I love cookbooks that show you the patterns, the formulas, so you can easily adapt your dishes according to what’s in season or just what’s in your pantry. How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart is great for this.
Last night my daughter asked for something healthy, maybe a stir-fry. We were at the grocery store to pick up some other needed items so I let her pick the vegetables for the stir-fry. She chose mushrooms, an orange pepper, and a red bell pepper. I added some green onions. I used a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts but you could have just as easily used pork, beef, shrimp, scallops or tofu. The vegetables should add up to about a pound, plus or minus.
Flexible Stir Fry
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sugar
- Stir Fry
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken cut in bite sized pieces
- 1 Tbs soy sauce
- 1 Tbs sherry
- 1 onion, cut in wedges
- some mushrooms, sliced
- some red pepper, sliced thinly
- some orange pepper, sliced thinly
- some green onions, sliced in 1″ pieces
- 1 Tbs garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs ginger, minced
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbs chicken broth
- 3 Tbs peanut oil
- Mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
- Mix the chicken with the soy sauce and sherry and set aside.
- Prepare all the vegetables, including garlic and ginger, and set aside, leaving in small piles on your cutting board or on a large plate.
- Mix the cornstarch and the chicken broth in a small bowl and set aside.
- Once everything’s ready, pour 1 Tbs of the oil in deep skillet and heat over high. Add half the chicken and stir fry 2-3 minutes, until just done. Remove to a bowl and then stir fry the other half of the chicken.
- Add the remaining oil (2 Tbs) to the skillet and cook the onion until browned slightly but still a bit crisp (1 minute or so). Add the garlic and ginger. If you were doing a different combination of vegetables and some took longer to cook you might add the longer cooking ones now. (E.g. asparagus, snow peas, cabbage, peppers, and celery all take a bit longer to cook than mushrooms, water chestnuts, green onions, or shredded carrots. ) Cook another minute or two, stirring frequently.
- Add any other vegetables to the pan (or all of them in my case!) and cook another minute or two, until crisp but tender. Return the chicken to the pan and stir it in.
- Add the sauce and stir to coat. Add the cornstarch and chicken broth mixture and stir until everything is warm and the sauce looks a bit shiny and delicious! If it seems too thick, you can add a bit of water or chicken broth.
NOTE: If you’re serving this with steamed rice, as we did, start that going before everything else.
Leftovers are delicious for lunch the next day!