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Monday, April 4, 2011

No-recipe Stirfry

Clockwise from top left: Carrots (accessory veg),
ginger (aromatic), kung pao sauce,
cubed tofu (protein), snow peas (main veg)
I rarely use a particular recipe any more to make stirfry (as I type this, at least three exceptions spring to mind...but I digress).  Rather, I take a mix-and-match approach to the process, relying on frozen homemade sauces in combination with a variety of fresh veg and whatever protein is on sale at the store that week.

A basic stirfry recipe follows this format:
  • 8oz-16oz from Column A
  • 1-2 tbsp from Column B
  • 1 cup from Column C
  • 2-3 cups from Column D
  • 2/3-3/4 cup from Column E
  • 2 tbsp of cornstarch 
  • a sprinkle from Column G

Column AColumn BColumn C
-thinly sliced flank steak-diced jalapeno-water chestnuts
-thinly sliced london broil-minced garlic-bamboo shoots
-thinly sliced pork chops-grated ginger-thinly sliced carrots
-thinly sliced country-style ribs-Sichuan peppercorns-thinly sliced onion
-thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast-sliced bell peppers
-thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken thigh-thinly sliced mushrooms
-pressed, cubed tofu-bean sprouts
-cubed tempeh
-peeled shrimp
-bay scallops

Column DColumn EColumn FColumn G
-bell peppers-Kung Pao 2 tbsp cornstarch-cashews
-bok choy-Orange-Sesame-peanuts
-napa cabbage-other-sunflower seeds
-broccoli-sliced green onions
-snow peas-sesame seeds
-yellow squash
-green beans
-snap peas
-frozen peas

  1. Prep everything ahead (all slicing, measuring, finding of ingredients, etc.) as much as a day or two in advance (obviously cover and refrigerate if prepping a day ahead)
  2. Stirfry the protein (except tofu and tempeh) over medium-high or high heat in a couple tbsp of canola oil until mostly cooked through.  Remove from wok and set aside. 
  3. Add the aromatics and stirfry just 1 minute, then add vegetables. 
  4. Add hard vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and onions first, and stirfry until softened. 
  5. Add protein back (including tofu and tempeh now). 
  6. Add medium-soft vegetables like mushrooms, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, snap peas, and bell peppers next and stirfry about 3 minutes. 
  7. Add tender veg like peas, squash, napa cabbage, bok choy, snow peas and bean sprouts last and stirfry 1-2 minutes. 
  8. Whisk cornstarch into sauce, and add sauce.  Boil 1-2 minutes until thickened. 
  9. Serve with an optional sprinkle of seeds or nuts.
Mix and match to suit personal preferences, food allergies, refrigerator contents, grocery store sales, seasonality...Happy Wokking! Pin It

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