Ferndale Food Bank August Meal of the Month: Stir-Fried Veggies

Stir-fried vegetables can be the main ingredient for dinner. Simply  add cooked condiments like seafood, meat, cheese poultry and fruit  for a complete meal.

Stir-fried vegetables can be the main ingredient for dinner. Simply add cooked condiments like seafood, meat, cheese poultry and fruit for a complete meal.

The Ferndale Friendship Community Garden donates over 1000 pounds of produce each year to the Ferndale food bank. August is a good time to take advantage of those nutritious vegetables so we are using them in our August meal of the month.

About woks:

We will be using electric woks coated with Teflon for cooking due to our space limitations. Electric woks are inexpensive, take up little space, and can be used for frying, steaming, boiling and even popcorn-making. The Teflon coating allows for easy cleanup and little oil but it chips easily and then needs to be thrown into the trash.

Traditional 14″ woks made of rolled carbon steel (the cheap ones) are best because you can cook with a hotter flame. When seasoned properly, sticky food is easily wiped clean. If you use a wok often, we recommend that you buy a propane gas heat source. The gas heat runs up the side of the wok and can easily be regulated. DANGER:  If cooking with gas, make sure the area is well-ventilated and equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm.

About stir frying

Thinly sliced vegetables, tofu and tender meats are tossed into a “pot” containing hot oil. They are continuously moved around in the wok with a curved wooden spoon for about 4 minutes until crisp-tender and brightly colored.

Ways to Cook Vegetables- or not

Stir-frying lightly steaming are our preferred ways of cooking vegetables to retain their nutritional value. If cooked ‘till they are just tender-crisp they will be brightly colored and taste their best. They can also be eaten uncooked if your body can tolerate them and if they are washed properly but some people have difficulty digesting raw vegetables. Listen to your body and you will soon know how to best prepare vegetables for your condition.

About Oil

The healthiest oils are vegetable-based. The next thing to consider is smoking point which means “the temp at which the chosen oil begins to smoke and give off toxic fumes. Canola, grape seed and light olive oil are often used for stir-frying and peanut oil if a Chinese peanut flavor is desired

To get ready for basic stir-frying, vegetables are scrubbed and then chopped into even sized pieces. Smaller pieces will cook faster so harder veggies like carrots can be cooked with soft summer squash if carrots are cut in smaller pieces.

wok

Wok really means pot in Asian cuisine. The two wooden handles make it easy to carry.

When everything is cut and all ingredients are near the stove you’re ready to stir-fry. Because stir frying is a fast way to cook, the pot or wok is heated until it’s hot. A small amount of light-colored vegetable oil is spread halfway up the side of the wok. By tilting the wok spread the oil throughout the bottom and sides of the wok. When it is sizzling hot add the vegetables and continuously stir for 2 to 4 minutes and serve.

For heavier vegetables,stir-fry for a minute and then add a small amount of water, cover the wok with a lid and let the vegetables steam until they are tender-crisp. Serve immediately.

Vegetable Stir Fry
Serves 4
Stir-fried vegetables are nutritious, tasty and easy to cook.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 T vegetable oil
  2. 3 C chopped veggies of choice
  3. 1 small chopped onion
  4. 1 clove garlic
  5. 1/4 C water
Instructions
  1. Prepare vegetables.
  2. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in 10 to 12-inch pan over medium heat.
  4. Stir in onion and cook just until it is limp.
  5. Stir in rest of vegetables. Add water, cover and cook 2 to 4 minutes until vegetables are just tender but crisp.
  6. Season with salt, pepper or soy sauce if desired.
  7. Serve immediately
Notes
  1. Good vegetables to stir-fry include cabbage, broccoli,
  2. celery, carrots, green beans, bell pepper, zucchini, spinach,
  3. and bok choy.
Adapted from from Eating Well for Less
Adapted from from Eating Well for Less
Family Meals Project http://familymealsproject.com/
If you would prefer to have a complete meal, add Hoisin sauce, teriyaki sauce, or fish sauce and your favorite cooked protein.

Phu, a friend of mine, owned a Chinese restaurant and worked in a grocery deli. He suggests  that the vegetables be blanched and refrigerated until ready to use. They can last a day or two when stored in closed containers. When stir-fried, blanched vegetables will cook faster.

Mirin is a Japanese sweet wine used n Asian cooking.

Mirin is a Japanese sweet wine used n Asian cooking.

Phu’s family uses sauces only when they want a particular flavor. Usually they just add sugar water, apple cider vinegar and steam the vegetables for a nice color and pleasant taste.

TIPS:

  • Stir frying is a very fast way to cook. Have all the ingredients ready and stir constantly to get nice even quality.
  • Cook the meat first because it usually takes longer than vegetables
  • Be sure the oil is sizzling hot before adding vegetables or meat
  • Use a curved wooden spatula to stir the vegetables.
  • When tender-crisp remove the vegetables and serve immediately
  • o clean the wok, wipe with a soft cloth while it is still hot re-coat the wok with oil if you want to and store in a dry place
  • If you wash a seasoned wok with soap, it will remove the oil and food will stick to the wok. If this happens, you need to start over and season the wok with oil and heat.