This winter, close on the heels of my discovery that things like red cabbage and sweet potatoes make great stir fry additions, I’ve been stir frying veggies at least once a week.¬† I just can’t get enough of the rainbow-in-a-bowl opportunity that stir fries offer.¬† And our organic produce delivery has been choc full of bok choy!
I’ve been stir fying for years (maybe decades), and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve gotten a little bit sloppy with my technique.¬† This is why following a chop suey recipe exactly may have led to my big culinary breakthrough of the season.¬† You see, I’m pretty good at ordering my cooking tasks in¬†terms of how long things take to cook, and this has led me to develop a habit of “stir frying” by gradually adding veggies to the wok in descending order of cooking time, such that the wok is more crowded with every addition.¬† Too often, my “stir fries” were just bowls of steamed, soupy vegetables.
Enter this chop suey recipe.¬† Note that the recipe calls for the vegetables to be stir fried individually.¬† This makes a world of difference.¬† Now, regardless of whether I’m making chop suey, I use this technique so that I can ensure that each vegetable is cooked properly. I use ginger and garlic for my aromatics, and I often deglaze the pan at the end with a splash of mirin — a sweet Chinese rice wine — because I have found that it balances the occasionally bitter aftertaste of cruciferous vegetables like bok choy.¬† And that, my friends, leaves me with a bowl of perfectly cooked veggies that can be used in any number of ways.
Tonight, I came home to a fridge that contained some of these leftover vegetables and some leftover coconut rice.¬† I decided to whip up¬†an easy peasy shrimp curry to combine with the veggies into a “new’ dish.¬† I thawed the shrimp and tossed them with corn starch, salt and pepper.¬† I sauteed minced shallots in some clarified butter, added 1 Tbs. of madras curry powder, cooked for a couple minutes to toast the curry spices.¬† Then, I added 1 cup of vegetable stock and brought the sauce to a boil.¬† At that point, I added the shrimp, stirring to let the corn starch thicken the sauce and quickly turning the shrimp.¬† When the shrimp were almost done, I tossed in my leftover vegetables and mixed.¬† The vegetables were already cooked perfectly, so they only needed to be reheated by mixing them with the hot sauce.¬†Voila!¬† Leftovers turned into a new dish in minutes!
This whole process has convinced me that I should start making extra stir fried vegetables, so that I can come up with more of these quick, flavorful uses for them!