Place the stainless steel pan on the stove and set the heat to medium-high. Then perform a water test to determine when the pan is at the correct temperature.
As the pan heats up, drop 1/4 teaspoon of water onto the pan about every 15 seconds. When the pan is still cool, the water will sit there and do nothing. As the the pan gets hotter, the water will sizzle and bubble, getting more intense as the temperature increases.
Eventually the 1/4 teaspoon of water will form several small balls that glide along the surface. You're almost there.
When the water quickly forms a single ball that glides along the surface and resembles mercury, your pan is ready and your food will glide along the surface just as the water does.
Now is the time to immediately add ingredients to the pan such as diced onion. You can brown the onion by stirring constantly until it begins to brown and turn translucent. Then add garlic and any seasonings, stir for a few seconds, and add some liquid such as broth, wine, or vinegar. Stir and let the onions and garlic continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Now you're ready to add any remaining ingredients and cook until all the flavors have blended. This is how you can create flavorful dishes without using oil.
Here's how the pan becomes nonstick. Although you can't see it, as the pan heats up the molecules move around creating pores that open and close. It's the opening and closing of the pores that "catches" the food, making it stick to the surface (food doesn't stick to a cold pan).
When the pan is hot enough, the pores close and the food glides over the surface.
The key here is to use a stainless steel pan. Don't try this with a nonstick pan because the high temperature causes the coating to degrade and fall apart.