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Stir Frying

Stir-fried dishes are good one-dish meals if you do it right. The combination of technique and ingredients below keeps vegetables crispy tender. I also wanted something that could serve as a brown-bag lunch the following day. It tastes great cold and is full of nutrients, too. Get youngsters started early on this dish. Use with Teriyaki, Chile Sauce or Paste, or any of our Dipping Sauces. for sauce and dish combinations.

For the vegetables:

onions, thinly sliced
pak choi (celery-like)
at least one type of leafy green (kale, Swiss chard, spinach, mizuna)
bell peppers, thinly sliced
snow peas
Brussels sprouts
a crushed garlic
pepper flakes to taste, or fresh hot pepper

More fibrous vegetables (except ginger) should be steamed to crisp-tender first (about 3-5 minutes). Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and onions fall into this category.

More tender vegetables -- bell peppers, spinach, beet, Swiss chard, snow peas, zucchini, mushrooms -- can be added to steamed vegetables and stir-fried in a little oil and sauce, just enough to moisten, but not saturate vegetables. Stir frying shouldn't take more than 4-5 additional minutes.

Remainder of sauce is reserved at the table for additional drizzling.

For the meat or meat substitutes:

leftover beef pot roast or uncooked tenderloin, sliced very thinly
cooked shrimp
chicken (cooked or uncooked, sliced or cubed)

All meat or fish should be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated till time to serve. Adding a tad of soy sauce or rice wine or both would help it retain some moisture. After all vegetables are cooked and set aside, the meat is fried, either in the same wok or a separate pan. Joy of Cooking Cookbook's recipe for Sukiyaki recommends cooking the meat first, then adding vegetables. I prefer cooking vegetables separately, to avoid their absorption of oil or juices from meat.