Monday, February 6, 2012

A Tale of Two Stir-Fries

Well, the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart ended two weeks ago and I've decided to stick with being vegan for the duration.  This wasn't really my plan, but then, neither was being vegetarian.  We'll see how it goes.

Saturday evening after work (I work every other weekend.  Always fun.  Not.) I chopped up about half of the veggies I recently bought with a stir-fry in mind.  Why only half, you ask?  Well, because half seemed like enough for one meal plus one or two meals worth of leftovers.  It also occurred to me when I put the other half back in the fridge that I could stir-fry the same veggies a different way later on.  So, I made a Chinesy (I make no claim as to authenticity) stir-fry for us on Saturday and an Indian stir-fry for dinner tonight.  If you ever find that you have an overabundance of several veggies that hold up well in a stir-fry, give something like this a try!
The Chinesy stir-fry came out well and was simple enough, now that the fine folks at MediterrAsian have given me the confidence to do Asian stir-fries with or without coconut milk or red curry paste:

2 tbsp canola oil
1.5 cups (approx.) baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1.5 cups snap peas, ends trimmed
1 red bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
4 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and crushed red pepper to taste
2 tbsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp cold water

Heat oil over medium heat in work or wide saucepan.  Add carrots, garlic and ginger and saute for 3-5 minutes.  Add snap peas red bell pepper and cook another 3 minutes.  Add hoisin, soy sauce and Chinese five spice powder and stir well.  Add broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Check flavors and add salt and crushed red pepper as needed.  Add cornstarch mixture and stir often as sauce thickens to a glaze.  Remove from heat and serve over rice.
Then tonight I chopped up the snap peas, carrots and red bell pepper for an Indian-style stir fry.  The spices are all from a mixed vegetables recipe in my Indian cookbook, but the veggies that I used were different because hey - it's what I had.  Also a winner!

2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp urad dal
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 cup baby carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1.5 cups snap peas, cut in half and ends trimmed
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

Heat oil in a wide saucepan over medium heat.  Add next four ingredients, cover and heat until mustard seeds start popping and urad dal is golden brown.  Add onion and tomatoes, stir and cook for one minute.  Add turmeric and stir.  Add remaining veggies, stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes.  Stir in tomato sauce and remaining spices.  Blend seasonings well and cook for another minute or two.  Add about half a cup of water to make it saucier and so that veggies don't burn.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3-5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.  Serve over rice.
Well, it seems that winter's finally here.  Today I actually had to wear running tights and a knit cap for the first time since I started running again post-foot injury.  I don't know about groundhogs; for me, dark-eyed juncos are much more reliable in the meteorology department, and I saw a bunch in my backyard a couple of days ago - always a sign of cooler weather to come. 

Stay warm, eat and be healthy!

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