Crash Test Vegetarian

Vegan to Omnivore outreach program

Basic Stir Fry

on January 26, 2012

Even though I’ve made Asian inspired foods a few times now, they’re still intimidating to me.  Until I made this, I didn’t feel comfortable just “throwing some stuff together.”    But making this stir fry made me realize that I have everything I need to make a good stir fry.   And it doesn’t mean having a Wok – although that would help – OR a lot of oil, if you don’t want to use it.

Stir Fry

Since stir fry should be an easy to make meal, I’m going to post this as ingredient suggestions rather than an actual recipe, with very simple instructions because frankly that’s what I wish I had when I first started.

First let me tell you what I think are essential ingredients for flavor:

Soy Sauce

That’s it!  That’s all that’s actually essential.  That is the basic, but you’re not going to get a very complex flavor from it and will probably feel like something is missing.  So from there you can add:

Honey or Brown Sugar – if you tend to like sweeter stir-fry’s
Broth – if you like it saucy (yeah, baby!)
Sesame oil – Yum!  Highly recommended – to me this is essential
Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar – Essential in our house
Crushed Red Pepper
Sriracha Chili Sauce –
Also essential in our house
Corn Starch slurry – if you want a thicker sauce
Sweet Chili Sauce – Also essential in our house

Ok now, for the veggies –
If you’ve eaten Chinese food, you probably know which vegetables you like, but the idea is to simply chop them up about the same size.     But here are some suggestions:

Sweet bell peppers
Snow Peas
Sugar Snap Peas
Bok Choy
Green Beans
Bamboo Shoots
Baby Corn
Mung Bean Sprouts

Do you notice that I did not include water chestnuts?  Those things are a freaking abomination!

So, what to do?   I’m going to make this easy.

Heat your wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat, add some oil – peanut is suggested, but I always use olive (I use about a Tbsp for 4 servings, then steam the rest).  Add the onion for about 30 – 60 seconds, then add the rest of the vegetables and cook until desired tenderness.    I sautee briefly then add a few tablespoons of water and cover for a few minutes.   

While it’s cooking, make your sauce mix.  For example what we made was APPROX:

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp minced ginger
Some bullion (I don’t freaking know how much!)
2-3 Tbsp water
lots of garlic! About 5-7 cloves
2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 Tbsp Sriracha chili sauce
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil

When the veggies are almost desired tenderness – which is usually in the tender crisp range, pour the mixture over it and cook for a few more minutes, being sure to toss to coat. 

Top with tofu if you want and serve over steaming brown rice. 🙂  Nom.

4 responses to “Basic Stir Fry

  1. Yummmm, I LOVE stir fry. The one I make is super simple. My bf and I totally disagree on the water chestnut debate–he hates them, I love them. 🙂 Strangely I have NEVER had sriracha sauce. I don’t know how this is even possible, but it’s true. I need to invest in a bottle!

    • Izzy says:

      Ha. Too funny. I can’t freaking stand them. It’s my ritual after getting chinese – pick out the water chestnuts…
      yuck! Can’t stand the texture at ALL.

      As for the sriracha sauce? Yes. It’s required. My husband, who doesn’t like hot stuff, loves this stuff.

  2. Mattheworbit says:

    What a great post – I can cook anything complicated, but put me in charge of a salad (other than potato or pasta), or a stir-fry, and I fail completely.

    I’m going to give this a go, thanks!

    I also wanted to note – honey is not vegan – it’s still an animal product. I guess agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, or something similar would work great, though?

    • Izzy says:

      Yep, it’s not. 🙂 Doubt maple syrup would do the trick, I’ve never used the others – though I have seen agave used interchangeably with honey often. I use brown sugar, myself.

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