Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Easy Stir-Fry

Vegetable Stir-Fry, closeup
I have been making a stir-fry of sorts for a lot of years. It changes with vegetable availability; both seasonal and just what I have on hand at any given moment. It can be as simple as onion, garlic, ginger, celery, carrot, green pepper and peas - to the additions of bok choy, bean sprouts, frozen peas, snow or sugar snap peas, cabbage or Napa cabbage, squash, green beans, lemongrass, and the list continues. One of the reasons I love to make this stir fry is that I love vegetables. Another reason is that, for whatever reason, though my husband dislikes things like cabbages, carrot or squash, I can put them in this stir-fry and he loves it. I have even sneaked a little broccoli (a true hatred, alongside fresh tomato or large chunks of tomato in anything). When I use bok choy, I slice the white parts on an angle, similarly to the celery. I finely chiffonade the greens and add them at the end. 

What I love best is that there are a lot of vegetables with little calorie count, so I get the bulk that  makes me feel full, with a lot less calories than in most normal meals.

You may wonder about meat. I usually do add meat - either chicken or pork. The way I make it is to use either a pork tenderloin or pork chops, meat cut off of any bone or fat, or chicken breasts. It is best if the meat is only partially thawed, as it makes cutting into thin strips far easier. I slice the meat across the grain, thinly, and then again, into thin strips a little wider than matchsticks. It's hard to get the meat quite that small, and it isn't necessary. Once I have the thin pieces of meat, I prep some fresh garlic and ginger by mincing very finely. I set a nonstick fry pan on relatively high heat, add in some olive oil or coconut oil and add the meat. I stir-fry the meat tossing quickly, until it starts to brown. I toss in the ginger and garlic (about 2 - 3 tablespoons, minced all together). This gets tossed quickly until very fragrant, and then I sprinkle on some soy sauce or Shoyu. Once the soy sauce is evaporated (doesn't take long), I remove the pan from the heat and drizzle on a little Asian dark sesame oil. Once the vegetable part of the stir fry is done, I add the meat and mix it in. Easy. 
Vegetable Stir-Fry

This method of preparing the meat is also something I do when making a more substantial luncheon salad, usually for guests. I love salad, and prefer to toss in just about anything I can find. The meat just makes it heartier. Another thing I have done is to use a rotisserie chicken from the store - just shred and add to the vegetable part of the stir fry.

This is a basic recipe. Feel free to embellish however you might prefer.

Vegetable Stir-Fry

Asian (Dark) Sesame Oil

1 tablespoon oil or coconut oil
1 - 2 large onions, sliced in wedges
1 juicy lemon or lime, or 2 tablespoons vinegar

1 bell pepper, cut in long strips 
2 - 3 large stalks celery, cut thinly at an angle
2 cups very thinly sliced cabbage
1 large carrot, grated (large holed grater - or julienne)
3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
I chunk of fresh ginger, about equal to the amount of garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas, OR
     1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas or snow peas
3 - 4 tablespoons soy sauce or Shoyu
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, preferably unhulled, raw
2 tablespoons Asian Dark Sesame Oil
3/4 cup cashews of choice (I use raw), optional
cilantro, for garnish
cooked rice, for serving

Heat to medium high a very large skillet. Add in the oil or coconut oil, then add the onions. Toss the onions frequently, until they begin to just barely turn color. Add in some vinegar or the juice of one juicy lemon or lime. This seems to help the onions taste better and gives a little zip to the flavor. Continue cooking until the juice or vinegar evaporates. Add in the bell pepper, celery and cabbage and toss for a few minutes until wilted. [In general, add any vegetables that take longer to cook to your desired doneness, first.] 

Now add in the garlic and ginger and toss well, until it becomes fragrant. Add in the shredded carrot, sesame seeds and cashews. Drizzle on the Asian dark sesame oil and toss to combine. 

Serve over a bed of white or brown rice, rice noodles, or other oriental style noodle. 

This makes 4 very hefty portions. It takes about 1 hour, start to finish, if making the meat to add in; otherwise about 45 minutes.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.