If there is one thing I know with some certainty is that one should never take ones stir-fry too seriously. The most successful stir-fry's I have ever eaten and prepared are ones that have no more that a couple of fresh ingredients and a few seasonings. In fact I am quick to turn over the page, when I come across a recipe that over embellishes this simple home grown dish.
Which is exactly why today was the perfect day for a stir-fry. As I rummage through my fridge's meager contents owing to my procrastination in going grocery shopping (and having used up the offerings of the last trip) I realize I am in fact, equipped to prepare a perfect stir-fry. I
quickly pull out a lonesome skinless chicken breast that sits on the top shelf in a zip-lock bag, a
bunch of green onions, a quarter red bell pepper, half an onion, 2
yellow squashes, fresh cilantro, garlic cloves and voila we're nearly there!
Next stop the pantry cabinet -
for what I like to call the 3 musketeers of stir-fry namely, soy sauce, oyster sauce and a red chilli sauce or paste. Personally, I have a great affinity with sriracha. In addition, pull out the bottle of sesame oil, salt, sugar and we are in business.
Begin preparations on the fresh produce -stir-fry isn't one of the cooking items to tackle without having completed all the preparations prior to starting on the stove. Because we get going, things move very quickly.
To chop garlic - Separate the cloves from the bulb. Place a chef's kitchen knife over the cloves and hit down hard with the heel of your hand. Discard garlic skin and begin to chop the garlic cloves. Use
your knife edge as a pivot and place your hand down firmly bringing the
knife up and down till all the garlic has been chopped.
Red bell pepper - Slice the quartered red bell pepper into 1/4" thick slices.
Onions - Peel and dice the the onions into large chunks.
Yellow squash -
Green onions - Wash and cut the spring onion in 2 inch lengths.
Ginger - Take a 1" knob of ginger and slice into very thin slices.
Cilantro - Wash and roughly chop a handful of cilantro and immerse into a bowl of clean water. It's the best way to get the soil and dirt out as it settles to the bottom.
Sauce - Measure out the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sriracha or chilli paste and sugar. Stir. Set aside.
To wok or not ? - That is the question -
Most people at this point would head for a wok which is exactly what you should do, if you have a very high flame - I mean one of those marvelous wok burners capable of spewing out 100,000 BTU's. A wok is only as good as its heat source. So it heats up really quickly - in a flash in fact - and then as soon as you put in the first ingredient it gives it that wonderful smoky flavor and cools down just as rapidly, instantly turning into a useless piece of metal. So what you need when using a wok is a heat source that can keep the wok fired up at immense temperatures.
Well, since I do not have such a heat source yet (we all have our dreams) I prefer to head for a utensil that is actually going to retain the heat once it builds up so I prefer a stainless steel heavy bottomed saute pan. Alright enough said, here we go -
Heat oil till absolutely fuming and add Onions and Garlic.
Add the yellow squash which looks firm to begin with and saute for about 10 minutes or till it turns translucent.
Add the red bell pepper and continue to saute till the squash has begun to brown on the edges, about another 3-5 minutes.
Add the marinated chicken and keep stirring aggressively until the chicken turns from pink to opaque. Add the green onions and sauce ingredients and stir rapidly. Taste and adjust seasonings.
CHICKEN AND YELLOW SQUASH STIR-FRY
Preparation time -15 minutes
Cooking time - 15 minutes
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp saltPreparation
Sauce - Combine the sauce ingredients, stir and set aside.
Red bell pepper – Wash and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices
Garlic cloves – Peel, discard skin and chopCilantro – Wash and roughly chop a handful of cilantro and immerse into a bowl of clean water. Use only leaves floating on water surface when ready to sue. Discard water.
Remove to a serving platter and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve hot with fresh steamed rice.
Do you have a favorite stir-fry recipe you would like to share? If so please let us know about it in the comments. I would love to hear from you!