International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

How to Stir a Pot

Stirring a big pot

Image by Hamner_Fotos

Simmering foods need to be stirred. Otherwise what’s on the bottom will burn before what’s on the top is cooked. What’s more, anything added to the pot after it is put on the fire needs to be stirred in to get evenly distributed.

But proper stirring is not a simple matter of clockwise versus counterclockwise. Circular stirring just makes the food go ’round and ’round with nothing mixing together. So what’s the magic secret?

Stir in a figure "8." It keeps the food from sloshing over the sides of the pot, and it quickly and efficiently incorporates any ingredients you add during simmering. And don’t forget to scrape up the bottom edges of the pot occasionally. Food tends to settle there and can burn.

That’s it! Chef secret. Simple, yet useful.


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