Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Post #87 - Stir Fry

If I don't have any leftover rice for fried rice, and have nothing else planned and/or available, "stir fry" is usually what happens in my kitchen.

Cook some rice (I like Three Ladies brand jasmine rice).

If you have thawed proteins, chop them (it, she?) into bite-size pieces, and marinate in soy sauce, maybe with ginger, chili paste, etc., while you prep the veggies.

Chop up whatever vegetables you have on-hand - cabbage, carrot, celery, onion, bell pepper, water chestnuts, peas, bean sprouts (obviously don't chop the peas).

Mix up some soy sauce, fish sauce, Chinese black vinegar, Chinese rice wine, chili-garlic sauce, chili paste, (etc., etc., etc.), add some cornstarch, whisk to combine, then add water. (For 1 lb of chicken, I use maybe 3T of soy, 1/2-1 teaspoon of fish sauce, about a tablespoon of chili-garlic and chili paste, about a teaspoon each of vinegar, wine and cornstarch, and about 1/4 cup of water. But I don't measure, so don't yell at me if it doesn't turn out.) If you don't use chili-garlic sauce, add some minced garlic. Microplaned ginger is always a good addition.

Here's a picture of the black vinegar, to make up for my current lack of a camera. I don't know how it's different from regular vinegar, other than being darker, but it makes this dish delicious.

Get your wok really hot, then add a little peanut (or vegetable) oil, swirl to coat, then add the protein of choice. Stir-fry, but don't stir obsessively - it's not a risotto. You want some Maillard reaction going on, happy caramelized brown spots.

When the meat (tofu?) is fully cooked, remove from the wok.

Add a little more oil to the wok, then add the veggies, starting with the ones that take the most amount of time to cook (e.g. carrots), and ending with the ones that take the least amount of time (e.g. cabbage leaves). Stir, fry, etc.

Almost immediately after you add your most delicate veggies (green onion, cilantro), dump in the soy-flavoring-liquid. Bring to a boil, so the cornstarch can demonstrate its thickening powers. Lower the heat, and simmer a little, until everything's as tender as you want it.

Serve over the rice.


Kevin said...

Stir fried with rice is always a nice quick and tasty meal. I usually don't have leftover rice either but having a rice cooker makes it a lot easier. This reminds me that I need to get out and look for some Chinese black vinegar.

Vicki said...

I never have a problem when cooking rice for dinner the same night, but when I'm cooking it so I'll deliberately have it for the next day, I tend to forget about it...I need a rice cooker!