Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Perfect (Stir-Fry) Recipe

This is a simple, infinitely customizable, stir fry recipe. You can do a number of steps ahead of time, making it quick. It's inexpensive, healthy, and requires no exotic ingredients. I'll give the basic recipe first; at the end of the recipe, you will find tips on making ahead/freezing ingredients! Because you can use any combination of vegetables you want, this can be made with whatever's in season, whatever's lingering in your crisper, or whatever you've just harvested from the garden.

Based on recipe for "Stir Fry with Marinade" in Extending the Table

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch ginger root, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 T. soy sauce
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. pepper
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1 T. cooking sherry (optional)
  • 1/2 pound beef tenderloin or sirloin, pork, or chicken, cut in thin strips (could probably do tofu, but I've never tried)
Marinate at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours.
After marinating, add to meat and set meat mixture aside:
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 T. oil
Stir Fry:
In wok or wide skillet, heat a little oil and saute:
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
When garlic is fragrant (30 seconds or so), add 5-6 cups chopped vegetables* (the more variety the better!):
  • onions
  • green peppers
  • red peppers
  • carrots
  • celery
  • broccoli
  • bamboo shoots
  • bean sprouts
  • snow peas
  • cauliflower
  • cabbage
  • green onions
  • etc.
Stir-fry vegetables until just tender, adding salt and soy sauce to taste; do not overcook. *Add quick-cooking vegetables like bean sprouts, snow peas, green onions at the very end and just heat them through. Remove vegetables from pan. Place marinated meat in pan with a little oil. Stir fry until tender, 3-5 minutes. Return vegetables to pan and heat through. Serve with rice or noodles.

Serves 4

To make ahead or freeze: Meat portion can be chopped and combined with marinade ingredients in quart ziploc bag; it can then be frozen as is! Pull out the night before you want the stir-fry, and you're halfway there! I cut up a few pounds of chicken and make up several quart bags at the same time. I put them all in one bigger gallon-sized bag, label it, and throw it all in the freezer.

Most vegetables can be chopped ahead of time and refrigerated.

Rice can be cooked, frozen, and pulled out of the freezer the morning of. You can reheat in microwave or mix in with stir fry in the skillet.

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