Now that the holiday season is over, you may be tired of the heavy meals and sweets you’ve been consuming for the past several weeks and are looking for something different to eat. One of the best ways to brighten up your meals is to make vegetable stir fry.
With a colorful selection of different vegetables you can prepare a meal that is fast, delicious and versatile. You can also add fresh cooked ramen noodles or serve with rice.
What makes this stir fry great is the variety of vegetables. Make sure they are fresh. Don’t dig out broccoli or some other veggie that has been mouldering in your refrigerator for an unknown amount of time. A desiccated limp carrot will taste like one if you use it. This stir fry is only as good as your best-tasting vegetable. Equally important is layering flavors. If you put all the ingredients in your stir fry pan at once, you won’t get nearly the flavor if you follow these instructions.
This stir fry is Chinese style. But the same vegetables can be cooked Italian style. Replace the neutral oil with olive oil. Skip the ginger and other Chinese flavorings but not the garlic. Instead add ½ tsp each of oregano and red pepper flakes with the veggies then toss them with ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan just before serving.
These ingredients can be prepared ahead so that you can cook them quickly when you are ready to eat.
Step 1: Flavoring the oil with aromatics (don’t skip this step)
One bunch of green onions, minced
1 tsp of minced garlic (1 or 2 cloves)
One Serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 slice of fresh ginger, (one teaspoon) minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (not olive oil)
Heat oil in large stir-fry pan or wok. Add aromatic veggies to the pan and stir fry at high heat until softened, about one to two minutes.
Step 2: Add your cut-up vegetables
2 cups of broccoli florets, blanched in boiling water for two minutes, drained and plunged into cold water. Note: this step is essential. The broccoli should be “crisp/tender.” (Or if you can find them, fresh zucchini sliced thin or asparagus in one-inch pieces)
¼ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick-size pieces
1 red pepper, julienned
Stir fry until cooked through, about two minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK! You don’t want mushy vegetables.
Step 3: Mix together 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and ½ teaspoon of sesame oil. Add to vegetables in pan along with salt and pepper to taste.
If you wish to add noodles, cook them to package specifications, drain and toss with the vegetables at the end. You may wish to add an additional tablespoon of soy sauce.
• Patty Schied is a longtime Juneau resident who studied at the Cordon Bleu in London, has cooked meals for both AWARE and the Glory Hall, and has written a cookbook. Cooking For Pleasure appears every other week in Capital City Weekly.