Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday dinner - Stir Fry

So this is one of my new favorites because a good friend of mine recently taught me how to make stir fry the right way.  Mine has always ended up mushy, oily, and lacking in flavor - but not anymore!

Disclaimer:  This recipe takes a good amount of time where you actually have to be "doing" stuff and is ONLY cheap if you have some of the key ingredients on hand (like soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch).  Also, pretty much the whole thing is done by "eyeing" measurements are exact, so if you hate not knowing exactly how to make something...don't read on =)

The ingredients...well most of them!  After taking this picture I ran next door to borrow my neighbor's sesame oil...I LOVE great neighbors!

Marinade for the meat:
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil (in my opinion, optional...just because it's a bit expensive!)
  • Ground Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cornstarch
  • Soy Sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Hot Sauce (optional)
  • Cornstarch
Other Ingredients:
  • Chicken (I used 2 chicken breasts) cut into strips
  • Veggies - use whatever you like.  Last night I used frozen mixed veggies and bell peppers (because they were leftover from previous weeks!)  But I really like it with broccoli, sugar snap peas & water chestnuts
  • Onion - just a very little...maybe 2 tbsp's chopped
  • Garlic - 1-2 cloves minced
  • Oil - either wok oil or I've also just used vegetable oil or olive oil
  • Rice - about 2-3 cups of cooked rice (so 1-1/2 cups of uncooked to begin with)
Ok - so it's a lot of ingredients and, like I said, if you don't have some of the staple ingredients, it definitely wouldn't be CHEAP, but if you do, this is a super easy recipe to play with and make a thousand different ways.  So here's the process:

Prep your food: Rice, Meat, Marinade, Veggies, Sauce, Prepping the Wok

1) Rice: Start cooking your rice first and it will be all ready by the time you're finished cooking the meat and veggies!

2) Meat: Cut chicken into strips
3) Marinade: Make the marinade and pour over meat:

These measurements are definitely approximations, you can adjust basically everything about this recipe!  Marinade:  3 Tbsp Soy Sauce, 1 tsp Sesame Oil (or none at all if you don't have it), dash of pepper, dash of garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cornstarch.  Let the chicken marinade while you do the rest of the prep and it will be ready to cook by the time you are!

4)  Veggies:  This part is KEY so you don't end up with a bowl of mushy veggies!  For any bigger veggies (like broccoli) get a pot of water to a full boil and throw your veggies in for JUST a minute or two to blanch them.  This will get them cooked a bit, but still keep them crispy!  Then strain them and let them sit till they are ready to add to the stir fry.  

I actually blanched all my veggies last night, and shouldn't of blanched any of them!  They were all pretty small and didn't need the extra cooking time.

5) Sauce: Next, make the sauce - it's soooo much cheaper and easier than buying the pre-made stuff (and tastes more authentic too!).  You'll use about 4-5 Tbsp Soy Sauce, 1/2-1 Tbsp Vinegar, 1-2 tsp sugar, and hot sauce if you like (I didn't have any so mine is done without this!).   Lastly, add in approx 1/2 Tbsp Corn Starch.  Taste it to make sure you like it and adjust as needed!

6) Prepping the Wok: So I don't own a Wok (and wouldn't even know where to put it if I did have one!)  But you can totally make stir fry in a large shallow sauce pan like this.  Go ahead and chop up your garlic and onion and place it in the pan with a little oil (maybe 1-2 Tbsp)

That's it for prepping.  I create an assembly line to help me keep things straight so I can just dump stuff in along the way!

Time to cook!

Start by sauteing the garlic, onion, and oil you have in the pan...just about 3 minutes and be sure to keep the garlic from turning brown...I keep it on medium heat.
Then add in the meat and stir fry until the meat is almost cooked through

Now add in your veggies and let them cook till they are all just becoming tender.  You've got a lot of cooking time left, so this is key to avoid the mushy vegetable thing!

At this point, add in about 1/2 cup of water and bring it to a boil

Here's mine as it's coming to a boil

Once it's boiling, slowly add in the sauce while stirring constantly.  It will start to get thick and make a gravy (thanks to the cornstarch!)

That's it!  (ha...I know it's quite involved!)


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