Friday, November 09, 2007

a great stir fry

I'm back on the horse, as they say, in the kitchen at least! Number one fall back food for me is a stiry fry. It lends itself to a variety of vegetables, proteins and flavours. This means it is versatile and can adapt to whatever is in the fridge and cupboards. It also has the bonus of being a great workout for your arm muscles.

The trick to making a great stir fry is a hot wok (this usually means on a big, strong gas burner), doing all your food preparation in advance, lots of arm action with the wok shovel and on a domestic burner, it is best to limit the dish to just 1-2 people otherwise the wok gets over loaded and everything steams rather than fries.

Here’s one I put together last night that was particularly delicious and nutritious, inspired by a tray of fresh, mixed Chinese mushrooms (oyster, enoki, shitake and a very large thick brown capped one) I found at the market.

1 onion – finely sliced
a generous knob of ginger, peeled and grated
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
a handful (beware it triples in size, so a little goes a long way) arame (seaweed) – soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes
1 large carrot, julienned
a generous amount of Asian mushrooms, including fresh shitake, sliced or quartered
1 bunch pak choy, bok choy or other Chinese greens, wash well and separate leaves
1 packet smoked tofu, cubed (organic, natural wood smoke)

vegetable oil for cooking (I use raw sesame oil)

roasted sesame oil, to flavour
tamari, to flavour

With all your vegetables cut to size, fire up the wok and add your vegetable oil. Start with cooking the onion, stirring frequently, til translucent. Add ginger and garlic and the drained arame. Reserve the water. Keep stirring. Throw in the carrot and toss for a few minutes. Add a splash of the arame water just a teaspoon or 2 at a time, if the wok is drying out and you don’t want to use more oil. Lastly add the mushrooms, smoked tofu and greens, with a dash of toasted sesame oil. If you are living with salt sensitive individuals, leave the tamari (or soy sauce) on the side to flavour individually.

Serve with rice or noodles. To up the nutrient value I made brown rice, which complemented the tastes and texture of the stir fry.

(Sorry no picture, it did look pretty but we were really hungry!)

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