Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stir Fry - Old School/New School

Old School Stir Fry
 Ingredients for New Style Thai

A couple weeks ago Jenn asked me for our stir fry recipe.  Now that she is living on her own, she wanted something quick and easy.  Stir fry can be really healthy and you can use any suitable veggies you have on hand, but you do have to watch that you don't overload it with oil. I actually use olive oil!  The stir fry recipe that I have used for years came from my 1981 Betty Crocker International Cook Book and that's the one Jenn wanted.  But lately, I have become a bit more adventurous with my stir fries!  Below is the recipe the girls grew up with, but written in red is how I've been jazzing it up.  Certain tastes and flavors just seem to fit together; lime and cilantro, coconut and peanuts, coriander and ginger - they just take plain stir fry to a new level! If you wish to take the Thai twist, the ingredients listed in red are all optional. They all compliment each other, but the most important to me are the lime, coconut milk, cilantro, chili, and coriander.

The Stir Fry You Grew Up With
1. Gather up what ever you have/want in refrigerator to use in the stir fry. Things I use are: onions, celery, carrots, broccoli, cabbage. If you plan ahead you could buy pea pods, mushrooms, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts. Wash, if needed, and slice the veggies up.
2. Wash/slice what ever you are going to use as your meat: chicken, steak, shrimp, pork. (Sometimes I put the meat in a bowl along with 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce - but this isn't necessary. It just gives it a bit of a "crust" like you might find in broccoli beef.)
3. Put about 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet, place on medium heat, and add cut up vegetables. Sprinkle in about 1 heaping teaspoon of ginger and 1/2 heaping teaspoon of garlic powder. Cook and stir about 5 minutes until vegetables are still a bit firm/crisp. Add in the juice of one lime and dice up a hot green chili. Substitute 2 teaspoons fresh diced ginger and 2 minced cloves of garlic for the dried stuff. Add 1 teaspoon dried lemon grass or finely chop up a couple stalks of fresh lemongrass. Throw in a small bunch of finely chopped cilantro and 1 teaspoon coriander seeds. 4. Remove the vegetables from the pan, put in a bowl, and cover them up to keep them warm while you cook the meat. (Or just cook the meat at the same time in a separate pan.)
5. Put the meat in the skillet you used to cook the vegetables, and stir fry for about 2 minutes or until chicken is white/ other type of meat looks done. (You may have to add just a bit more oil.)
For Thai, put in 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, and 3 tablespoons soy sauce (I use light soy sauce).
6. Add to the skillet a cup of water and appropriate bouillon cube (beef/chicken) or a cup of canned broth. Cover and simmer for two minutes. Use 1 cup of canned unsweetened coconut milk instead of the broth.
7. If you want a shiny, thicker look to the stir fry you can dissolve 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into 1/4 of a cup of COLD water. Turn the heat up so the broth and meat are boiling, then dump in the cornstarch/water mixture all at once and stir. It should get thick immediately. I skip this for Thai.
8. Add the vegetables back in along with 1 teaspoon of soy sauce (Skip the extra soy sauce for Thai) and for a couple minutes "reheat" the vegetables now mixed with the meat.
9. Serve with additional soy sauce and rice if desired. We use light soy sauce and brown rice. Top with peanuts - yummy!

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