Some time ago on holiday with friends I made stir fry for dinner, and now, they want the recipe. But, I don’t remember how I made it! It’s stir fry, it could be anything! The main ingredients I remember are: some peppers (because I remembered thinking very long and hard on whether I should add them), no mushrooms (because we forgot we had them and I made soup with them later), and cashews (because we had to especially get more because someone ate them…). So, here’s an extrapolation from these parameters using my prior knowledge on what I would probably put in a stir fry.
Ingredients (4-ish people)
1 red chili
piece of ginger (1 cm)
~5 cloves or garlic
1 lime (we will use both zest and juice)
soy sauce (keep on the side if you have a soy-intolerant friend :p)
~200 g mangetout
~200 g bean sprouts
2 peppers (any colours)
handful cashews per person
bunch of spring onions
oil (sunflower or a mix of sunflower and coconut or sesame)
Make a spice base by grating garlic, ginger and zest of the lime, and adding finely chopped chili (remove the seeds unless you want it extra spicy). Cut the broccoli stalk in pieces* (keep them separate) and divide the head into medium-sized chunks. Remove the core and seeds of the peppers and cut them in strips, then cut the strips in threes to get nicely sized bits. Very roughly chop the cashews, it’s okay if there’s still some whole ones.
Put a wok (or large skillet if you don’t have one) on high heat and add your oil. When the oil’s hot, add the spice base and fry it for a minute or so. Then add broccoli stalk bits and peppers and fry for a few minutes. If using sesame oil, I usually only add it at this point because I don’t want it to get too hot and evaporate.
Add the rest of the broccoli, cashews, and mangetout. Add black pepper and salt (especially if skipping the soy sauce) and stir. Splash in some water to make the broccoli cook easier and reduce the heat somewhat.
Once everything is done or nearly done, add bean sprouts and lastly the spring onions (they don’t need to be fried). Alternatively, you can briefly cook the bean sprouts by poring boiling water on them, leaving it for a minute, and draining them. You can then add the cooked bean sprouts and the spring onions after turning off the heat.
Flavour the stir fry with soy sauce and lime juice. I recommend squeezing only half the lime and tasting, then decide if you want more lime**. Serve with boiled rice (I prefer brown rice with this meal) or noodles.
* Almost everyone I know throws out the stalk of the broccoli, but it’s actually perfectly fine to eat. Some time ago I had a Chinese neighbour who taught me how to cook her veggie stir fry and she would be careful to use all of the edible parts of the plant. No reason not to, just make sure you boil/fry the stalk bits a bit longer than the rest. I now feel justified using it too, although I do remove a bit off the end since it’s usually dried out.
** You’re gonna squeeze the lime, then taste a bit of veg by fishing it out of the wok with your fingers. You will then go “oh shit, this is way too limey!” Idiot, you are tasting the lime juice on your fingers. Wisdom gained from personal experience.
– I’m not telling you to wash your veggies in the recipe, but you should wash your veggies.
– Even though they are not in this recipe, you can definitely add mushrooms (brown ones – which are grown above ground – have vitamin D and are tastier than white ones). You can skip any of the vegetable ingredients and add some others, a few suggestions: green beans (in halves or thirds), spinach, baby corn, white or red cabbage (slice very thin), carrots, … I also like making golden brown fried tofu and adding this to the stir fry.