A quick, adaptable Asian stew.
A stirfry is the quickest “stew”. It needs nearly constant attention, so some veggie prep moved to step 1.
- Start rice or boiling water for noodles.
In a jar with a tight lid combine a few tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of mirin (or sherry), a tablespoon of oyster or hoison sauce and a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar (the cornstarch is added later); cover and shake vigorously.
- For the main ingredient cut about 1 pound of beef, chicken, shrimp, scallops or tofu into bite-sized pieces or slices. Partially frozen meat is is easier to cut, so for meat not previously frozen, freeze for 15 minutes. Then cut across the grain. Drop the pieces in the marinade, cover and gently shake. Let a tougher cut of beef marinate about an hour, chicken about 1/2 hour and fish or tofu only about 15 minutes or so.
- If dried mushrooms are on hand, toss a handful in a bowl and cover with hot, but not boiling, water.
- Since everything goes quickly in a stir fry, find and chop the veggies early: onion and garlic, a knob of ginger. Any green veggie will do here (slice on a slant where possible): green beans, asparagus, bok choy, nappa cabbage or spinach all work well. For garnish, roughly chop scallions and cilantro.
- Heat pan A wok or any other large, sturdy, deep pan. Really must use a metal spatula here. Find the sesame oil.
- Heat oil 3 teaspoons – 2 tablespoons; if using a small amount, spritz cooking spray first onto the heated pan. Heating a small amount of oil will only take a minute. Use this moment to drain the meat (save the marinade) and the mushrooms (strain the water through a sieve and add some to the saved marinade.)
- Brown main ingredient Stir the main ingredient into the hot oil. (This will be quick and requires constant stirring and scraping.) When just barely cooked, pull the pieces out onto a plate and scrape up the cracklings from the bottom. (Alternatively, the main ingredient can be simply pushed up the side of the wok as the other ingredients cook in the center. Don’t use roughly cut onions for this; they take too long.)
- Sauté onion and garlic You’ll need to add a bit more oil; allow that to heat. As usual, the onion is first. Saute till translucent (or till browned.) Then the garlic.
- Sauté veggies, spices Swirl in the chopped veggie and ginger. Stir for a few minutes.
- Add the wet ingredients Combine 1/2 cup of the marinade and strain around 1/4 cup of the mushroom water back into the jar. Add a tablespoon of cornstarch, and shake vigorously. Pour into the wok.
- Simmer Continue to stir till the main ingredient is hot again and the veggies are tender but still crisp.
- Add garnish, serve Ladle the stir fry into bowls over noodles or rice and add the garnishes.