Home Asian Light Meals/Appetizers Salads Soups Main Meals Desserts Party Drinks

STIR FRY COOKING

A wok is best, or else use a large frying pan. These ingredients may be purchased at an Asian food market or even in the ethnic section of a grocery store, and are useful to have as the staples of stir fry cooking:

  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Any type of chili sauce or chili oil
  • Oyster sauce
  • Black bean sauce
  • Peanut oil (available anywhere) is best with stir frying,but may substitute any other type of vegetable oil, if allergic.
  • A rice-cooker is a staple in many Asian households. It frees up space on the burners, cooks perfect rice, is easy to clean (you can get non-stick varieties), and keeps the rice warm while you are getting the rest of the meal together.   Once you use the correct proportions of rice to water (according to the package instructions), all you do is press “ON” and you will have perfect rice!! The rice-cooker will adjust automatically to the different types of rice, and cooking time will be according to stove-cooking, except you don’t have to worry about it. Once cooked, the rice-cooker automatically adjusts to “Keep warm.”These stir fry dishes are often almost always best with rice.


SHRIMP OR SCALLOPS in BLACK BEAN SAUCE

To start:

1. 1 lb. of shrimp (cleaned, tails off, pref. from uncooked, but if already cooked, reduce cooking time) or scallops

2. 1 large onion,  sliced (not finely)

3. 2 cloves minced garlic

4. 3 slices fresh ginger root (optional)

5. Green peppers, or, for color, add red and yellow

6. 3 tbsp. black bean sauce (may add more or less, but this is salty stuff!)

7. Optional: 1 fresh jalapeno chili pepper

Putting it together:

1. Saute onions with garlic and ginger (jalapeno pepper too, if you choose to use one) on very high heat in oil for a couple of minutes,stirring constantly.

2. Add peppers, fry for another minute or two

3. Add shrimp/scallops. If shrimp is raw, saute until pink.

4. Add black bean sauce and 1/4 cup water, mix around for another minute, add white or black pepper to taste.

Serve with rice.


BEEF AND BROCCOLI/ASPARAGUS in OYSTER SAUCE

To start:

1. 3/4 to 1 pound of pre-sliced “beef for stir fry” (in beefsection, you will see packages labeled as such – this will save a lot of time!)

2. 1 head of broccoli

3. 1 bunch green onions/scallions, cleaned, chopped. The Chinese frequently use part of the green portion of the scallions as well, but this is optional.

4. 2 cloves minced garlic

5. 3 tbsp. oyster sauce (may add more or less, depending on how dry or wet you like it)

Putting it together:

1. Flavor the oil with the garlic on high heat for 30 seconds orso.

 

3. Add beef. If the beef is thinly sliced, it will only take 3-5minutes, constantly stirring over the high heat.

4. Add oyster sauce and a little water, pepper, stir around for another minute.

Serve with rice.


SPICY STRING BEANS

To start:

1. 3/4 pound fresh green beans. Use scissors to cut ends off, andcut into 2-inch strips. Rinse in collander and then pat dry with paper towels.

2. 3 tbsp. soy sauce (may add more)

3. 2 cloves minced garlic

4. 1 tbsp. chili sauce or oil

5. 1 tsp. or a few drops of sesame oil

6. 1 tbsp. cornstarch in separate cup. Add 4 tbsp. or so of water and mix into a smooth paste.

Putting it together:

1. Flavor the oil with the garlic on high heat for 30 seconds.

2. Add green beans, stir fry for 4-5 minutes, longer if you likethem more done.

3. Add soy sauce, sesame oil drops, chili. Don’t lower heat, andstir for 30 seconds.

4. Throw in the cornstarch mixture. The sauce will thicken. Stir around so that the mixture coats green beans.

Serve with rice as a side dish/vegetable. Optional: may start with a little bacon to add flavor, or dried shrimp (from Asian store) or Chinese sausage.


  CHICKEN AND CASHEWS

To start:

1. 12-16 oz. of boneless chicken breasts or thighs or mixture of both, cubed/sliced into small chunks or slices. If you have a few minutes the night before or the morning of, marinade the chicken in some soy sauce and sesame oil and pepper.

2. 4 ounces roasted cashews, salted or unsalted, according totaste.

3. 1 medium onion, chopped

4. 2 cloves minced garlic

5. 1 stick celery, chopped fine (optional)

6. 4 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced. You might want to try black mushrooms from an Asian market. You would need to soak these overnight,change the water at least once, and then prepare for stir fry by destemming them, and then slicing them into strips. It’s worth the trouble!

7. 4 tbsp. soy and a few drops of sesame oil.

Putting it together:

1. Saute garlic, onions and celery together over high heat for 1 minute or so.

2. Add chicken. Continue cooking over high heat for 4-5 minutes,moving ingredients around constantly.

3. Add soy sauce, mushrooms, sesame oil, pepper to taste.(Optional: add a little white wine or sherry!) Your dish will be ready in another minute!

Serve with rice.


CURRIES

As a native of Malaysia, these have a Malaysian rather than Indian twist! They are easy to make, but you do need to be home, once they are left to simmer on the stove. Or you may transfer to a crockpot if you have to leave. These are even better left overnight in the refrigerator. Then you can skim off fat, and reheat.

MALAYSIAN CHICKEN CURRY

To start:

1. Chicken thighs (on or off bone), breasts, quarters. If with bone, then 2 pounds, otherwise, 1 pound. It is customary in Asian cooking to have meats on the bone, but less messy for children etc. to use deboned chicken.

2. 1 large onion, chopped

3. 1 large can of coconut milk (unsweetened).

4. 3 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes

5. Soy sauce, curry powder, sugar

1. Saute onion on medium heat until almost tender.

2. Add chicken. Brown chicken.

3. Add coconut milk, potatoes, 5 tbsp. curry powder (can add more or less according to taste), 3 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. sugar.

4. Mix everything well and bring to a boil.

5. Lower heat to simmer, cover pot, and leave to cook slowly for 2-3 hours, checking several times to stir. If your burner is operating on a higher heat, then you may need to add some water or another half can of coconutmilk, adjusting with extra spices, so that your dish does not dry out.

Serve with rice. This is nice also with the cucumber yogurt salad (see above in salad section) or with the green beans.
Shrimp stir fry with beef curry!


VARIATIONS ON CHICKEN CURRY

Based on the chicken curry template, try the following:

Pork and pineapple curry with or without the potatoes. You can use the pineapple juice with coconut milk also for flavoring! Pork should be 1 pound of pork tenderloin, cut into large strips or chunks. Use 1 small can of pineapple chunks.

Shrimp and tomato curry. Fish-based curries are nice if slightly tart, so add a tbsp. vinegar. The tomatoes, as they cook, will also add to the tartness.


FISH IN A FOIL PACKAGE (its own category!)

This is incredibly easy and tasty!

To start:

1. Some sort of white fish fillets – 4-6 oz. portions per person and per package.

2. Cooked white rice.

3. Pak choy, or Napa cabbage, cleaned, and cut into cubes.

4. Soy sauce and sesame oil.

Putting it together:

 1.     On a large piece of foil, prepare individual packages with 1 helping of rice at the bottom, the veggies and then the fish.

2.    Sprinkle soy sauce and sesame oil liberally on the whole mixture of rice, fish and veggies. Close package.

3.    Put packages on oven-proof dish (in case of leakage), and put in oven for 30 minutes or so, depending on thickness of your fish. If unsure,cautiously open up a package (make sure you have oven gloves, and watch out for the steam!) and test that the fish is flaky. Do not overcook!

Serving suggestion:

Empty out the packages on plates, after allowing to cool fora few minutes. May be served with additional vegetable or as a simple 1-dish meal!

N.B. Sliced mushrooms will also work well in packages.

STICKY RICE

A one-dish meal for 4, or a popular side dish. Made in the rice-cooker, it stays warm and leaves the stove top clear for your other pots and pans.

To start:
           

    1. From an Asian grocery store, you can get dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, dried black (shiitake mushrooms). Also pick up what is called “sweet rice” or sticky rice
    2. Soak 10 or so mushrooms overnight or if you are pinched for time, you can do it in much less time by soaking in boiling water.
    3. Rinse out mushrooms, de-stem and slice into fine strips.
    4. Slice 2 of the Chinese sausages.
    5. Have chicken bouillon cubes ready.

Putting it together:

  1. Saute mushrooms, sausages, and half a cup of dried shrimp with 1 clove garlic until fragrant. Add one mug of the rice, and keep stirring in the pan for a minute or two.
  2. Put everything in the rice cooker, with 2-3 chicken bouillon cubes (depending on salt tolerance). For 1 mug of rice, add 2 mugs of water.
  3. Press “on” button. When ready, it will switch itself off to “warm” and you are done!

May add small pieces of chicken, or water chestnuts also available at the Asian grocery in packages.  Chicken must be cooked in the wok or frying pan with the rest of the ingredients.

Without a rice-cooker, bring everything to a boil in a pot, then turn down to a low simmer, cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Make sure to check, or it can burn!

Serving suggestion: goes well with stir-fry veggies, and perhaps a curry or a grilled entree with an Asian twist!