Thursday, February 3, 2011

Healthy Stir Fry

Last Sunday I spent most of the day at home, working on school work or just nesting around the house.  I was starved for lunch and decided to make a filling meal, something that would get me through my 6:45 pm yoga class.  I had already defrosted some fabulous Sczechuan sauce that I had put in the freezer some months ago, as well as some random pieces of tempeh that I had left over from making a vegan meatloaf.  I am trying to eat all the odds and ends that I can't bear to throw out, but that pile up in the freezer.  I had a veggie bin full of produce so I decided all combined it would make a good stir fry.

There's not really a "recipe" for this, so I 'll just walk you through what I did.  This is a great way to cook.  Use what you have, and end up with a healthy and delicious meal.  No plowing through cookbooks and special trips to the grocery store!

Start by chopping the veggies that you have.  I had onion, carrots, cabbage, baby bok choy and broccoli.

Heat a big wok or skillet over high heat.  I use a really big cast iron wok. Cast iron is great because it is naturally non-stick and does leach chemicals into your food the way non-stick pans do.  In fact it is a source of iron as iron does come out into the food, especially if the food is acidic.  Here is a great article on cast iron cookware.

Add a spoon of coconut oil to the hot wok.  I love coconut oil which does not break down when heated, is a good source of medium chain fatty acids, and is a natural antioxidant, used in some cultures as a medicinal product.  Depending on the brand it can be very "coconutty."  Experiment to find the one you like best, but try to chose an unrefined, organic version if you can.

Add the veggies in order of length of time required to cook them.  Stir continually.  I added the onions and cooked a few minutes, then the carrots, cooking for about 5 - 8 minutes, then added the cabbage and broccoli and cooked for about 3 minutes, then the bok choy, cooking for another few minutes.  Basically cook to your desired level of softness.  I am not a fan of almost raw, so I cooked mine until they were tender.

 Add the chopped tempeh.  You could certainly use any sort of left over protein that you have.  I think shrimp would be good but you could use chicken or pork loin, whatever you like and have on hand.  You certainly could skip protein altogether.  Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add a handful of chopped cashews. Keep on stirring.

Add  a couple of spoonfuls of the sczechuan sauce.  I had sauce leftover from these Ina Garten noodles which are really good,  but the recipe makes a ton. I made a 1/2 recipe of the noodles a few months ago but made the whole recipe of the sauce.  It has a ton of ingredients so it is worth doing once and saving what you don't need. It froze beautifully.  It was really thick when I thawed it so I thinned it a bit with a little water.  You can use any other sauce of your choosing.  There are a number of prepared sauces you can buy.  Just read the label and get the one with the least amount of sugar and unpronounceable ingredients.  You could also add just some soy sauce, a squirt of sriracha, a spoon of sesame oil, maybe a splash of rice wine vinegar.  Whatever sort of Asian stuff you have in the pantry!
Keep stirring and cooking until it is all mixed up.
I served this on a half of baked sweet potato but you could eat it over rice or over nothing...just in a big bowl.  It was delicious, kept me full for hours, and was packed with nutrients.  I actually only ate a piece of fruit after yoga at 8:30 and I was satisfied!  This made a ton so I ate a huge plateful, and have had it for lunch several more times this week. Unfortunately I put one servings' worth in the freezer, so I didn't make much progress on the freezer clearing project! :)

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