaming and promotes browning of food.
  2. Vegetables should be washed, dried and cut into small bites of uniform sizes to cook evenly. 
  1. Coat the saucepan with 2-3 tsp oil. Any type of oil can be used. The pan should then be heated at medium high heat until the pan becomes hot.
  2. Vegetables are then added and the heat is reduced. Vegetables are stirred, tossed, and turned to cook evenly and cooked until they are crisp and tender. 

Sauteing Meat and Poultry

Sauteing is best for tender cuts of meat and poultry. For example: steaks, chops, cutlets, skinless boneless chicken.

  1. The right size of the pan should be chosen, to ensure that the food fits easily and does not overlap
  2. Pan should be coated with oil and the pan preheated over medium high heat and it becomes hot.
  3. Add the meat to the pan, cook until done.
  4. Tent meat with a foil and let it stand for 5 minutes.

What is stir frying?

Stir-frying is a fast way to cook food. Food is cooked in 5 minutes or less, vegetables become crisp, and meats emerge tender and flavourful. This cooking method fits easily into tight schedules and hectic lifestyles. Vegetables retain their colour and texture when stir fried.

The high heat used in the cooking method sears food quickly, preserving the natural juices, and the food smells and tastes fresh, vibrant and flavourful with a hint of smoke. 

How to stir fry?

Vegetables

Vegetables should be cut into small bite sized pieces, specially those which are high in moisture. Vegetables like broccoli may need to be blanched or steamed first to become tender. 

Meats

Tender cuts of chicken pork and mutton or beef stir fry well when cut into small pieces. Tough chunks do not cook well when stir fried. 

A wok or a cast iron pan works best for stir frying/ the pan should be hot when vegetable or meat is added.

Herbs and spices

The herbs, spices and substances used for aroma and flavour such as ginger, garlic, lemon grass should be cooked on low and low heat. They should be cooked first and removed from the pan when the heat is increased for stir frying. 

  1. Add oil to the hot pan and roll it around the pan. 
  1. Add ingredients according to their cooking time. Cook the meat first, remove it from the pan to prevent overcooking when vegetables are being cooked. 
  1. Stir the items often to ensure even cooking of food. 

What should be the internal temperature when cooking food?

The minimum internal heat temperatures are as follows:

Chicken – 165 degrees fahrenheit

Steaks and ground, lamb – 160 degrees fahrenheit

Veal chops – 145 degrees fahrenheit

Conclusion

In this brief article, we answered the question,”What is the difference between saute and stir fry?,” and discussed what stir frying is, and how to stir fry foods, along with what sauteing is, and how to saute foods and minimum internal heat temperature guidelines.

References

https://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/techniques/cooking-class-stir-frying
https://www.chatelaine.com/food/kitchen-tips/how-to-make-a-stir-fry/amp/
https://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/cooking-basics/how-to-saute/

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.