Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Stir Fry with Zing from Chinese Cooking for Dummies

A couple of Christmases ago, I was insulted by this gift until I found out that Chinese Cooking for Dummies was among the better Chinese cookbooks out there (thanks to my hubby who had researched and suggested to my father-in-law it would be a good choice).

One of the best things about living in New York City is that even the most obscure ingredients are obtainable, which means most of the recipes in this cookbook are just a trip to Chinatown away from my possession. While there are many smaller shops with more personality, I'm a fan of Kam Man Food Products (200 Canal, near Mott Street). They have huge jars displaying everything from dried mushrooms and teas to shark fin and birds nests. Prices on everything from soy sauce to nori are amazing, making it well worth fighting the throngs of tourists who are forever clogging up Canal Street. (I shouldn't complain about tourists.) One of my favorite recipes from the Chinese Cooking for Dummies is for Hot and Spicy Stir-Fry Sauce. I must warn you though -- you'll never enjoy bottled stir-fry sauce again, but this is easy to make and yields enough for several stir-fries.

Hot and Spicy Stir-Fry Sauce
adapted from Chinese Cooking for Dummies


2/3 C Chinese rice wine
1/3 C soy sauce
1/3 C chicken broth
3 T sugar
1/2 t white pepper
2 T scallions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 T chile garlic sauce
2 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 T garlic, minced
1 1/2 T ginger, minced
2 T cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 C water


1. Combine rice wine through chile garlic sauce in a small bowl.
2. Heat oil over high heat in a sauce pan. Add ginger and garlic, stir frequently while cooking until fragrant.
3. Add rice wine mixture to pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for a couple of minutes. Add cornstarch and cook until sauce boils and becomes thick. Cool.

Adjust the amount of chile garlic sauce, depending on how spicy you like your stir-fry -- with the 1 1/2 tablespoons, it packs quite a punch. This mixture keeps well in the fridge for quite a while -- at least a month or so (I've never managed to keep it around that long, it's so delicious).

My stir-fries never seem to follow a recipe very closely -- it just depends on what I've received from Urban Organic that week. Last night's stir-fry featured carrots, broccoli, onions, water chestnuts(just .55 a can at Kam Man!), scallions and chicken. I highly recommend marinating whatever protein you're featuring (I always chop the meat into strips before marinating) in the sauce while you chop the veggies for the stir-fry. I've also learned that my stir-fry is vastly improved when I cook the protein(tofu, meat or shrimp) with the sauce first and stir-fry the veggies separately, adding the sauce and meat into the veggies at the end. This ensures that the meat is cooked properly, without overcooking the veggies.


Post a Comment

<< Home