Saturday, April 7, 2012

recipe: healthy ginger-broccoli stir fry

continuing on our healthy meal plan.  saturday nights: veggie stir fry night!  i want to start doing it with brown rice but matt says i have to ease him into it maybe after a few weeks i can slowly convert over to brown rice *hehe*.  don't get me wrong, i grew up on steaming jasmine rice and love it.  the smell, the perfect, firm texture...but brown rice has so many health benefits!

tonight i made a delicious stir-fry with fresh broccoli, carrots, onions, celery, ginger and chicken.  it turned out a hundred times better than any takeout i've ever had from a crappy Chinese joint that has too much sodium and fat added.  the secret to a perfect stir fry?  make sure you get a good balance in flavor of the sauce (not too salty/sweet/spicy) and the perfect crisp-tender texture of fresh vegetables.  most people who aren't familiar with wok frying or asian food think you can make a stir fry out of frozen vegetables or cooking in a regular pan...don't do it!  it will be soggy and flavorless.  here is my "healthier" than chinese takeout version:

tips for a perfect stir fry:

1.  make sure you use a steaming hot wok and vegetable or peanut oil.  woks get the vegetables crisp tender by cooking it quickly compared to regular pans.  vegetable oil and peanut oil can withstand a higher heat than olive oil.

2.  use fresh vegetables and a variety for different complimenting flavors and textures.  i will be making my weekly stir fry with different vegetables and meats to mix it up.  this week i used broccoli, fresh ginger slices, carrots (sliced thin), celery (sliced thin), and yellow onions (sliced thin).  the awesome thing about stir fry is you can use whatever you have on hand.  it is the original one pan meal!

3.  sear your meat quickly--not all the way through and pull it out so it doesn't overcook while you cook the vegetables.  this will keep the meat or seafood tender instead of dry or chewy.

4.  stir fry your vegetables and ground ginger and chopped garlic for a few minutes to soften.  add some flavorful seasonings.  i used: Bragg's Liquid Aminos (instead of soy sauce for a healthy alternative).  add a "roux" of cornstarch and water (a few tablespoons of cornstarch to 1/3 cup water) to thicken up the sauce.  a good helping of sweet chili sauce, some black pepper, and red pepper flakes.  i added a couple packets of Stevia (a healthier, natural no-calorie version of sugar) and the juice of an orange to sweeten up the sauce because it will be pretty salty from the Bragg's or soy sauce.  taste and adjust seasonings as needed...make sure it has a good balance of sweet, salty, and spicy.  allow your sauce to simmer and finish cooking the vegetables to the perfect crisp-tender and you're done! top over steaming rice.

oooooh yummy!

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