Monday, August 10, 2009

kinda kick-ass stir fry

Try (something like) this, it's pretty darn good.

Serves: ?
Time to prepare: 40 min
Prerequisite: basic cooking skills, common sense, love of veg

1/2 pound tofu, in 1/2 inch cubes (optional)
1 small to med onion, halved crosswise and sliced in crescents
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch or so fresh ginger root, peeled, cut crosswise and thinly sliced (or maybe 1/2 tsp ground, added to sauce)
1 or more or less (more or less) hot pepper (jalapeƱo, Hungarian wax, etc.) or a bit of chile sauce, to taste
1 med zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced or cut in wedges
1/2 pound broccoli, florets and stems (and leaves, too, if you've got 'em)
1 cup peapods, snow or snap, cut in 1 inch lengths
4-6 scallions, cut on the diagonal in 3/4 inch lengths
1 nice handful Thai (or sweet) basil leaves, whole
2 tbsp peanut or canola oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
few splashes worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp+ fish sauce
1 tbsp+ soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp corn starch
some water

rice (basmati, long grain brown or white if you must), or noodles (udon, somen, soba or rice) - put this on first. do I need to explain?

If using tofu, in a cast iron skillet or wok, heat 1 tbsp peanut or canola oil with 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil over med-high heat. Add tofu and fry until it begins to brown, turning a few times and dousing with fish, soy, and worcestershire sauce to season. It'll probably splatter, so don't wear your favorite shirt. Once browned, remove from pan and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl or measuring cup, what have you, mix 1 tbsp each fish and oyster sauce (find an Asian grocery and read labels until you find ones without additives; all you need is anchovies/oysters, sugar, water and salt--NO MSG! etc., using best judgement) and soy sauce (San-J Shoyu is my fav, or their Tamari, no sense in seeking further), with about a teaspoon of sugar, to taste. Add corn starch and a tablespoon or two of warm water. Stir thoroughly. At this point you can either dump this mixture into a little saucepan and simmer until it starts to thicken, or reserve and throw it in with the veg, in a few minutes.

Add remaining 1 tbsp peanut or canola oil and 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil to skillet/wok and heat over med-high flame (if you have an electric range, it'll probably all be ok, but I have no idea how to help you). When hot, throw in the onions, followed by ginger + garlic, peppers, broccoli, zucchini, pea pods and mushrooms, something like 30 sec to 1-min apart, stirring frequently with maybe a shake of salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Don't overshoot it; there's no good in overcooking the veg--half-cooked is better than overcooked. Dump in your sauce and cook for a min or so; if the pan's good and hot it should boil quickly. Turn off the heat before you think you should, when everything's still just a little crunchy, and then toss in the scallions and basil. Stir and let sit for a couple of minutes. It'll keep cooking while you drool. Serve over rice or noodles in an attractive bowl. Sit on the back porch or front stoop and watch the birds.

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