Why stir-fry? Because stir-frying is a fast cooking method that uses little fat and lets you create almost endless fresh-tasting combinations. These tips will make it easier.

- MEATS: Choose boneless cuts such as beef top round steak.- When a stir-fry recipe calls for boneless pork, your best choice is boneless pork sirloin roast. It's a lean cut that's less expensive than pork tenderloin. Second choice? Boneless pork shoulder roast. Select as lean a piece as possible and trim excess fat.

- Beef, pork and lamb slice more easily when partially frozen. Freeze meat just until firm (about 30 minutes) when you plan to slice it into bite-size pieces. For thin slicing, freeze the meat until partially frozen. If your meat is already frozen, let it thaw to the desired stage. Chicken and turkey, link sausage, and fish slice easily without freezing.

- Firm fish, such as salmon, tuna, sea bass, cusk, monkfish and swordfish, withstand the jostling of a stir-fry without breaking up.

- TIME-SAVING: Up to 24 hours before mealtime, slice the meat and vegetables. Also, combine sauce ingredients. Refrigerate each ingredient in a separate, airtight container. Pour sauce mixture in a screw-top jar so you can shake it before using.

- VEGETABLES: Let someone else do the chopping for your stir-fry. You can buy cut-up vegetables at your supermarket's salad bar.

To thaw frozen vegetables in a flash, place them in a colander. Run cold water over the vegetables until they thaw. Drain well before stir-frying to avoid spattering fat.

- LOW-FAT STIR-FRYING: Spray your cool wok or skillet with non-stick spray coating before heating. As you stir-fry, add cooking oil sparingly. Never spray coating on a hot surface - it is flammable.

- WHAT WOK? - The classic round-bottomed wok needs a ring stand for support. Use it on a gas range with the wide side of the ring down. On an electric range, use the ring stand with the wide side up. Flat-bottomed woks sit directly on the heating unit.

Electric woks are portable so you can cook tableside.

You can use a 10-inch skillet for stir-frying. For more than 4 cups of ingredients, you'll need a 12-inch skillet.