Easier Than It LooksMany years ago, I bought a rusty wok at a yard sale. I had no idea how to make stir fry, but you’re young, you try these things. Over years it came together. This dish isn’t from any national cuisine, but it’s in the ballpark and it’s yummy.
Stir fry is a state of mind, so experiment. The only watch out is fish sauce. You need some, but unless you like fishy fish flavor, go easy.
The recipe looks hard. It’s not. It’s just a bunch of chopping and throwing things in at certain times. Cooking goes really fast.
About fish sauce: it’s cheap and keeps forever. Stop in at the Asian market and get the good stuff. It makes a difference.
|1/4 cup||Sesame oil|
|1 pound||Meat (see note below)|
|4-5 cups||Vegetables chopped (see note below)|
|2 tablespoons||Rice vinegar (not cider, wine, malt or white vinegar)|
|3 tablespoons||Soy sauce|
|2 teaspoons||Fish sauce (essential for flavor)|
|2 teaspoons||Ginger paste|
|1 1/4 cup||Bouillon (match the meat)|
|4 teaspoons||Lime juice|
|2 tablespoons||Corn starch in 1/2 cup cold water|
Chicken, turkey, any cut of pork, and cuts of beef that aren’t really tough work fine. Shellfish are fine, but I’d avoid fish because it’ll fall apart. Meat goes in once to sear, comes out, then goes in again after the vegetables to cook through in the sauce.
One portion each of six or seven vegetables will get you the quantity you need. Start small and adjust upward. Most any vegetable will go in a stir fry. The challenge is to get the time right, as you’ll see in the cooking instructions. These vegetables work well and are in order by cooking time, longest first:
• Green beans
• Pea pods
• Bok choy
For this much stir fry, cook 2 cups of dry white rice. Follow package instructions. Or use a rice cooker and 4 cups of water.
There’s no salt in this recipe. Soy sauce, fish sauce and bouillon provide plenty of salt.
|Mince the garlic.|
|Slice the meat into 1-inch strips about 1/8 inch thick.|
|Chop the vegetables into bite-size pieces.
Thickness matters because you're balancing cooking times.
Examples: Slice mushrooms and zucchini 1/4 inch. Slice carrots thinner.
Cut tomatoes a half inch on a side.
|Dissolve the corn starch in a quarter cup of cold water.|
|Line up ingredients in separate bowls before you heat the wok.|
|Keep heat on medium high.|
|Toss the vegetables often, at least once a minute. Don’t scorch.|
|Cover the wok when you’re not stirring the food.|
|Heat 2 tablespoons of oil until a bit of garlic thrown in sizzles.|
|Add the garlic and toast for 1 minute.|
|Add Add the meat. Toss until lightly browned. Don’t cook it through.|
|Remove the meat and garlic.|
|Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil.|
|Add the carrots. Toss and fry 1 minute, until the edges are slightly soft.|
|Add green beans. Toss and fry 1 minute.|
|Add the onion. Toss and fry 2 minutes.|
|Continue adding vegetables in order of cooking time (see the list above). With each addition, toss and fry the vegetables for 1 minute. You can add some in groups: Radishes through mushrooms is a group. Peppers through scallions is a group. Don’t fry tomato or spinach.|
|Add vinegar, toss and cover 1 minute.|
|Add soy sauce, fish sauce and ginger, toss and cover 1 minute.|
|Add tomatoes, toss and cover 1 minute.|
|Add broth, lime juice and browned meat. Stir and cover.|
|Bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes.|
|Stir corn starch in the cup until it’s all dissolved again.|
|Stir the corn starch into the stir fry and turn off the heat.|
|Continue stirring until the sauce thickens.|
|Stir fry doesn’t refrigerate well. When you reheat it, the meat gets tough, the vegetables get mushy and the sauce is gloppy. It’s okay for lunch in a Tupperware, but it probably won’t be good for the table again.|