Happy National Tempura Day. 🙂
I think I’ve mentioned that Bunneh and I are working on improving our diet. It’s a common New Years theme for many people, so we’re not alone. As part of our commitment to eating better and being more healthy we’re trying to plan at least one vegetarian day a week. Last night was stir fry and it was fantastic.
I love making stir fry because it’s quick and yummy, but also because it’s good for you. The hardest part of making a stir fry is making sure you have all the vegetables on hand, but with Bountiful Baskets, farmers markets and a good local produce section that’s easy enough to take care of. The best advice I’ve read on choosing vegetables for a stir fry is to look for a combination of textures and colors, building your stir fry in several phases: aromatics, hard vegetables, soft vegetables, noodles or meat if desired, though easiest to cook either of those ahead of time.
So for building our particular fry I started with a little olive oil and some Udon noodles. These are a fairly thick puffy noodle that can usually be found in your produce section by the wonton wrappers and tofu. They come in a wheat variety and in a gluten free option. If you’re going completely gluten free then you may want to drop the noodles and just serve the stir fried veg over rice. I fried the undon briefly in the oil with a splash of low sodium soy sauce and a little hoisin sauce cause I like the flavor.
I set the noodles aside and gathered my veggies, cutting them into chunks or slices depending on the shape and density of the veg. My list included: cabbage, broccoli, burgandy carrots, celery, parsnips, red onions, portabello mushrooms, fresh garlic and fresh ginger. The onions, celery, carrots, ginger and garlic are the aromatic team. Parsnips and broccoli the heavy team and the mushrooms and cabbage the light team.
I started building at a high heat with olive oil and my aromatics except for the garlic. Garlic burns quickly so even though it’s part of the aromatics, it’s better to add a little later. Once the onions went translucent I added in the hard veg and about a tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce. I cooked those until they just started to soften then added the garlic and remaining vegetables.
Cook cook cook. In the last minutes it’s a good time to add the noodles back in to warm and any additional spices. I went simple with salt, pepper, sesame seeds and a shake of sesame oil. At this time I also add about one to two tsps Ultra Gel. I know that seems weird to add a starch, but it binds to the lovely sauce that has been made between the weeping vegetables and the spices I’ve added and keeps the sauce on the veg instead of at the very bottom of the pan. (Remember Ultra Gel is gluten free and a sprinkle and go, so it doesn’t change the gluten free nature of the dish and it’s an easy last step to enhance quality.)
Scoop up and serve over rice, or alone in the bowl and eat with forks or chop sticks depending on your manual dexterity.
What do you like in your fry?