Classic Stir-Fry

Now for those of you who love stir fry's but are keeping an eye on your health, this version is commercial-sauce free and packed with so many delicious and nutritious veggies! The sauce can be easily homemade as long as you execute the 3 key flavours for a stir fry: Sweet, savoury and a little bit of spice. I love making this when I am craving noodles and need a filling meal. The great thing about stir fry's is how creative you can be with them- anything goes! Try out different veggie combinations to find your perfect fit. The open-ended recipe below is my favourite.

What You'll Need

  • glass noodles (or any other noodles of your preference)

  • 1/2 a small head of broccoli

  • 3 sliced button mushrooms (or another variety)

  • 1/2 red & 1/2 yellow pepper (1 pepper total)

  • zucchini or eggplant

  • 1 small handful of grated carrot

  • 1/2 a white onion (chopped) & 4 large garlic cloves (minced)

  • 1 TBSP minced ginger OR ginger powder

  • 3 eggs OR ~1 cup tofu

  • 3 large TBSP's honey

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (Kikkoman is the best)

  • salt & pepper to taste

  • 1/8 TSP cayenne pepper (or more if you like spicy)

  • arrowroot powder (natural thickener!)

  • 1-2 cups of water

  • handful of peanuts for garnish

Start by preparing all of your vegetables. Once you are cooking you should no longer be cutting, for a smooth relaxed cooking experience. Slice the pepper mushrooms and zucchini/eggplant thinly. You can cut them however you want but I find that thinner slices blend well with everything else and nothing stands out too much. A good dish that has a variety of ingredients is balanced- Nothing is overly noticeable but nothing disappears completely either. 

Break the broccoli into smaller chunks and don't forget about the stem! You can slice this thinly as well and add it to the stir fry. It has a nice crunchy sweetness while retaining the flavour of broccoli. Mince the ginger (or even better- use a garlic press) and chop the onion into small pieces. 

Heat sesame oil in a large deep frying pan or wok on high. Once it's hot, lower to medium-high while you add in the zucchini/eggplant, onion, garlic, ginger, broccoli, beansprouts, mushrooms & sweet pepper. In the meantime, boil and pot of water for the noodles, and grate the ginger & carrot.

After a few minutes of cooking, add in the carrot and lower the heat to medium. You can add in sesame oil as you go if anything starts sticking. If you do, don't pour it onto the vegetables. Move them to the side and pour it on the pan to allow the oil to get hot so that the veggies don't just absorb it. After a while water will be lost from the veggies and create more moisture in the pan- at this point don't add anymore oil, you can add little bit of water as you go if need be. In this way you are kind of steaming the vegetables rather than frying them the whole time.  

If you are using tofu rather than egg, the way you cook it depends on your tofu preferences. I like tofu dense and toasted not squishy, so I lightly fry it on a separate pan while the vegetables are cooking- then add it in once the vegetables are done. If you like squishy tofu or don't want tofu chunks that are distinct from the vegetables, you can simply crumble it in with the veggies at the beginning and let it cook as everything else cooks.   

BEFORE                                                                                                                                      AFTER

Once your vegetables are soft and cooked (similar to the after picture). You can add in the eggs (if not using tofu). Push the veggies to one side of the pan. Beat the 3 eggs lightly in a bowl with a fork before pouring into the empty side and let them cook, mixing occasionally to make scrambled eggs. You can blend them in with the rest of the veggies before they're cooked as the pan will still be hot enough for them to cook as you add in everything else. 

Turn down the heat of the pan to low and add in ~ 1/2 water. The noodles should be ready- don't overcook as they will continue to soften once you add them to the wok. Much of the delight of glass noodles rests in their texture and this will be lost if they are too soft. They should be al dente when you take them out, which is a cooking time of around 15 minutes. Mix the arrowroot powder, water, honey and soy sauce in a bowl and pour into the wok. You can continue adding water at your discretion as the water continues to evaporate and the mixture thickens. Arrowroot powder is a natural thickener than can be used in place of cornstarch. It is relatively tasteless and offers more benefits than cornstarch due to the fact that it is the powder of a whole nutritious rhizome plant.  Cornstarch in comparison, is the processed powder of a less nutritious GMO crop (corn).  

Once you have created a sauce-like mixture in the wok, add in the cayenne, ginger powder (optional) & salt and pepper to taste. Now add in the noodles and mix everything well. I keep the stove at the lowest possible heat at this point and continue adding soy sauce until the mixture has assumed the desired flavour. There are no perfect instructions for a recipe like this, you just have to use your best judgment as to what the dish needs and when by not overthinking or trying to hard to make it perfect. The best culinary results come out unintentionally & spontaneously- when one is having fun and not so concerned about the results. 

From here on out it is just a flavour game, keep adding little bits of what is needed until you get the desired flavour. I usually make more sauce and add it in after I have added the noodles because they absorb much of the flavours. If the mixture is too watery don't worry, the water will just continue to evaporate as it sits on the heat and is absorbed by the noodles. This also softens them up, hence if they were fully cooked when you took them out of the water they will be mush now... which essentially ruins the dish (I know because I've been there :P). Getting the right balance just takes practice.

Turn off the heat and blend the peanuts in the blender for a couple of seconds (until coarsely ground). Fill a bowl with the stir fry and top with peanuts- enjoy! 

P.S: Because this makes so much, if you are just cooking for yourself you can store the rest in a container in the fridge. Don't put the hot food immediately in the fridge as this shocks both your fridge and your food haha. When you want to eat it again simply heat on a pan wit some water (definitely no need for oil) as the mixture will lose lots of moisture after it cools. It's actually pretty good the next day as the flavours continue to develop in a different way- However I do not recommend storing for more than one night so if you still have too much find someone to feed.. maybe your neighbour... 

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