For many it is the time of year to take off in their RV and, for the young in heart, to search out new horizons.
And perhaps now is also the time to seek new ways of preparing food on the road. A wok may be cumbersome to pack in a small RV kitchen, but a large skillet will do just as well for stir-frys. A skillet, a spatula, and fresh ingredients are the elements of stir-frying.
This popular technique for cooking brings out the best of fresh food. It seals in juices and flavors, along with vitamins and minerals, and it intensifies colors. Vegetables become crisp, meats silken and tender. And, stir-frys are so quick and efficient—you can have been on the road all day and come up with an appealing and nourishing meal within minutes of “hooking-up.”
SZECHUAN PORK AND BROCCOLI
1 pound of fresh lean pork
1 green or red sweet pepper
1 1/2 cups of fresh broccoli
1 large onion
12 edible-pod peas
3 tablespoons of peanut oil
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 slices of fresh ginger, chopped
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of hot water
2 teaspoons of sugar
6 tablespoons of catsup
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
Cut pork into narrow 1-inch strips, 1/4-inch thick; set aside. Cut scallions, peppers, broccoli and onion into 1-inch pieces; set aside. Combine garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, hot water, sugar, catsup and soy sauce; set aside. In wok or large skillet, heat peanut oil over high heat. Stir-fry the pork in oil until browned; remove from pan and keep warm. Add more oil if necessary; stir-fry all vegetables until tender/crisp. Add pork and sauce mixture; cook until thickened. Serve with boiled rice. Serves six.
GINGER-LIME BEEF STIR-FRY
1 red bell pepper
1 pound of boned beef top sirloin
1/2 teaspoon of olive oil
1/3 cup of fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon of hot chili flakes
1/4 cup of minced fresh cilantro
Rinse, stem, and seed bell pepper; trim out and discard white veins. Cut pepper into strips about 1/4-inch wide and 2 inches long. Cut beef across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices, and then cut slices into bite-size pieces. Pour oil into skillet over high heat. When oil is hot, add bell pepper and stir just until tender/crisp to bite, about 3 minutes. Pour from pan into a bowl. Add beef to pan over high heat and stir just until no longer pink, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer meat to bowl with pepper. To meat juices in pan, add lime juice, honey, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and chili flakes. Boil over high heat, stirring often, until mixture is reduced to about one-third cup, 5-6 minutes. Pour beef and bell pepper back into pan and stir until hot, about 30 seconds. Spoon stir-fry onto four serving plates and sprinkle with cilantro.
CHICKEN CASHEW STIR-FRY
1 tablespoon of bottled seasoned stir-fry oil
1/3 cup of cashew nuts
12-oz. skinned, boned chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup of bottled stir-fry sauce
1 16-oz. bag of frozen vegetables for stir-fry
Heat oil in large skillet. Add cashews and stir-fry 45 seconds or until lightly browned. Remove with slotted spoon to a bowl. Add chicken to skillet and stir-fry 1-2 minutes until very lightly browned but still pink in center. Add to bowl with cashews; mix in stir-fry sauce. Add frozen vegetables and 2 tablespoons water to skillet. Stir over high heat 3-4 minutes until thawed and hot. Add chicken mixture and stir-fry 1 minute or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with white rice. Serves four.
To ensure a perfect stir-fry, keep the following points in mind:
Cook over medium-high or high heat for best results.
Cut foods for stir-frying into small pieces that can be stirred quickly and will cook through rapidly.
Make sure your skillet is large enough to hold the food you’re cooking without overcrowding; if necessary, cook in two separate batches.
Don’t cover the pan, as that would steam the food rather than searing it.
Unlike other sauces, pan sauces are usually concentrated essences that are to be served in small amounts.
Marian Platt's regional narrative cookbook of Washington’s Sequim Valley, From My Kitchen Window, can be ordered by sending cash, check or money order for $25 (includes tax and handling/mailing costs) to Marian Platt, 434 Chicken Coop Rd., Sequim, WA 98382. Phone (360) 683-4691
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