Here is another healthy, relatively simple recipe. The process involves a lot of chopping, and can be a bit of a blur at the end. It is fun to make with a partner or handy sous chef… You will see in this, and other of my recipes, that I thrive on a wide selection of sauces, marinades, and seasoning mixes of every stripe, flavor and nationality. The more in my larder, and the more fresh herbs (veggies too!) in my garden, the better!!
Prep time: 30-35 min.
Cook time: 10 min (20-40 min for rice…)
Leftover potential: excellent
Ingredients & tools:
- White or brown rice, as per your usual recipe, boiled, steamed, or in a “rice cooker.” White rice ~ 20 minutes; brown rice ~ 40 minutes. Time rice so as to be ready slightly before the stir fry.
- Protein source. Can be pork loin, steak, chicken breasts or thighs (minus skin & bones…), shrimp/prawns, tofu, etc.
- Veggies. Whatever is in the garden or refrigerator. Choices include green beans, snow/snap peas red/green/orange/etc. bell peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli/cauliflower/ onions, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, zucchini, tomatoes, Chinese cabbage, kale/chard/spinach, etc., etc., etc.
- Ingredients for “protein” marinade: I like to have a good selection of unusual marinades, sauces, stir-fry sauces, soy based sauces, etc. in the refrigerator or pantry. I then mix together whatever seems like a good flavor marinade combination and combine it with the “protein source” to marinade at the beginning of the process.
- Ingredients for the stir fry sauce. Basics here are chicken or vegetable broth and whatever type of Chinese, Vietnamese/Indian./Asian, etc. sauce you have laying around that appeals to you for a sauce.
- Soy sauce or other commercial “stir fry sauce.”
- Corn starch
- You will need a wok, wok ring, and wok spatula
- Rice cooker; rice paddle
- Optional: peanuts, tan or black sesame seeds, cashews…
Preparation (in exactly this order!):
- First thing (can be at the beginning of the day to set aside in the refrigerator, or at the beginning of the meal preparation process) make a marinade and cut and mix in the “protein source.” Cut into bite-sized pieces, not larger than ~ 1”X 1”. Marinade can be whatever looks good on the shelf/refrigerator, or mix together a couple- several sauces. Use stuff up! Teriyaki marinade, spicy bourbon marinade, chicken, pork, seafood or whatever marinades. Be adventurous. Mix marinade first with whisk, then put in meat/tofu/fish/shellfish and stir. The marinade should well coat/cover the “meat.” Set aside 2-3 tablespoons of marinade prior to adding the “protein.”
- Start rice as per your usual recipe.
- Start stir fry sauce (this is different than the marinade, but you may boost the sauce with a couple tablespoons of marinade you have set aside.) Usually a total of 6-12 oz. is perfect depending on # of servings being cooked (8 oz.= 1 cup.) The base of the sauce is chicken, vegetable or beef stock, to which you’ll add some plum sauce or Chinese stir-fry sauce or Chinese 5-psice, oyster sauce, toasted sesame oil, Chinese spicy garlic sauce, Vietnamese sauces etc., etc. either alone or in combination. Don’t need much of the “additions; the sauce should be on the mild side. Make it carefully and add ingredients to taste. Put this into your smallest saucepan to heat gently to fuse the ingredients, and set aside.
- Chop up all your vegetables however you wish. French cut looks nice. Go for larger rather than small sized pieces. Set aside.
- Put wok on high flame on the wok ring. Put ~ 1⁄2 cup peanut or other high-temperature cooking oil in the wok. Put a couple/few dried red peppers in if you like spice. Get the oil HOT (just beginning to smoke), and put in the “protein,” squeezing out as much of the marinade as you can manage in this “put it all in quickly” process. Stir regularly, bringing the ingredients up onto the wok sides where the heat is hotter than the center of the oil puddle. Cook for less time than you think you need. For 4 persons worth of product, cook ~ 2 minutes for tofu, ~ 3 minutes for shellfish/fish, and ~ 4 minutes total for beef/chicken/pork. This timing thing will of course depend on size of cuts, amount you’re frying, how you like your meat, etc. When done, quickly remove, place in bowl, and set aside next to the veggies. Always stay on the undercooked side, as it will cook more when you set it aside and a little more when you add it to the veggies later…
- Briefly cleanse the wok for the veggies. Place ~ rounded1 tsp- 1 rounded TBSP corn starch (depending on amount you’re making; good rule of thumb is 1 tsp for ~ 6 oz. fluid for each 2 persons) into 12 oz. cup. Drizzle in a small amount of water to make a slurry, then pour in the sauce liquid and set aside.
- Put the wok back on the high flame. Add ~ 1 tbsp. oil for each 2-3 portions (can add dried hot peppers it you wish) bring to high heat, and toss in all the veggies and vigorously stir to lightly coat all the veggies in oil. Takes ~ 2 minutes. Put your dinner plates into the microwave for 2-3 minutes at this point so that they are hot when you plate your creation. Then toss in ~ 1-2 TBSP of Chinese stir fry sauce or soy sauce to coat the veggies, and toss for another 3-4 minutes. Add the “protein” and stir, highest heat. Toss in the sauce and keep stirring until the sauce thickens to your satisfaction. If you use tomatoes, put them in at the end at same time as stir-fry sauce. Turn off heat and cover, awaiting plating.
- Plate the rice and ladle the stir fry w/ sauce atop each serving, or serve “family style.” Embellish top with peanuts, sesame seeds or cashews if you wish.