How do you treat your stir-fry? In our household it’s been relegated to the ‘rubbish bin position’. That sounds quite unfortunate, however it’s actually an honorable position. The humble stir fry is the go to meal for when there’s an array of lonely old vegetables sitting in the fridge. It’s often a rush-job affair – throw in the vegetables in question (almost anything will suffice), along with a big dollop of ginger and garlic, blast it all with some serious wok heat, scrounge up a packet of noodles or rice and douse the whole lot in whatever sauces you’ve got on hand. Around here it’s usually Bragg Liquid Aminos (tastes akin to soy sauce) and sweet chilli sauce. Tofu and/or toasted nuts add a bit of pizazz, as well as a protein hit. Clean-out-the-fridge-meal done and dusted.
Apart from one or two exceptions the mish-mash stir-fry tends to work out just fine. A nutritious meal, if you don’t drown it in sweet chilli sauce. Not to mention, a brilliant vehicle for minimising food waste. However, once in a while it’s nice to shake things up and move away from the standard ‘recipe’ (can you even call it a recipe? It’s more like a potion) and actually follow one from paper. We’re getting serious here.
This stir-fry, with the original idea courtesy of River Cottage, is a quite posh. At least when it’s compared to my usual hodgepodge affairs. It’s definitely greener. You’ll feel as though you’ve transformed into a blade of grass after consuming a bowl of this. It’s crunchier too – I often make the mistake of having the heat too low and consequently steaming the veg rather than flash-cooking it. Somehow having an acutal recipe reminds me of that. Sesame is the main flavour agent in this dish, providing a fantastic nuttiness that compliments the fresh crunch of the veg.
The egg fried rice really is a walk in the park, particularly if you already have some left over cooked rice from a curry or the like the night before. Again, the key is to ensure that your wok (a large frying pan will be adequate if you don’t own one) – and oil – is piping hot before adding the rice. The rice must also subsequent heat up before adding the egg. The result? Fluffy grains of sesame infused rice with scrummy soy flavoured egg pockets distributed throughout. No sign of solid, gunky rice here, no siree.
Once you’ve chopped up your veg, it’s all go, go, go. Ensure that you’ve got your serving bowls at the ready as it won’t be long before you’re ready to heap steaming piles of fluffy rice, crunchy veg and crispy tofu into them. Dig in with a fork, or eat with chopsticks if you’re trendy like that.
Get Your Greens Egg Fried Rice with Tofu
3/4 cup basmati rice, rinsed well
1 tbsp sunflower oil
200g firm tofu (preferably marinated), cut into 1cm thick strips
150g snow peas, trimmed & cut into 4cm pieces
100g red/orange capsicum, cut into 1cm thick strips
200g (1 medium) zucchini, halved lengthways and sliced thinly on the diagonal
5 spring onions, roots removed along with any ‘soggy’ green parts. Thinly sliced on the diagonal.
200g (2 small) bok choy, leaves shredded & stems sliced on the diagonal.
100g frozen baby peas
1 tsp minced ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
Pinch chilli flakes
Small handful of fresh mint & basil, shredded
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, divided
4 tsp soy sauce/Bragg Liquid Aminos, divided
2 tbsp sesame oil, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
Extra soy sauce/Bragg Liquid Aminos
Extra sesame oil
1 tbsp toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the rinsed basmati rice in a small pot and cover with 2 cups of cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-12 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.
*While the rice is cooking you can be cutting up your vegetables!
Heat a large wok over a high heat. Add the sunflower oil. Once hot add the sliced tofu and cook for 3 minutes or until the edges begin to go crispy, tossing occasionally to prevent it from sticking. Transfer to a small bowl or plate.
Drizzle in a little more sunflower oil if the tofu has absorbed it all. Once hot, add the snow peas and capsicum. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the vegetables sticking and burning (you want the heat high to prevent the veg steaming and losing their crunch).
Add the zucchini and cook for 1 minute, then add the spring onions and cook for another minute. Now add sliced bok choy stems and frozen peas and cook for 1 minute. Throw in the shredded greens and cook for 30 seconds or until just beginning to wilt. Now stir through the ginger, garlic and chilli flakes and cook for another minute or so.
Tip the stir-fried vegetables into a bowl and toss with the shredded mint and basil and half of the sesame seeds, soy sauce and sesame oil.
Wipe out the wok and pour in the remaining sesame oil. Once hot, add the tofu once again and sear for 30 seconds or until warmed through. Remove from the wok and allow to drain on kitchen paper.
Return the wok to the heat and add the rice, stirring until all the grains are coated and it is very hot. Whisk together the beaten egg and remaining soy sauce. Push the rice to one side and pour in the egg mixture. As it starts to cook, scrape it up and stir it into the hot rice. When thoroughly combined and the egg is just cooked (you don’t want to dry the rice out), divide among four serving bowls or plates. Top with the stir-fried vegetables and tofu. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, toasted pepitas and the remaining sesame seeds.
Have extra soy sauce and sesame oil on the table.
Source: Adapted from River Cottage: Veg Everyday.