by Stella Zedman
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It's an excuse to use up all those leftover veggies at the end of the week. This easily adaptable Chinese stir-fry recipe takes into account all sorts of tastes and makes good use of whatever you happen to have on hand.
- 2 tbsp. (30 mL) vegetable oil, divided
- 3/4 lb. (375 g) meat or alternate (choose one or more)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. (5 mL) grated fresh ginger root
- 4 cups (1 L) vegetable possibilities (choose at least three)
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chicken, beef or vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp. (30 mL) soy sauce
- 2 tsp. (10 mL) cornstarch
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) extra bonus ingredient (choose one), optional
- Boneless, skinless chicken, cut into strips
- Boneless beef stir-fry strips (flank steak, sirloin, top round)
- Boneless pork, cut into strips
- Raw peeled shrimp
- Firm tofu, cut into cubes
- Green or red peppers, cut into strips
- Carrots, thinly sliced
- Broccoli, broken into florets (stems sliced)
- Zucchini, sliced
- Mushrooms, sliced
- Cabbage (regular or Chinese), sliced
- Bean sprouts, rinsed
- Celery, sliced
- Snow peas, cut in half
- Peanuts, coarsely chopped
- Cashews, whole
- Sesame seeds, toasted (don't use more than 1 tbsp.)
- Crispy Chinese noodles
- Before you start cooking, arrange all your ingredients in bowls or on plates so that they're ready to use. Once you begin cooking, it will all go very quickly; you won't have time to chop or cut anything.
- In a very large skillet or wok, heat 1 tbsp. (15 mL) of the vegetable oil over high heat. Add your meat choice and stir-fry for 3 or 4 minutes until just cooked through. The amount of time will depend a little on what you're cooking. Remove to a bowl (but don't use the bowl in which you had the raw meat unless you've washed it first).
- Add remaining 1 tbsp. (15 mL) oil to the pan. Throw in onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Now begin to add the vegetable possibilities to the pan, beginning with the ones that take the longest to cook (carrots, broccoli stems, etc.) and ending with the ones that cook most quickly (bean sprouts, snow peas). Cook, stirring and tossing for about 2 minutes, then pour in the broth, cover the pan with a lid and let everything steam for 2 or 3 minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce and cornstarch.
- When the vegetables are tender but still quite crisp, return the meat (or whatever) to the pan, stir and add the soy sauce mixture. Continue to stir-fry for 1 or 2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and glossy. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle the top with the extra bonus ingredient, if you're using one.
- Serve immediately with hot cooked rice or noodles.
How kids can help
Help choose and prepare all the meat and vegetables for the recipe.
Older children can help add ingredients to the wok while an adult stirs.
Sprinkle finished dish with nuts, seeds or noodles.