Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bok Choy Japanese Stir Fry

Do you remember Chicken Chow Mein out of a can.  Actually, two cans.  One held the meat and sauce and the other held the bean sprouts.  You heated each can in saucepans over the stove, then combined them.  The topping was fried noodles and soy sauce.  We served it over hot, white rice.  At one time, this was considered eating "Chinese".  We thought it was delicious and original at the time.

We've come a long way since those days.  Many homes have woks, the special pans often used to saute stir fries and chow mein.  If you are in the market for a wok, they can be picked up fairly inexpensively at your local thrift stores.  I have purchased many there over the years.  Taking vegetables, a little oil, and toss it in a wok to create delicious, inexpensive, vegetarian stir fry.

In stir frying, as with any cooking style, there are a few techniques to remember when preparing this type of meal.  First and foremost, prepping your veggies is absolutely essential as your first step in stir frying.  Prepping the veggies takes the longest part of meal preparation in stir fry.  The actual cooking of the vegetables is rather short.  Be sure to cut your vegetables in small, bite size pieces.  Lastly, fry your ingredients in a large pan over high heat while stirring constantly to preserve the flavor, color, texture of your vegetables.  This is important.  Mushy veggies in stir fries just is not as delicious.

Having said all of this, stir fry dinners are easy and economical.  Spouses and children can get in on the meal preparation action by helping with the vegetable preparation to cut down on time spent in the kitchen. Stir fries are the quintessential ingredients as a guideline type of recipe.  Do not be afraid to add whatever veggies you have available to the wok.  It is gonna taste great!

Bok Choy Japanese Stir Fry

1 chopped small onion
2 sliced carrots
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 green pepper sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup canned sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup canned bean sprouts, drained
1 large head bok choy, trimmed and coarsely chop to about 4 cups
1 small container tofu, cubed
1 small can fried noodles
2 cups hot cooked white rice
Soy sauce

1.  Pour olive oil in a large skillet or wok and heat on medium high heat until the wok is hot.
2.  Add the garlic and ginger to the oil and heat for two minutes, stirring frequently.
3.  Add the prepared vegetables:  onion, carrots, broccoli, green pepper.  Cook until heated through and translucent, stirring frequently (about 10 minutes).
4.  Add the water chestnuts, bean sprouts, and tofu.  Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently.
5.  Place a steamer basket into the bottom of a pot.  Add water to the pot to come just to the level of the steamer.  Bring to a boil.  Add the bok choy onto the steamer basket over the boiling water.  Cover the pot with a lid.  Steam until just tender, about 4 minutes.
6.  Add the bok choy to the wok and gently stir into the cooked vegetables.
7.  Serve over rice with fried noodles and soy sauce.

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