Pasta Seafood Veggies Starring as....Themselves

Everyday Asian

Last night’s dinner was a variation on one of my standby meal plans — stir fried veggies and sesame noodles, with or without some tofu, meat or fish.¬†¬†These dishes are healthy and¬†quick to prepare,¬†and we almost always have the ingredients in the house.¬† Our sesame noodles were made with whole wheat spaghetti cooked and then tossed in a dressing that pretty closely follows this recipe. The veggies used what I had available — carrots and broccoli left from last week’s produce delivery, and some lovely bok choy that came in yesterday’s delivery.¬† The ahi tuna was marinated for about 30 minutes in the marinade from this recipe.¬† Since our grill was recently put out to “pasture,” and our new grill hasn’t arrived yet, I left the tuna in portion-sized pieces and cooked it under the broiler.¬† Grilling would have made it better, but we were pretty happy with it prepared this way.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For the veggies, I used an approach that I picked up in my recent chop suey making.¬† I stir fry only 1-2 veggies at a time and then transfer them to the serving dish before adding the next 1-2 veggies.¬† This helps to ensure that each vegetable is cooked perfectly, and that none of them get soggy or overcrowded.¬† This means, for example, that I do bok choy in two steps:¬†¬†the¬†1st¬†step for the white stems, which behave a lot like celery; and a 2nd step for the leaves, which are much more tender and cook more quickly. The basic idea is to cook the veggies individually, in rough order of their cooking time, from longest cooking time to quickest.¬† As these pictures show, I am not stir frying in a wok.¬† I have a fabulous wok, but it takes up a lot of space in my kitchen.¬† So, for a quick weeknight meal, I’m just as likely to use a large fry pan.¬† The trick is to give the pan plenty of time to get really hot!

These vegetables were cooked in about 1 tablespoon of peanut oil and 1 teaspoon of salt, divided across about 3 steps.  At the end, to help the broccoli finish with a little steam and to balance what can sometimes be a bitter note bok choy, I added about 2 tablespoons of mirin, a very sweet Chinese rice wine.  In the end, I was very glad I added the mirin.  With bok choy as large and mature as these stalks were, I really think it made a difference.