We are Asian food fanatics in our household. Whether authentic or Americanized … Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, or Japanese … we love it all. I think my favories are sushi and thai food (lemongrass, flavorful curry, pad thai, peanut sauce, oh I could go on), but I must confess that having a basic Chinese-style stir fry recipe on hand can be a lifesaver for using up whatever you have on hand and quickly putting food on the table at an affordable price.
Years ago I found a very basic recipe that used three of the basic stir fry components, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and mirin (rice wine). All of these ingredients can easily be found in the Asian section of most any major grocer … though they will be cheaper if you can locate an Asian market. Now this recipe isn’t what I would call the best stir fry I have ever made, but it is solid, and really, when I use it, I am not in a tinkering around kind of mood.
But, you can feel free to alter it to your own taste buds. For example, I never add sugar, but I think just a touch of brown sugar might mellow some of the sharper notes. Also, meat is not required in this dish, feel free to sub in tofu, or go all veggie. Try it out and let me know what you think!
Your Basic Go-To Stir-Fry
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (I use wheat-free tamari, which is also gluten-free)
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons mirin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons peanut or other oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 – 1 1/2 lbs sliced chicken or pork, or cut into bite sized pieces
- 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 8 ounces broccoli crowns / florets
- 4-8 ounces other veggies of choice ~ cabbage, bok choy, carrots, bell peppers, snow peas, etc.
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- brown or white rice
Set that rice to cook while you prepare the stir fry!
Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, ginger, and arrowroot/cornstarch in a bowl until the ginger and starch have dissolved. Set aside.
In a large skillet (with high sides), heat the peanut oil. Add the garlic and saute for just a minute. Add the chicken/pork and saute until cooked through, 5-10 minutes. I like to add a little bit of the sauce to the chicken to infuse more flavor. I cover the pan for a few minutes of the cook time to ensure that it is cooked through but remains tender. Remove the meat to a bowl, and drain the juices from the pan.
Add your veggies to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, until the veggies are crisp-tender. Return the chicken to the pan, add the sauce, and stir to coat and heat the sauce for just a minute. Turn off the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and allow the sauce to thicken slightly. Serve atop the cooked rice.
Yields about 4 servings