Tag Archives: vegan stir-fry

Simple Stir Fry Sauce

It seems I never get sick of Asian food (of any kind) so when I either A) have no plan for dinnertime and/or B) need to clear out a lot of veggies that will soon turn, stir-fry it is. I always have brown rice in the cupboard  — tonight I used up a little white basmati I had leftover from a recent job.

As I was pulling veggies out of the fridge, I remembered recently seeing a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables in the freezer. Frozen vegetables, especially when I go to Trader Joe’s, are my weakness. I always think they’re going to come in handy in a pinch, but then I never use them. I always have fresh. I thought tonight was the night! I cooked them as I was throwing my fresh vegetables in the pan…turns out I had plenty. Once they were cooked it was a pathetic little pile of vegetables, so I added them anyway — you can’t have too many vegetables in stir-fry.

This is a really basic stir-fry sauce you could doctor up — add red pepper flakes, more ginger or garlic, more sesame oil, more or less sweetness. It’s a starting point. Or you can use it exactly. This makes a lot — about 3 cups — so you can store it for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator and it will be ready when you need dinner in a pinch again.

• 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
• 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
• 1/2 c. soy sauce, low sodium
• 2 c. vegetable broth (or substitute any or all of it with water)
• 1/4 c. cider or red wine vinegar
• 1 tsp. sesame oil (optional)
• 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
• 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced (or can use 1 Tbsp. powdered ginger)

1. Whisk sauce ingredients and set aside.

2. Sautee vegetables, tofu, meat if that’s your thing, etc. to your desired doneness. I did this in coconut oil and a little sesame oil.

3. Whisk sauce and add desired amount of sauce and cook/boil for about 1 min. I recommend about 1/2 c. per serving. It will thicken slightly upon cooking so keep that in mind.

4. Serve over brown or white rice or quinoa and enjoy.

Vegan Tofu and Peanut Stir-Fry

One of my “resolutions’ this year was to make use of my overabundance of food-related magazines. It only took me about 10 weeks to get to it! I cracked open my newest Food Network Magazine where, unfortunately, there are sometimes very few vegetarian recipes.  So, I decided to jump on it when there was a tofu stir-fry recipe. I was doing too many things at once, so I let the peanuts burn a bit, but it was still great! Very similar to my kung-pao that I make, due to the peanuts and the chilies, but my squeeze and I both loved it. I served it with steamed mantou (pictured). Mantou is a steamed Chinese bun you can find in the freezer section at Asian markets. I buy them every once in a while at Kai Sun Discount Oriental Market in Troy, where I also got the vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce I use in this recipe. You keep them in the freezer, then just take out however many you want, sprinkle them with water and nuke them for about 3 minutes. Not something we eat often, but a nice addition every once in a while!

Back to the recipe — it was a pretty simple one and was great over brown rice. I used a mixture of the dried red chilies and one large jalapeno, sliced into fourths, all of which we removed before eating. It gave just enough heat without making your nose run! We’ll definitely be repeating this one.

• 6 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
• 3 Tbsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry (I used rice wine vinegar)
• 1/3 c. vegetarian oyster sauce
• 1 firm block of tofu, drained
• 1 c. unsalted peanuts (preferably raw)
• 1/4 c. peanut (or vegetable) oil
• 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
• 3 cloves minced garlic
• 8 whole dried chilies or 2 jalapenos, sliced horizontally
• salt
• 12 oz shiitake mushrooms (I used 2 3.5 oz pkgs, which was just fine)
• 1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced in half (I eyeballed this – no clue how much I had since they were in bulk).

1. Whisk 2 Tbsp. cornstarch with the oyster sauce, 2 Tbsp. water and rice wine in a good-sized bowl or dish.

2. Cut the tofu in half horizontally, forming 2 large rectangles, then cut each rectangle into 4 squares. I cut my slices into 8 squares, but wish I had done as advised. Add to the marinade and turn to coat.

3. Cook the peanuts in the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about four or five minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

4. Remove the tofu from marinade, but save the marinade for later. Sprinkle both sides of tofu with the remaining 4 Tbsp. of cornstarch. I did this by sprinkling one side of the tofu, then placing it cornstarch side down in the pan, then sprinkled the other side.  Cook each side for about four minutes, until golden, then remove to a plate.

5. Add the ginger, garlic, chilies and/or peppers, 1 tsp. salt (I used less — just a turn or two of the grinder). Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and snap peas; stir-fry until tender crisp (or until the mushrooms look cooked to your liking).

6. Whisk 1 1/2 c. water into the reserved marinade and add to the pan. Stir until thick, 3-5 minutes.

7. Add the tofu and peanuts and heat through. Remove the dried chilies (I chose to also remove the jalapenos I was using). Enjoy!

Simple Vegan Stir-Fry

Stir-fry is one of those things that I love to make because it can change all the time. Other than a couple of things (like this salad) I’m rarely a creature of habit when it comes to food. My squeeze can eat the same thing every single day and be happy with it. I’m… not that way. With stir-fry, there are all kinds of different sauces, veggies and proteins you can put in it to change it up. This is a good basic recipe because I always have the items for the sauce on hand and you can make it only if you have a couple of veggies on hand too. Just when you think you don’t have anything to eat for dinner — voila!

• 1 to 2 Tbsp. oil (I usually use a combo of whatever’s handy — sesame, ginger, safflower, olive, whatever)
• 4 tsp. cornstarch
• 6 Tbsp. soy sauce
• 1 c. water
• 1+ tsp. ginger powder (or fresh ginger, see below)
• Any veggies you like!
• Red pepper flakes
• 1-2 cloves minced garlic (optional)

I first heat about 1 Tbsp. oil in a wok or large frying pan. I try to start small because we rarely need as much oil as it seems we will! For a little kick, I’ll sometimes sprinkle in some red pepper flakes and let them fry in the oil for bout 15 to 30 seconds.

If you are using a protein — whether it’s drained tofu, tempeh, chicken, etc., I’d do that first, remove it from the pan, add another tablespoon of oil and proceed as follows. Last night, I went for it with just veggies.

After the oil is heated (and pepper flakes in there, if using) I add minced garlic and saute quickly. Have your veggies chopped up and ready to go in! Last night when I made this, I couldn’t find my ginger powder that normally goes in the sauce mixture for the life of me, so I minced up about 1 to 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger and added it at this time too.

Next add your veggies. I try to add the ones that take a little longer to cook first — carrots, broccoli, green beans. Then add the others: onion (either chopped white or, as I had last night, green onions), mushrooms and softer vegetables. One thing I love about my market I normally go to is the items they have in bulk. I was able to buy one large carrot, a small handful of green beans, a small handful of snowpeas — that way you can have a little bit of everything.

Cook all your veggies until they seem tender crisp, but not quite done yet (not rocket science here — you can always cook as long as you need in the end). Whisk together the soy sauce, cornstarch, water and ginger powder (if using) and add to pan. Cook, stirring often until the sauce reaches your desired thickness. I usually find about 5 minutes is sufficient.

And that’s it! Once you have the veggies chopped, it takes about 15 minutes to make — coincidentally the exact same amount of time it takes to make a nice fluffy pot of quinoa to serve it over, so you don’t have to wait around 45 minutes for rice.