This week I thought I would share my stir fry experimentations. Actually this is typical of many meals that I prepare. I always start off with a recipe and follow it to the letter. Then the next time I prepare the meal I modify the seasonings to adjust to our particular tastes. The more familiar I become with the ingredients, the less I measure and the more I rely on sight and feel. This is most definitely the evolution of my new-found love of stir fry.
This summer I wanted to find some quick, easy and healthy recipes that I could add to my dinner repertoire when school started. I checked out several Stir Fry and Wok cookbooks from the library, and wrote down several of Martin Yan recipes. In analyzing the recipes and preparing a few of them, I noticed what seemed to be a pattern.
- Start with a protein (meat - chicken - shrimp etc) and cook through. I usually spray the pan with "high heat" Pam and then add about a teaspoon of peanut oil for flavor.
- Remove the protein from the wok and then add aromatic vegetables, most typically garlic, scallions, and ginger. Again, I usually cook these in about another teaspoon of peanut oil.
- After a brief one minute stir fry add to the pan other vegetables such as: broccoli - asparagus - mushrooms - zucchini - water chestnuts - fresh bean sprouts - etc.
- Once these vegetables have cooked through - again only about 2 minutes or so - return the meat to the pan and warm.
- Now create the sauce in a separate bowl - which most often consists of: 1/2 cup of stock (either chicken or beef depending on the meat of choice) - about 1 tablespoon of corn starch - and soy sauce to taste. Creativity can really take over here, as there are a variety of other Asian tastes that you can add to liven up the flavor: hot sauce - oyster sauce - hoisin sauce - terriyaki sauce - sesame oil - etc
- Once sauce ingredients have been thoroughly mixed - pour into the wok or skillet and cook until thickened.
- Serve with rice (I prefer Jasmine rice - but brown rice would be a healthy alternative)
This basic process can yield a variety of different dishes - all of which can be prepared in about 30 minutes or less (I always start cooking the rice first and most often the rice and stir fry are both complete at about the same time). To be honest, this is the only night of the week that I can get the entire family to eat vegetables - so it is a win-win meal for everyone. I always try to cook extras so that I have a meal to take to school the next day - but sometimes the troops devour the entire dish in a single night.