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Monday, June 20, 2011

Stir Fry Noodles

When I got married, one of our wedding guests gave me a wok. A real Asian wok. It wasn't something that I asked for, but even though I was new to cooking, and willing to experiment, I was amazed at my excitement over a new wok (of which I didn't have at that time). I once had a wok in college that one of my aunts had given me, but it really sat mostly unused - mostly because I didn't know how to use it or what to use it for. I think I ended up using as a substitute for a frying pan... and it didn't last too long.
So starts my saga of the stir-fry. I was DETERMINED to learn how to make stir fry. I searched recipes, read up on how to do it, and I practiced and practiced. More than once, I decided that I would :)
Now, fast forward to my current situation -  :) - I know how to stir fry and I think I have it down pretty good. So good in fact that stir fry is one of my go to dishes when I don't have a plan, or don't have time to cook something, or when I'm just feeling lazy and want dinner on the table NOW. It took my awhile to get the science of it down, and I now use bottled stir fry sauce because it's just so much faster and easier than making my own. Which amazingly, is something that I resisted doing for so long. I thought that I could make it myself as well as buy it store bought. But, I now realize that may have been part of my problem!! Maybe one day I will be a stir fry sauce master, but for now, I'm settling for my store bought (low sodium, organic) sauce that tastes so much better than one of my own creations.
This works best with fresh veggies, but is still delicious using frozen, or even better, a frozen stir fry mixed bag. <~~ Which is now sold even at our local, regular grocery store next to the bags of frozen veggies.

Stir Fry 

1 bag of frozen stir fry veggies (or a self-made mix with whatever frozen veggies you have on hand)
1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 stalk of celery, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
2 carrots, thinly sliced
and any other veggies on hand (ie. mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, bok choy, cabbage, or spinach)

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or use 1/4 tsp. dried)
1/2" of ginger, grated (or use 1/2 tsp. dried)
tofu, baked if preferred
1/2 cup frozen peas
udon noodles, softened
Stir fry sauce
1 - 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 - 2 green onions, sliced
sesame seeds (for garnish)

Heat up a large skillet or wok over medium high heat; let heat while preparing the veggies. Once pan is hot, add vegetable oil, then start adding veggies. Start with the onions, saute (mixing constantly until slightly brown on the edges), add in garlic, cooking for 30 seconds or so, and then add in ginger, continue stirring for no more than 30 seconds. By the (large) handful (so that the pan doesn't get over crowded and cool down), add in other "hard" veggies like broccoli and bell peppers. Let cook for 2 - 3 minutes between handfuls. Continue stirring / stir-frying as much as possible. After 3 - 4 minutes, add in "soft" veggies like zucchini and mushrooms using the same method as before.
Add in tofu and saute for approximately 5 minutes. Add in bok choy or spinach, if using, and stir to combine and wilt the greens. Add in a handful of frozen peas, and the udon noodles. Stir to combine, add in stir fry sauce, saute for 3 - 4 minutes. Turn off heat, add sesame oil.
Serve on plates with green onions and sesame seeds sprinkled over the top.

This is always a hit in our house.
More later!! :)

I'm also linking this recipe here: