Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Spicy Lemon Ginger Vegetable Stir Fry

I didn't care about buying a wok when we moved and had to stock our kitchen from scratch. However, Guitar Boy was obsessed with finding one. It had to be a big one and it absolutely had to have a glass lid "so I can see what's cooking inside," he said to me every time we looked at one. Every time. I cared more about getting an immersion blender.

Well, we have a wok thanks to Bed Bath and Beyond and their coupons. And I still don't have an immersion blender. Though the wok has been nice, I still think an immersion blender would've been a better buy, but alas, I make do. (See my tomato soup recipe for my ingenious, if I may say, use of a potato masher.)

Dinner last night was a quick and healthy stir fry. Typically we use vegetarian oyster and mushroom sauce or just a run-of-the-mill stir fry sauce from the Asian market but they can be packed with sodium, sugar, and god knows what else. I wanted to avoid using them this time just because we had been eating pretty crappy the day before (read: two giant doughnuts each and pizza and cheese and much too sweet Ohio wine and crap and more crap and more crap.) So I really amped up the spices and flavors in this one to make up for the lack of that ooey gooey deliciously overly processed sauce.

Also, you don't absolutely need a wok for this recipe. Woks are nice for having a ton of surface area that can cook all the vegetables all at once, but a large skillet over high heat will do just as well.

Also, again, you can use your favorite vegetables. I used whatever I had on hand, but you can switch it up with your favorite add-ins. The ingredients in bold is what makes up the flavor and sauce so they shouldn't be swapped out.

Get together for 2 main dish or 4 side dish servings:
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 carrots, sliced in half-moons
  • 1 large Hungarian sweet pepper, chopped coarsely
  • 1 small (8 oz?) box of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • Splash of dry white or rice wine (optional)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped coarsely
  • 3/4 to 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 3/4 to 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • Pinch or dash or heaping spoonful of cayenne pepper (whatever floats your boat)
  • 1/2 lb swiss chard, rolled up and sliced into 1/2 inch strips
  • Enough Rice or Pad Thai noodles for two large servings, prepared 
  • 2 or 3 packets or 2 or 3 tbsp of your favorite soy sauce (add more or less to your preference)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 5 or 6 large basil leaves, torn
  • Salt to taste
Other vegetables you can use: broccoli, peas, corn, snow peas, water chestnuts (not a veg, I know,) bell peppers, red onions, shallots, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, napa cabbage, broccolini, portobella mushrooms, celery, eggplant (Japanese or traditional,) and anything else that strikes your fancy. Just eyeball the amount and go for it.

And to make it:

It's best to have everything all chopped and prepared in advance because stirfry cooking is over high heat and fast.
  • Prepare the noodles according to package directions.
  • Heat up sesame oil over medium high to high heat in the wok. Peanut and canola oil work too. Do not use olive oil. Add in the onions, carrots, and pepper and let cook a minute or two until soft and onions become slightly translucent. Then, throw in the mushrooms and stir and let cook for a few more minutes.
  • Optional: Add a splash of dry white or rice wine to deglaze or just flavor, let it reduce down.
  • Add in the tomatoes, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and swiss chard and let it simmer and cook down slightly- about 3 minutes.
  • Continue cooking until the swiss chard (or your favorite green) is tender, tasting and adding more cayenne pepper if desired. 
  • Lower the heat to low, stir in the noodles and season with soy sauce and lemon juice starting with 1/2 a lemon. Taste and add more lemon juice, soy sauce and/or salt if needed. (Soy sauce has sodium so salt by tasting.)
  • Sprinkle basil over the top and serve!
 Do you make stir fry a lot? What's your go-to set of ingredients? When we're low on prep time, we turn to frozen broccoli, peas, and mixed vegetables to make a fast and healthy dinner.


  1. Mmmmm we love stir fry too!!! In the summer we just grab whatever is ready ti eat from the garden... I have a few peppers almost ready to go... And we love Serrano peppers to spice things up :)

    1. That sounds lovely! Having a garden is one of the best things in the world. I'm so sad I didn't figure out how to start one here at the new place!