Your stir fry recipes
I want them. I want them all. If you have a stir-fry recipe you love, please post it. I don't care what's in it. It doesn't have to be considered traditional. We joined a CSA this spring, which means LOTS of vegetables of all types will be arriving shortly. Vegetables good. All types of protein welcome; we are not vegetarians, just trying to eat healthy and love it at the same time. Thank you!
honestly, the best thing i've found is to just take every single thing in your cabinet that is typically used in asian cooking and mix it together into a sauce you add toward the end of the stir fry. in my cabinets this consists of: soy sauce/braggs, dried lemongrass,powdered ginger, a little honey or other sweetener, toasted sesame oil, maybe some ponzu sauce or hoisin sauce, a dash of mirin and a drizzle of sriracha at the end along with some thin sliced scallions....i'm sure i'm forgetting something but you get the idea. start the stir fry with minced garlic, fresh ginger, onions and fry before adding your other veg. if you want a thicker sauce, push the food you've been stirfrying off to the side in the wok, then add the sauce along with a little cornstarch and whisk together before mixing it up with the rest of the ingredients. a heaping spoonful of peanut butter is also nice instead of the cornstarch for something different and as a thickener, just make sure you have enough of the other ingredients to thin it out. it's different every time but always delish. i like to fry the veggies in peanut oil.
as for the actual food....with this type of stir fry, you could really do most veg and any type of protein. my basics are broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, snow peas and red peppers (along with the onion and scallions and garlic...but those are seasonings really), sometimes carrots or spinach or kale or bok choy or chinese broccoli.... i'm a vegetarian and i don't eat soy but i used to do it with fried squares of tofu. but like i said, something like this, you could do anything, i'm sure it would be great with chicken or beef or whatever (maybe not fish, but probably fine with shrimp...i don't know...). the only thing i wouldn't put in it would be starchy veg (potatoes etc) or tomatoes, although potatoes are good in the peanut version (reminiscent of mussaman curry).
edit for stir fry trick: obviously add your veg in the order they need to be cooked (broccoli cooks much longer than peppers) but if you find they're still too crunchy for your liking (like if your broccoli still isn't a bright green but your onions are browning too much), before you add the sauce, add a tablespoon or two of water to the pot, cover for a minute, then take the cover off and let any remaining water steam off before doing your sauce. the veg will steam in the pot.
I'm sure I'm inviting a lot of grief for this...but I can take it! When I don't feel like making my own asian marinade ie chopping garlic, grating ginger, etc. I find that Soy Vey is the closest I come to homemade.
There are several different varieties, the original is my favorite.
It's a semi-sweet sauce with sesame seeds in it, lots of garlic and ginger.
you can find it in your regular grocery store. It is in a glass bottle with a blue and white label. If they don't have it, ask, they will probably order it for you as it is a large brand.
I marinate my protein (chicken, steak, shrimp, or tofu) before hand in the sauce. cook the protein in a wok, add the veggies to cook (detailed directions from snicker above will help immensly), adding more Soy Vey at the end to flavor.
It's easy and delicious.
I recently tried a recipe for Garden Vegtetable Stir-fry with Tofu and Brown Rice in the August 2000 issue of Cooking Light. It is on this website
I make it with brocolli instead of zucchini due to the winter prices of zukes and I haven't added the cilantro. We don't eat tofu so I just skip that ingredient. Oyster sauce is key to the success of this dish but you can use whatever vegetables you want altho my family loves the sliced water chestnuts. Since I don't have a wok and frequently overcook some of the vegetables in stir-fries, I put vegetables into the serving bowl as they are cooked and then put the whole batch back in the pan when the sauce is added. This recipe makes a large amount.
I recently started experimenting with noodle dishes and several years worth of Cooking Light asian recipes. Glass noodle vegetable salad uses romaine but I use napa cabbage. You might want veggie salad recipes as well as stir fries. Eventually this winter is going to end and hot weather will be back. Glass noodle salad is going to be on my summer menu, too and will use up leftover chicken .
Chinese Noodles with Oyster Sauce Vegetables
1 Lb. Chinese egg noodles
1 T sesame oil
1 Lb. Assorted vegetables:
Oil for stir frying
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 T shredded scallions
2 T peeled, shredded ginger root
2 T minced garlic
6 T oyster sauce*
2 T soy sauce
1 T dry sherry
1 t sesame oil
1 t sugar
1-1/2 T cornstarch
2 T cold water
1. Combine ingredients for Sauce 1. Mix cornstarch and water into a liquid paste.
2. Prep vegetables and have separated according to cooking times, i.e. butternut squash needs more cooking time than mushrooms.
3. Bring water to boil in appropriate sized pot to cook noodles. Season water with a little salt and sesame oil. Cook noodles (the Chinese egg noodles cook really fast similar to other fresh pastas) and drain. Toss with a little sesame oil and arrange noodles on platter.
4. Heat oil in wok. When hot add aromatics and stir-fry until aroma rises. Add harder vegetables and stir-fry until partially done. Continue adding vegetables and stir-frying. Add vegetable broth to help steam harder vegetables.
5. Add sauce to wok and toss vegetables until coated and sauce is hot. Mix a little hot sauce into cornstarch slurry then return to wok. Toss until sauce is thickened.
6. Pour vegetables on top of noodles and serve.
Vegetables Suggestions-Onions, colored peppers, fresh waterchestnut (what a difference), butternut squash, snowpeas, snap peas, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, baby carrots (frozen seem to work better than fresh), broccoli
*Oyster sauce is available in Asian grocery stores. I check the label for brands whose ingredients start with oyster extractives rather than water or something else. Oyster sauce is also great to put on a steak before you throw it on the grill.
Thanks very much for all the replies! I do have two questions:
1) One problem I've always had with the Chinese/Asian places I've eaten is the addition of sweet ingredients (sugar, honey, etc.) to the food. I have never, ever liked it and the older I get, the less tolerance I have for sweet things in general. I've never lived in an area that was known for good Asian cuisine of any variety, so I basically just assumed what I was getting was something adjusted for local tastes and that I didn't happen to care for personally.
If I went to, say, China, would I find sweet ingredients added to main dishes? I work with a couple people who travel to China for work several times a year, and they usually bring back Asian 'candy' for us to enjoy. I put candy in quote marks because it's nothing like what you'd expect candy to be from an American perspective - it's not sweet *at all*. This leads me to believe that sweet/sugary substances generally are not part of an Asian (or at least a Chinese) diet. Am I wrong about that? If I am, then perhaps Asian cuisine is not for me, as I don't care for sweet ingredients in entree dishes. I don't eat sugary things of any type very often at all. Would it ruin a dish to leave that one ingredient out? I see in some of these recipes there's not much sugar, so maybe that would be OK. Maybe the amount is the issue.
2) Is it possible to buy premade Asian sauces that don't have a ton of salt in them? Yes, I know it's 'cheating' to buy premade sauces, but when I come home from work and want dinner on the table within the hour, it helps to have them on hand. Some sauces I've tried are so salty I threw them out.
Most Chinese food in America is way too sweet. It just happened to work out that Americans tend to like sweet sauces especially in take out dishes like sesame chicken. In response to this, even fairly traditional restaurants lean towards the sweeter sides of things to appeal to a wider palate.
Asking if Chinese food as a whole is sweet or not is asking for a gross blanket statement. You have to understand that Chinese food is made out of many many different kinds of regional cuisines that are very all very distinct and different. If we were to pick the region that is most prone to sweet food, that would probably be Shanghai. Shanghainese dishes leans toward the sweeter side (although nothing on the level of sesame chicken) and is usually balanced by the use of lots of vinegar.
I will also say that my Chinese grandmother, who is an amazing cook does use sugar in her cooking, but never in her stir fry. And when I was growing up, the only honey we kept in the house was local wildflower honey because that was suppose to help my brother's terrible seasonal allergies.
agreed about american chinese food being too sweet, for many dishes in many restaurants anyway. seems like most american food is too *something* (salty, fatty, sweet...). we are apparently a people of extremes.
romansperson, i like to add a little (very small amount...i don't measure but i would say about the size of the top part of your finger or half that - maybe a 1/8th-1/2 tspn of honey or agave nectar), and i use it mostly when i am using vinegar. the thing to do is just start out by trying to balance everything, so that you have an equal amount of each type of flavor (salty, sour, sweet, spicy) taste-wise (not ingredient-amount-wise) so that it's a broad complex flavor rather than one jumping out at you - then increase whatever you like the most (or decrease the others). if you don't add ANY sweetener you may (or may not, i suppose....) find that it is too something else - salty or sour etc. balancing the flavors also helps you taste them instead of their characteristic - if you were to just add soy sauce you'd probably taste mostly salt whereas if you balance it with other flavors you can taste the soy-ey flavor more.
my first stirfries were figuring out how to balance things, then i made it made them more garlicky and spicier (or just added more hot sauce at the end) because those are two of the things i like best and as dominant flavors.
sorry for my abysmal grammar and abuse of punctuation tonight, folks. i'm online now because i've got that nasty flu and can't sleep.
Thai stir fries (or my bastardized versions of them) are a favorite of mine, and trend much more towards the hot/sour than the sweet. I like to stir-fry chopped ginger, fresh chilies, lemongrass, and spring onions in peanut oil, then add ground pork or chicken. When the meat is nearly browned, I add an equal amount of raw shrimp or scallops, sliced shitaake mushrooms, and bean sprouts, and fry until the shellfish and veggies are almost cooked through. Then I add chopped cilantro and mint, chopped unsalted peanuts or cashews (I food-process these in advance and keep in the freezer), nam pla (thai fish sauce), and lime juice to taste. Serve with jasmine rice or cellophane noodles, with a bottle of sriracha or bottled Thai sweet chili sauce and lime wedges.
I sauté chopped onion, garlic, and ginger in sesame and/or soy oil, then throw in some string beans, broccoli, steamed eggplant, cubed tofu, and noodles. Add a few shakes of 5-spice powder, some oyster sauce, Bragg's (or soy sauce), and a dollop of Vietnamese chili-garlic sauce (or sriracha). Easy enough to add some marinated chicken or whatever else you like. Very tasty.
Stir fry is a great way to use up the vegetables! Here is my basic stir fry:
In a large skillet in hot oil, cook protein (thin slices of lead pork, beef or chicken, or cubes of tofu) with minced garlic and ginger, and red pepper flakes (about 1/2 pound meat, 2 cloves garlic, 1 inch ginger).
Remove meat from pan, add a bit more oil, then sliced onions. Like the other posts, start adding vegetables in order of cooking time. Add liquid -- water, broth, or white wine as pan starts to dry, add more as needed (about 1/4 cup at a time). My guess is 2-3 quarts of vegetables.. fav's included carrots, celery, bok choy, brocolli, red bell peppers, zuchinni, mushrooms, bean sprouts, cauliflower.
When vegetables done, clear a spot in the middle, and add sauce: 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup orange juice or wine, 1/2 cup water or broth, 1T cornstarch plus (optional) 1t sesame oil or grated orange rind (all pre-mixed in 1 cup measuring cup). Stir, add meat back, stir more.. Sauce should be thick. Serve over rice.
Here is a sauce recipe that is for Szechuan beef. I liked it so much I pasted a copy of it on the back of one of my cabinet doors so I would have it handy in case I was not doing any sauce inventing of my own. I usually add maybe a teaspoon of hot bean paste to the original recipe.
2 tbl Dry sherry
2 tbl Hoisin sauce
1 tbl Black bean sauce
1 tbl Vinegar
1 tsp Sugar
¼ tsp chili paste, (1/4 to 1/2)