Friday, June 12, 2009

Recipes | Stir Fry Basics

Okay, so this is not so much a recipe as a formula for how I make stir fry. Stir fry gets a lot of love over here because I can make it in the afternoon, divide it into 6 containers and take one to work for supper. Which is what I did today. I like reheated rice fine as long as it's saucy :)

I don't claim to be remotely authentic here, but I make yummy fake Asian food.

Tip #1 - get everything ready to go before you start
Chop all the veggies, make the sauce...have everything in place. Not only is this more efficient, but it means you won't be overcooking your meat while you finish chopping the broccoli.

Tip #2 - Cook things separately
I usually start with toasting nuts if I'm doing so. In the dry pan. Then I put them aside, add a bit of oil and do the eggs. Put aside. Then I add more oil and do the meat. If the meat is marinaded this is great, or you can add some garlic and red pepper flakes in with them. When the meat is cooked I take it out and throw in the veggies, after a bit I throw in the sauce. When the veggies are almost done I put the meat back in just enough to warm it (sometimes I don't, we don't really care if it's hot...also it's usually going to be reheated anyway).

Cooking this way means that nothing gets overcooked and that everything has it's own yummy flavour.

Tip #3 - Flavoured Rice
If I'm dong a dish that really spicy (mmm Thai sweet chili sauce...) I often cook the rice in chicken stock and use less sauce. This is super yummy. Normal rice makes me bored.

Tip #4 - Fun toppings
We looove toasted nuts on our stir fry. The crunch is delightful. Almonds and peanuts are nice choices. I often do eggs as well. Whisk 2 eggs in a small bowl. Heat your pan with a bit of oil then add the eggs but don't scramble. Make a little pancake thing. Flip it so it gets golden on both sides. Cut into thin strips and top each serving with a couple of them.

How to make a basic sauce:
1 tbsp honey
Equal parts Shoyu (nice soya sauce) and stock (chicken or asparagus is best). About 1/2 cup depends on how much you're making.
1 clove of garlic, crushed or microplaned.

Want to make it Thai-ish? Add 1 tsp each of lime juice and fish sauce.

Want to make it spicy? Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Want to make it more like teriyaki? Add a bit more honey and some mirin (or apple juice...or sherry)

Want it to be thicker? Add 1 tbsp cornstarch.

Always mix up the sauce separately and only add as much as looks good. Too much sauce is just silly.

Hope that was educational. Comment if you have stir frying questions!

(Pictured is a thai sauce stir fry with brown/wild rice with a handful of red lentils cooked in. There's no meat or eggs in this one. I fried up shallots, yellow zucchini, asparagus and kale and topped it off with toasted almonds. Mmmmmm.)