Posts Tagged 'Stir Fry Recipes'

Thai Chicken with Basil

As I was making my desserts this afternoon for this month’s gourmet club, it occurred to me that in all of June’s travel-related craziness, I never blogged my dishes from last month’s Thai-themed gourmet club.  They’re too good not to share!

I was initially a bit nervous about today’s dish – Thai Chicken with Basil – because it isn’t something you make ahead.  As many of you know, I prefer to do as much as I can ahead of time when entertaining to keep my kitchen space clean and my stress level low.  My kitchen is a gathering place and it isn’t a space I can close off, so cooking with company present involves putting on a bit of a show.

Thankfully, this dish was pretty easy to throw together.  Here are the “prep steps” I took to make things as easy as possible (everything was stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator):

  • I cut the chicken breasts and stored them separately.
  • I combined the fish sauce, soy sauce, water, and sugar in a small container.
  • I cut the onion and stored it separately.
  • I seeded and sliced the chiles, minced the garlic, and stored them together.
  • I washed the basil and stored it separately.
With the hard work done, all I had to do was combine the marinade and the chicken and then dump the right things in the pan at the right time.  Easy entertaining! Here’s the recipe:
Thai Chicken with Basil
Serves 4
Ingredients:
1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4), cut into 1-by-2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
3 fresh red chiles, seeds and ribs removed, cut into thin slices, or 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups lightly packed basil leaves
Method:
In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with the fish sauce, soy sauce, water, and sugar.  In a large nonstick frying pan or a wok, heat the oil over moderately high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Stir in the chiles and garlic; cook, stirring, 30 seconds longer.
Remove the chicken from the marinade with a slotted spoon and add it to the hot pan.  Cook until almost done, stirring, about 3 minutes.  Add the marinade and cook 30 seconds longer.  Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the basil. Serve topped with remaining 1/2 cup basil.

Thai Chicken with Basil

Oh, this dish is really yummy.  There’s a hint of sweet, a hint of heat, and the sauce is delightfully salty (not overpoweringly so).  The chicken came out nicely cooked, and I love the tender onions and fresh basil.  I didn’t take time to photograph the dish during gourmet club, so I gladly made it again the following week because we enjoyed it so much.  If you’re a fan of Thai food, give this one a try!

TIPS:  When I was working on this recipe in May, SuperTarget was the only grocery store I found that carried red chiles.  (They were Fresno chiles, specifically.)  I’m seeing them in King Soopers/Kroger these days as well.

Recipe link: Thai Chicken with Basil

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Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Today’s recipe – Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry from the March 2004 issue of Everyday Food – proves that every recipe deserves a second chance. I made this recipe forever ago and ended up giving it orange rating in my spreadsheet, which meant that I didn’t like it. It wasn’t bad enough to be deleted entirely, but I really had no intention of making it again. (As you can probably tell by the variety of recipes on the blog, I rarely have time to make the same thing twice!)

Poor Dr. O was missing red meat – I hadn’t cooked any since Beef Tacos in early June! – so he put in a request. I wanted to stay on the healthy side of things, though, since I knew we would have an indulgent Fourth of July weekend. Even though I had rated it poorly, the Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry recipe kept jumping out at me, so I decided to give it another try. It was well worth it!

I decided to serve the dish with brown rice (which takes 45 minutes to cook), so I got that going on the stove before I started the stir-fry. Next, I thinly sliced 1 1/4 pounds of flank steak so I could marinate it. Last time I made this dish, I followed the recipe and cut the steak into 1/2-inch-by-3-inch strips. In my opinion, that’s too thick; the meat was just too chewy to enjoy. This time, I cut the meat as thinly as I could (1/4-inch-thick strips or thinner). It made all the difference in the world! Super-thin strips would be almost impossible to cut from steak straight out of the refrigerator, though. Freeze the flank steak for 20 – 30 minutes (wrapped well in plastic) so it firms up before you attempt to slice it.

Once I had sliced the meat, I prepared a marinade in a large, shallow bowl. I combined 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of apple juice, 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 3 minced garlic cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. I added the meat to the bowl, tossed it to coat, and then marinated it for 15 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, I separated the florets from a head of broccoli into bite-size pieces and set them aside. When the meat had finished marinating, I transferred it to a plate and reserved the marinade.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, I heated 1 tablespoon of canola oil over high heat. In two batches, I cooked the meat until it was lightly browned, turning once (about 2 minutes per batch). I placed the cooked meat on a clean plate and set it aside. Next, I added 1/2 cup of water to the skillet and stirred up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. I poured the water and browned bits into the reserved marinade, whisked in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, and set it aside as well.

In the same skillet (still over high heat), I fried the broccoli in 1 teaspoon of canola oil until it was bright green and crisp, tossing often (2 minutes). I added 1 cup of water and cooked until the broccoli was tender (about 6 minutes).

I stirred the marinade to make sure the cornstarch was incorporated, added it to the skillet, brought it to a boil, and then stirred until it was thickened (30 seconds). Finally, I added the cooked steak to the pan, tossed everything to coat, and seasoned with salt and pepper. I served the stir-fry with the brown rice.

Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

This stir-fry is absolutely incredible. (So incredible that I can’t believe I ranked it so poorly the first time!) It’s just as flavorful and delicious as anything I’ve had in a restaurant with one difference – it isn’t *drowning* in sauce. I consider that to be a plus. I just love the way the broccoli soaks up all the flavors, and the thin, thin steak strips are a must. Mmm, mmm, mmm!

TIPS: Flank steak tends to be a pretty lean cut of meat, but I’m going to cut away all visible fat before I slice and cook my meat next time. It’s just a matter of personal preference.

Recipe link: Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Shrimp Stir-Fry

I’m baaack! 🙂 Sorry for the gap in posts… Dr. O and I were in Vancouver/Whistler with family for Easter. It’s absolutely gorgeous and perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, but I would definitely recommend Vancouver as a culinary destination as well. We had some *amazing* sushi, our first ever bubble teas, handmade truffles, fresh crepes… It was a food adventure, for sure.

I thought I’d start the post-vacation week with one of my very favorite healthy (and flavorful!) recipes – Shrimp Stir-Fry from the September 2003 issue of Everyday Food. The food prep is a bit extensive, but this is an otherwise fast and easy recipe. Start to finish, you’ll need about 45 minutes.

This one isn’t posted online, so here’s the ingredient list:

1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 small onions, cut into wedges
9 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
1 large red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into 1-inch squares
1 1/4 pounds bok choy, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, stem and green pieces separated
1/4 pound snow peas, trimmed
5 paper-thin slices fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons cold water
Lime wedges, for serving

I started by prepping the vegetables according to the ingredient list. I group mine by bowl in the order they’ll be added to the pan. I put the onions in one bowl, the mushrooms in another, the red pepper and bok choy stems in a third, the peas and ginger in a fourth, and the bok choy greens in a fifth.

Next, I put the peeled and deveined shrimp in a shallow dish. In a bowl, I whisked together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of water. I poured the marinade over the shrimp and marinated them for 5 minutes.

While the shrimp marinated, I heated the canola oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. I added the shrimp (reserving the marinade) and cooked them until they were golden, about 90 seconds on each side. I set the cooked shrimp aside and put the skillet back on the heat.

I added the onions and cooked them, stirring constantly, until they were browned, about 5 minutes. I added the mushrooms and cooked them (still stirring constantly – that was the case through the rest of the recipe) for 2 minutes. I added the red pepper and bok choy stems, cooking for 3 minutes. I added the peas and ginger, cooking for 1 minute. Finally, I added the reserved marinade, the dissolved cornstarch, the bok choy greens, and the cooked shrimp, cooking until everything was heated through (about 1 – 2 minutes). I served this with a bit of brown rice.

shrimp_stir_fry2.jpg

There’s just something about this recipe… It’s a good one. I love that it’s loaded with fresh veggies, and the flavor is terrific. (I think it’s the sesame oil in the marinade.) I especially love the way the sauce clings to the wilted bok choy greens – mmm, mmm, mmm.

TIPS: If you’re not a fan of shrimp, you can substitute 1 pound of firm tofu. (The recipe was actually published this way originally.) Just halve the tofu block lengthwise and then slice each half into 8 rectangles. Arrange the pieces on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Top with more paper towels and another baking sheet, and then weight the top sheet with canned goods or a skillet. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes or up to overnight. (This squeezes the excess water out of the tofu.) From there, just marinate and cook the tofu as you would the shrimp.




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