Derek served his mission in the Philippines and all his favorite dishes are ones that are served on rice. A few years ago for my birthday, I specifically asked his sister Stephanie for a wok knowing that it would totally improve my stir fry dishes for my stir fry loving husband. The wok for one, is huge and can fit lots of things at the same time. Also, because it has the high sides it allows you to partially cook the things that take the longest and then push them up the sides (which are hot but not as hot as the bottom middle) while throwing in veggies that take less time into the middle. This allows for all the veggies which have varying cooking times to finish at the same time. Plus, a well-seasoned wok tells stories of meals past. I never wash my wok with soap or scrub it very hard. I always just rinse it out and then put it on the stove over low heat to dry. So you could say that there may be a slight hint of every meal I’ve ever cooked in that wok adding flavor to each new dish that I cook in my wok.
I’ve made many variety of stir fry with all different types of sauces, meats, and vegetables. Through trial and error, I’ve conglomerated all my favorite things from various stir fry recipes and come up with what I think is the best of the best. I still often mix up the meats, the veggies, and I use various sauces for a change occasionally, but this is my favorite sauce of them all. This is another thing that I generally just eyeball, but I’ll try to pinpoint the amounts I used tonight when we had Derek’s parents over for dinner and he requested stir fry.
- 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
- Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste (about a 1/2 tsp each?)
- 3 large cloves garlic finely diced
- 3 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
- 4-5 C chopped veggies (you choose- I usually just throw in whatever I have in the fridge tonight we had broccoli, green beans, carrots, celery, red peppers, yellow onions, and green onions (cut in 1 in pieces and thrown in at the end)
- 1/2 C cashews
- About 3 Tbsp of veggie/canola oil (or some of that can be hot chili oil if you like things spicy-I toned it down for the kids tonight and stuck with straight veggie oil- more or less oil may be used depending on which veggies you use and what type of pan you have)
- 1 C chicken broth
- 1/2 C oyster sauce
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp Asian chili garlic sauce (more if you want more heat)
Directions: (You want to keep the wok at a temp that you hear a constant sizzle, you put additions into the middle and stir frequently, when veggies are crisp tender push out of the middle and up the sides to make room for the next addition, add more oil to middle as needed)
- Put sliced chicken in a bowl with 2 Tbsp water and 1 tsp baking soda. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with water and drain. (This you can do at the start of any stir fry with any meat and it helps all types of meat stay tender).
- I chop all my veggies and make the sauce while the chicken is sitting. For sauce: combine chicken broth, oyster sauce, sugar, and Asian chili garlic sauce
- Heat wok on high. When top of edges feel warm, add 1-2 Tbsp oil.
- Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger and fry just 1 minute or so.
- Throw in the raw chicken and cook until just starting to brown (doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through) and then push it up the sides of the wok opening the middle for the next addition.
- Now you throw your veggies in in order of which ones take the longest to cook. Tonight: green beans first, then broccoli, then carrots and celery together, then yellow onions and red peppers together, and I tossed in the green onions and cashews at the very end.
- Add in the sauce and stir all together.
- Serve over rice.
*I used to make stir fry just fine without a wok, so if you don’t have one don’t worry. However, you probably have to cook the meat until fully cooked, then remove it, and throw it back in at the end when everything else is cooked. You may want to take veggies out as they cook too and add them to chicken to toss back in at the end so nothing gets overcooked.