Tuesday, November 17, 2009

stir fry.



Dude, do you remember when I was all, "blah blah I'm going to write about all our standard meals and talk about our grocery list and blah blah" and then I think all I did was post about spanish rice and then I got distracted and did something else?



We eat stir fry like twice a week. It's funny, because everyone makes stir fry and everyone has their own little way of doing it. Sometimes it's nice to have someone else cook for you, but doesn't it seem like if you eat someone else's stir fry, it's just kind of wrong in a way? It's like doing laundry at someone else's house and realizing your clothes all smell different. Or, it's like when you're a kid and you go over to your friend's house and they have DIET COKE instead of REGULAR COKE. Or worse- PEPSI.



The ingredients to our stir fry that never deviate are: onion, garlic, carrot, celery, broccoli, zucchini, soy sauce, a tiny splash of fish sauce, served over long grain (basmati or jasmine) brown rice.

The ingredients that sneak their way in when we're feeling fancy are stuff like, asparagus, green beans, bell peppers (expensive!), maybe snow peas if I'm feeling CRAAAAZY. Mushrooms, sometimes. I've been on a huge mushroom kick. I blame Zach.

I used to throw in tofu every once in awhile, but some of us have problems *ahem* digesting it. Without protein, I get hungry almost immediately after eating, so I've started adding scrambled eggs. When we have cashews on hand, I dump some of those in too. I love it with cashews!

Tell me about your stir fry, please. It's like sneaking into someone's medicine cabinet. I'm snoopy.

39 comments:

Sam said...

Stir fry is a lot like chili or soup- a lot of random things thrown together with one common mission. I usually add a bit of sesame oil for flavor, and chicken as a protein.

I'm always curious how other people make these kinds of dishes; no matter how many households prepare something like stir fry, no two make it the same.

Molly Sophia said...

My stir fry has the standard stuff in it as well, broccoli, snow peas, tofu, bean sprouts (surprisingly inexpensive in bulk) maybe a bell pepper, but I prefer the more crunchy veggies and bell peppers seem to get a little mushy... Baby corn if I'm in a good mood, but I hate using canned food in general.. fry with a little soy sauce.. however one thing I'll always splurge on is portabello mushrooms. So meaty and delicious! But I throw portabellos in just about everything these days. But yeah. Good post on stir fry! My favorite meal of all time.

Wifey said...

Your stir fry actually LOOKS like mine! I use roughly the same ingredients, but ALWAYS add mushrooms and green beans, and yes, cashews are a treat! I use soy sauce and a dollop of honey, and I usually do a honey/soy chicken combo to dump on top. I love my veges crunchy, so only half-cook them, but my Husband likes them well-cooked so I leave his on for longer. Sometimes we have rice, sometimes not. Sometimes I add fish instead. It's just always one of my most favourite meals! So easy, and oh so good for you!

Sweet Charity said...

Awww! I miss stir-fry... I like Asian inpired stir-frys best, though I have been known to stir-fry chard stems and leaves with garlic, onions and a ton of chickpeas and roma tomatoes.
My Asian ones always have lots of garlic and ginger and chilis. I like to use all or most of the following veggies: onion, carrot, celery, bok choy, broccoli, zucchini, sprouts of some sort, peppers, leafy greens like spinach or chard, and whatever else I think might be good. I like using egg too, but like to have a meat too- love using chicken thighs because they are cheapish, and tasty. Sauce is anything from soy to black bean to peanut coconut curry... oh ya, and I love throwing nuts and seeds in.

jennifer said...

my standard stir fry is similar to yours, except NO celery. i also like to add fresh ginger, and some times pineapple. i also like to use either rice vinegar or black vinegar. i love tofu and cashews, or tempeh and cashews.

if it's more of a fajita night, i'll use lemon juice and cilanto, and throw in some corn.

mmmmmmmm!

underadarksky said...

The basics that are always in mine: onions, red peppers, snow peas, bean sprouts, fresh garlic and fresh ginger, sesame seeds and chopped peanuts. Sometimes tofu, sometimes shredded carrots. It is so weird to read about other peoples stirfry ingredients, it is definitely one of those dishes where you consider your own version "normal" and everyone elses somehow deviant from this norm.

Andy said...

It's been a long time since I've made a "real" stir fry, but what I've beed doing these days is this "peanut" tofu stir fry. It comes from this chinese restaurant called So Good (and yes it is really good).
You want to start off by making the peanut sauce - I never bothered coming up with a recipe, but I'd say it's about 2 spatula's worth of PB, a touch of cream, some minced ginger, a handful of brown sugar, and a tiny bit of vinegar (add this last). Mix that up in a bowl and leave it for now. Chop up your tofu into small bits and submerge them in the peanut sauce.
Now, you start off with average stir fry - throw on your olive oil with onions + garlic + a hot pepper or two. Then, when your pan's still on high heat, throw in your tofu and let it brown the outside a little bit. Then, you basically add in anything you want - I usually do peppers + mushrooms (any kind) and if I remember (but they really make the recipe), cashews and water chestnuts.
The best thing is that you would seriously have to be developmentally challenged to make this taste bad. I'll eat anything I've made no matter the taste, but this is impossible to screw up.

veralicious. said...

i usually make a thai inspired stir fry.
whatever vegetables i have in a coconut peanut sauce and served over basmati rice. good times.

amy said...

My standard stir-fry =
. peanut oil
. garlic
. chilli
. onion
. ginger
. carrots
. bok choy
. mushrooms
. broc
. snow peas or green beans
. baby corn
. water chestnuts or cashews
. singapore noodles or rice
. ketchup manis

this is if i can be bothered cutting that many ingredients of course :)

Megan@Feasting on Art said...

I rotate the vegetables but I always always start with garlic, ginger, and chili. I like to toss in sesame seeds at the end too.

This post made me very hungry!

littlebluehen.com said...

Now I am craving stir-fry. We haven't had it in a while!

ALWAYS: onion, lots of garlic, ginger, bell peppers, mushrooms
OFTEN: tempeh or sometimes tofu

My husband prefers his "more saucy" while I like mine a bit "more fresh," but I'll often do a soy sauce/cornstarch/rice vinegar/honey type sauce, too. And I'm a short grain rice girl after living in Japan.

Lu said...

hey mine is similar to yours, but I always add in grated ginger root and a chilli as well as some spring onions - cashews are great if you have them too, so so good, and carrots cut into little sticks, smaller the better

newenglandnoir said...

Mmm, stir-fry. We use a bit of coconut milk (1/4 can if it's just us, the whole can if we're having company), sesame oil, and seasonal fruit/nuts. The things that never deviate are onions, carrots, peas & corn (frozen, for sweetness) & red pepper. I love it with broccoli and fresh pineapple, but usually that's only for company. It's more curry-like than most stir-fries, buuuuut it's awesome. :)

diane starkey said...

Chili flakes or Thai chili paste are always in mine. I love the egg idea, I'm going to try that. *Crap* I'm going to be thinking about dinner for the rest of the day, and its only 8:45! Oh well. Great post!

Kristina said...

Garlic, carrots, celery (WHY is celery with soy sauce so delicious?), spinach. Sometimes bell peppers, snap peas, or mushrooms.

Last night I chopped up a bunch of leftover chard stems and used them like bok choy (the white core of a head of lettuce works well, too). Cabbage is tasty, as well, and SO CHEAP.

I like egg in my stir fry, too-- have you ever tried frying the egg in sesame oil? I've taken a liking to that.

lauren said...

stir fry is my go to meal. i like to use onions, peppers, bean sprouts, kale, snow peas, and chickpeas. then soy sauce, sriacha and a little agave nectar.

Jodi said...

our favorite stir fry is Korean Bibimbap. Since we raise our own chickens, it's a great way to use the eggs. Here's the link I used to learn how to make it:

http://vimeo.com/2099324

Miss Kate said...

My stirfry isn't complete without Sriracha chili sauce and some sesame seeds on top. Sesame seeds make anything prettier

andrea said...

The standard stirfry at my house (and my favorite fucking meal ever) is onion, garlic, scallions, red bell pepper, carrots, freakish amounts of broccoli, cherry tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, and like whatever else is going bad in my crisper. Oh, and there's always like half a bag of spinach in there as well, because wilted spinach is da bomb.

but for the sauce i always mix a scoop of peanut butter, splash of sesame oil, some wine (whatever is open), and a good amount of oyster sauce. it makes this thick gross looking paste but we thin it out with like equal amounts sauce to water.
Its soooo good.

JennyCash said...

stir fry is a standard around here, too. i also agree that each family's particular stiry fry is unique, like a part of their family tapestry, and all other stiry fry recipes feel strangely foreign and wrong.

i cook up long grain basmati rice. while that's doing it's thing, i saute an onion, carrots, broccoli and garlic in either olive oil or coconut oil. we usually do this vegetarian, but throw in chicken occassionally. towards the end i add in some chopped zuchinni and pineapple (it makes ALL the difference). then i make a space in the pan and add 2 eggs, then throw the cooked rice in, crank up the heat and fry it all up with some shakes of either soy sauce or the House of Tsang korean style sauce. sprinkle with green onions or peanuts or sesame seeds. great......now i'm hungry!

Lisa-Marie said...

I do glazed pork strips (in the oven) then in the actual stirying-frying bit - baby sweetcorn, green beans, whatever peppers I have, shredded carrots, shrooms, aand chillis.

Dressing - sqirt of blossom honey, bout 50 ml soy sauce, bit of Lea and Perins, tsp ginger, some sea salt.

olive said...

Absolute favorite stir-fries:

Copious amounts of broccoli with a lot of garlic, a lot of ginger, dried chilis, a little dark Chinese soy sauce and some oyster sauce (the non-MSG kind, ooooh). Also really good with tofu added (marinated first in some soy sauce, garlic, ginger and a little sesame oil).

The second...well, it's cooked in a wok, so that kind of makes it stir fry, right? Bell pepper, corn (but only fresh corn, so this is kind of seasonal), yams, onion, broccoli, chicken, lemon grass, ginger, garlic, and chilies, stir-fried together with some Muchi curry powder (available at New Season's) and coconut milk. So. Damn. Good.

Teresa said...

i love stir fry, with pretty the same veg as you, plus chicken. i recently made some with hoison sauce. it is my new favorite way.

eatyourvictuals said...

stir fry tastes good. real good. lately I've been into adding vegetable broth and some miso to make it into a delicious soup. then I ladle it over soba noodles. I know this means it's not really stir fry anymore but...

eatyourvictuals said...

stir fry tastes good. real good. lately I've been into adding vegetable broth and some miso to make it into a delicious soup. then I ladle it over soba noodles. I know this means it's not really stir fry anymore but...

Melinda said...

I'm not actually much a stir fry girl but obviously I need to try it. I'm a new vegetarian and you inspire me endlessly in what to eat - it's fantastic. Honestly without food blogs I might have starved for not knowing what to eat those first few weeks.

I will bust out the wok for a stir fry soon but everyone and their mom should try the Ultimate Veggie Fried Rice on Vegetarian Times website - it's a staple for me now with an egg scrambled in for protein. Insane.

mjb said...

I'm afraid we won't be happy with anything but a restaurant one for awhile - we've blamed our pans and stove the last couple times because it just hasn't turned out! There's also the fact that my version may not match my husband's expectation of what a stir-fry should be.

christopher said...

I haven't made straight up mixed stir fry in ages, with perhaps the exception of a simple one of ginger, celery, and tofu with soy sauce. But I often make a veg-heavy fried rice. One evening it turned out particularly good and I amazed all my friends, but I haven't been able to live up to that standard since, so my name for it is "non-transcendent fried rice", and this is more or less what I do:

Fry up onions in a neutral oil (pure olive, canola, peanut, whatever) plus a dab of sesame oil until fuckless (that is, until you have fried the fuck out of them. They should be brown and gooey and sweet and delicious). I generally use some chili oil here as well for spicy, or throw in very finely chopped chiles. Add green onion white parts (set the green parts aside), garlic (usually leave this one out now, as my wife has figured out that she is intolerant), and ginger, and fry a bit more. You coudl also use shallots at this point. Add celery and other veg—I often use the Stahlbush mixed veg mix, with the typical carrots, peas, and corn, but you can also add peppers, bean sprouts, snow peas, and the like. Then, and this is key, throw in smoked tofu and cashews. I usually use Soya Nova smoked tofu from Victoria, but I doubt that is available in the States, but surely you can find some other smoked tofu. The cashews are also very important. You can toss them in with the ginger and stuff if you want them browned some, or here works too. Fry for a bit, then add your rice. I have used leftover cold rice and fresh rice, white or brown or a mix, but I always use short grain. Mix it all up, then throw on a glug glug of mirin (Japanese cooking rice wine), a little bit of soy sauce (not much!), LOTS of black pepper, and several healthy dashes of MSG (yes, this part is also important). I also like to use numbing Sichuan pepper/ichimi togarashi, or if it's not spicy enough you can throw on nanami togarashi for the spicy-numbing combo. Stir occasionally. After heated through, top with sliced green onion greens and cilantro. YUM.

Lindsay M said...

TOASTED sesame oil makes a complete difference in making stir-fry.
If you like using meat-- cut in in strips and dredge it in a little flour to make it nice and crispy which can be a great contrast with veggies that sometimes get a little mushy.

Lotus Moma said...

I LOVE stir fry. I have made this one give or take a few ingredients. The sauce is amazing and super easy. There is always carrots (cuz hello they are super cheap)peas,onion, garlic.

Sarah said...

I put lots of olive oil in the pan and then throw in whatever veggies I feel like (onions, peppers, celery, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, water cheasnut) and cook until almost done. I then throw in some GF soy sauce, water, and some cornstarch to make a nice thick sauce. Serve over brown rice or quinoa with some delicious WASABI! I have to at least start eating it with chopsticks until my hands get tired. Mmmm, stir fry is so good.

hotchocolatehannah said...

I tend to use udon or rice noodles rather than rice, but use a similar mix otherwise. I've never tried cashews; do you toast them first and add them at the end, or cook them in the stir fry?

My absolute essential ingredient is stem ginger in sugar syrup. Finely sliced, it gives a gingery zing but is less strong than raw ginger. The syrup gives the stir fry a sweet and sour kick.

French lover said...

Your blog always makes me so hungry ! And the pictures are absolutely beautiful.

Kerri said...

Staples: Garlic, Onion, Mushrooms, Zucchini, Carrots, Peas, Green Beans, Broccoli, Sesame Seeds, Red Pepper Flakes, Low Sodium Soy Sauce

Other Usual Possibilities: Celery, Bell Peppers, Lima Beans, a Spicy Sauce, Other Squash

Proteins: Chicken is my Usual but Pork is PHENOMENAL and I sometimes cut a cheap steak SUPER thin for it, Garlic-Herb Tofu

Carbs: LOVE boiled rice noodles (just stir fried with this again the other night), Brown Rice, Buckwheat Noodles, and if it is all I have: white rice

Bossy Chef said...

Looks my template is the same as everyone. Green and red onion, garlic, ginger, bell pepper, broccoli, and carrots (these dont' seem to make an appearance as often). We used to add nuts but we have a person under two in the house now so they are on hold for another 6 months. I like to add Kim Chi and maybe a serano for some zing, and sometimes when I'm feeling crazy.... peas. Why not?

Halen said...

This is inspiration! I love the variety of vegetables in my stir fry, but I haven't settled on the 'sauce' or flavor yet. Thanks for all of the inspiration!

April said...

oohh this looks yummy. Stir fry is so versatile and you can eat it with anything. Thanks for sharing!

Hilary said...

mm stir fry! I used to make stir fry in the mornings to take with me to work for lunch all the time last year. My general was quite standard until I lived with a Japanese girl and discovered other fine things to put in it. Ok so onion (obviously), peppers, bean sprouts, broccoli, sugar snap peas, long green beans, a clove of garlic, a wee cube of ginger. Also like to add a tiny teeny splash of white wine (mostly beacuse that sizzing sound it makes when it touches the pan is awesome!) My flatmate put a tiny sprinkle of brown sugar in for good measure and also a wee scraping of this Chinese stock. I have no idea what it is called but comes in a short red tin with a little cute man on the front. So there you have it. Oh and to top it I add some spinach leaves and rocket to have nice colour. But that's only when I'm feeling fancy. Thanks for the blog, still loving it!

Seramarias said...

Hmmmm. Stirfry consists of whatever is handy! No, wait. Medium-grain brown rice, generally cooked the day before, or sometimes noodles. (I like buckwheat soba noodles cooked, drained, and chilled, but it varies.) Soy sauce, ginger & garlic (fresh if I have it, dried if I don't), pinch of celery seed, maybe a hint of allspice, black pepper.
Veggies! Carrots, broccoli, sometimes a handful of green peas, onion, mung bean sprouts, bok choi, water chestnuts. . . whatever else is handy.
I always add a scrambled egg or two if I'm not using some other protein. Chicken breast, pork chops, canned baby shrimp. . . It's all good.