Stir-Fry Crazy

I’m amazed at all the 30-Day Challenge commitments coming in, keep it up!  The reason I’m putting your names (and links) up, of course, is so that your commitments are there for everyone to see.  This way your friends will make fun of you if you quit!  I badly want a nice cup of coffee this morning, but there’s no chance I’ll drink one, because how ridiculous would I look up here in front of everyone if I did it? If you’re not used to making decisions (or making them last, anyway), then your first instinct is to not let too many people know about your commitment, just in case you fail.  But that’s the point– tell everyone, so that you can’t fail!

If you haven’t committed to a 30-Day Challenge yet, you still can, and I’ll still put your name up.  But let’s say only until June 1st.  This is something we’re doing together, so it doesn’t make much sense to start weeks apart from each other.  Keep leaving comments to let us know how you’re doing, and maybe we can get some guest posts from those of you who succeed.

I’m still on my no-pasta kick (I don’t think it’s unhealthy; I just got sick of it).  So I had a delicious lunch of tofu and broccoli over brown rice at Pei Wei the other day.  I’d never even heard of a Pei Wei before; it just happened to be the only alternative to Wendy’s and Chick-Fil-A when I was stranded waiting for my car to be fixed.  It turns out Pei Wei is a faster, more casual version of P.F. Chang’s, owned by the same company. I ordered ginger broccoli with tofu and vegetables over brown rice, and they sat me and brought it out within five minutes.  It was such a good meal, and all for less than eight dollars!  So much better than I’d have gotten at any fast food place.

So last night, I did my best to replicate that meal at home.  Historically, my stir-frys have sucked, so I vowed this time not to overcook the vegetables and to only add the sauce during the last few seconds, so that the vegetables wouldn’t absorb it and lose all of their wondeful crispiness.  And it worked!

[Stir Fry photo]

Here’s what we did.  Erin found a quick teriyaki recipe on 2/3 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup cooking sherry, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon grated ginger (the recipe called for ground ginger, weird), 1 minced clove of garlic.  Very easy, and about twice as much as you need.  We cooked some brown rice– I used to use the boil-in-bags, but recently I’ve done it the real way, for the whole hour, and it’s much better (probably more nutritious too).  I seared some tofu with a little soy sauce, then heated a big skillet over very high heat, and once it was really hot I added some canola oil.  You don’t want to use olive oil with high heat; it smokes too easily.  Then I added vegetables, in order of how long it would take them to cook.  Broccoli first for a few minutes, then snap peas, then thinly sliced carrots.  Finally, when the vegetables were still crisp, I added the tofu and about half the teriyaki sauce and let it reduce for just a minute or two before serving it over rice.  Of course, you can use whatever vegetables you want for this.  Season with a little salt along the way, and don’t fry any minced garlic with the vegetables unless you have a good way to prevent it from burning (and if you do, tell me how).

As I said, it turned out really well!  Much better than previous attempts at stir-frying.  I wish the sauce had been thicker, like it was at Pei Wei.  But I can’t complain much. Another delicious, meatless meal fit to fuel an active life, exactly what we aim for around here!



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  1. I made it through day 1 with no dessert! I realize this may seem like no big deal, but I’m a huge evening snacker and I always think I have to finish my meal with something sweet. Well, last night, I made sure I had a nice filling dinner and then called it quits – guess what, I survived! On to day 2….

    Your stir fry looks delicious, btw! I’ll definitely be trying that in the coming weeks.

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Ohhh that pic totally makes me crave a good stir fry!

    Happy news – I cut down to one mug of coffee this morning! I am drinking a little green chai tea right now instead 🙂

  3. Wow, you have certainly started a movement! I think it’s so awesome that so many people are doing this together.
    PS- Your stir fry looks delicious!

    VeggieRunnr’s last blog post..30 Day Challenge

  4. I use a similar recipe for my stir fry sauce and love it! The sauce would probably turn out thicker just by letting it reduce longer. Also – I don’t add sugar to mine. Not sure if it has an effect on the consistency but certainly would affect the test. Try it next time without the sugar and let me know. 🙂

  5. You might be interested in “Chai Thai Teriyaki Seitan with Rainbow Chard”

  6. My stir frys have also historically sucked. I made one last night using your teriyaki sauce and a little more planning and it was great! Searing the tofu first worked well. I got a ton of mung bean sprouts at the farmers market so my stir fry was mostly those, as well as snap peas that I grew, carrots, and broccoli. I used brown sugar in the teriyaki sauce instead of regular, and I added some garlic-chili asian hot sauce, and fried it all in canola oil with a splash of sesame. The sauce was on the thin side, but I prefer that to a mouthful of cornstarch!

  7. Yeah, my sauce was thin too. I wonder how they made it thick at Pei Wei… maybe just lots of reducing it. Didn’t taste like cornstarch. How are your snap peas doing?

  8. Tom PM says:

    Most stir fry sauces will remain thin unless you add something to thicken them. Next time, try a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons of cold water, added to the sauce in the pan. After a minute or two, it should thicken up nicely 🙂 If cornstarch isn’t your thing, I believe tarrow root(?) will work as well..?

  9. Sauces generally require some form of starch as a thickening agent. Corn starch or wheat flour are most common but you can use an alternate starch if you cannot/do not eat certain starch sources. The reason corn starch or wheat flour are often used is because they add the least amount of flavor but there are thickening agents out there that are natural and neutral in flavor that are not corn or wheat based. I believe there are tapioca-based thickening agents out there. You may have to prod around a health food store or specialty grocer to find an alternative.

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