June 19th, 2014

How to Make Stir-fry Without a Recipe

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How to Make Stir-fry Without a Recipe Stir-fry is the perfect dish to throw together with whatever’s in your CSA Share Box.  Farm staff picks up their CSA Shares on Thursdays, so often on Wednesday I make a stir-fry with whatever’s still kicking around the fridge.  Greens, roots, radishes, peppers, eggplants, cabbage just about anything will work even thinly sliced winter squash.  Start by cutting everything into uniform pieces.  The key is cooking everything quickly on high heat, so thin slicing gives the best results.  Try different shapes, julienning works well for roots and peppers or half moon slices like I did here.  Greens can be washed and cut into bite size pieces.  Aromatics like garlic, ginger root, and onion should be minced.  Larger onion pieces also work well. How to Make Stir-Fry Without a Recipe The stems of bok choy will take much longer than the leaves, so I separated them and cooked the stems with the carrots before adding the greens.  You can do the same with other greens like swiss chard.  I use a wok for stir-fries, but if you don’t have one a large non-stick pan will work.  My wok is cast iron and heavy which is a little different from a more traditional steel wok.  I like it because it holds the heat really nicely.  Heat your pan over high heat with high temperature oil like canola or refined coconut.  When the pan is very hot add garlic, ginger, minced chili, etc.  As soon as you add ingredients they should sizzle, if they don’t wait until the oil heats up more before adding vegetables. How to Make Stir-Fry Without a Recipe Add vegetables in order of cooking time, start with harder vegetables like carrots and turnips.  I usually add a splash of tamari or shoyu with each addition of vegetables.   Stir frequently while cooking.  When the first vegetables are just about done add greens and another splash of tamari.  Cook stirring frequently until greens are wilted.  Greens cook down a lot so I used all the leftover greens from the previous week’s share: mizuna, spinach, arugula, and a few bits of collards. How to Cook Stir Fry Without a Recipe When the stir-fry is done cooking I like to add lime juice, a little more tamari, and a dash of toasted sesame oil.  You can also add Asian chili sauce or other spicy ingredients.  I like to keep the flavoring mild and let everyone flavor the dish to their liking.  To make stir-fry with protein like meat, fish, or tofu cook the protein in the wok first on high heat.  Remove from wok, wipe wok clean, and then cook vegetables.  Return to the meat to the pan at the end of cooking.  To add a starch like noodles or rice, cook stir-fry as usual.  When cooking is done add cold rice and tamari to the pan (warm will make a sticky mess, leftover rice is best, but in a pinch cook your rice and quick-cool it in the freezer) and use a wooden spatula to break up the rice and mix with the vegetables.  To add noodles, cook or soak stir-fry noodles until al dente, then add to the pan with tamari or shoyu and mix until combined.  Garnish stir-fries with scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds or chopped peanuts.  Serve with a lime wedge.

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