Monday, October 5, 2009

Basic Americanized Stir Fry

There are some wonderful recipes for stir fry out there. Although each is slightly different, there are some basic principles to making the dish that can be used across the board. You will want to have a few basic ingredients in your pantry/frige door that will allow you to make it any time you want.

First of all, you will need some soy sauce. What is the point of trying any kind of Asian food without it? I usually have Kikoman on hand because it comes in huge bottles at Costco. However, America's Test Kitchen did a taste test and it didn't win. So if you are really serious about authentic taste, you may want to check out their results. I also like sweet soy sauce and lite soy sauces, too.  Other must have ingredients are garlic, fresh ginger, corn starch, and broth. After that, you can mix and match as your fancy takes you.

Start with your protein (tofu, shrimp, chicken, pork or beef). Cut it into strips or cubes and cook it in oil on medium high heat. If you have sesame oil, add a teaspoon to your main oil to give it a better flavor. If not, oh well. Add some minced garlic to the protein when it is almost done and cook it with it ~ at least 2 cloves. If you have some ginger root, grate some of that into your meat, too. You can also cheat and use ground ginger. It won't be the same, but it will give a good flavor. (about 1 tsp). Remove the meat from your pan and set it aside in a bowl.

All sorts of vegetables go great in stir fry. Carrots, onions, broccoli, asparagus, peppers, summer squash are just a few. You can also add cans of baby corn, bamboo shoots or water chestnuts. This is a great way to use up the last of anything that may be sitting in your produce drawer. Cut the veggies up into bite sized pieces. Add a bit more oil to your pan and start stirring them. If you are using hard and soft vegetables, start with the ones that will take the longest to cook, adding the others halfway through the cooking process. I usually add 1 can of broth to my vegetables so they don't burn because I am usually still helping with homework, making other food and have my mind on twenty different things. If you do that, put a lid on the veggies, turn down the heat a bit and let them soften (we really don't like crisp vegetables in our house, so I let them get soft, but not mushy).

Now that your protein and vegetables are done, combine them in the pan. Here is where any yummy Asian type sauces come in handy. If you have oyster sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, coconut milk, rice wine, teriyaki, "stir fry", Yoshida's or any other extra sauce combine it with the soy sauce (about 2 Tbls of each) and then add about 2-3 Tbls of corn starch. When mixed, stir it into your veg/meat/broth mixture and stir until thick and bubbly.

Serve over rice and voila: stir fry. It will be slightly different every time, but it will always be good.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

This is such a useful post! I make stir-fry dishes without a recipe, but then I don't have an answer when someone asks how to make it. Our latest combo is chicken and asparagus, which is very good!

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