I Love Stir Fry!
Posted by Bob Barcus on March 10th, 2013
I've always loved Chinese food and my favorite place for take-out has traditionally been Dragon Express in Plymouth. I would always order Pork with Mushrooms and Crabmeat Rangoon. Obviously, neither of those choices are an option in my new diet. I dropped another pant size this past week and I plan on continuing that trend.
As an alternative, I decided to start making my own stir fry. It's actually quite simple to make, the cost is low and it tastes really good. You can also make it with a variety of different vegetables and you can even throw in some shrimp.
Choosing a Good Rice
If you want some rice to go along with your stir fry, avoid using white rice. I like making my stir fry with a good organic non-GMO rice. I prefer the Lundberg brand and I have tried their short grain brown rice, long grain brown rice and wild blend. I think the wild blend has a slightly nutty taste. Following the instructions on the bag, your cook time should be around 45 minutes. Salt is optional and definitely don't add the butter - you won't need it.
Making the Stir Fry
I make my stir fry without any oil. I start with a couple of splashes of cooking sherry and some soy sauce. If you don't want to use the sherry, you can substitute some red wine vinegar. When that starts bubbling, I throw in my sliced mushrooms. The mushrooms are the "meat" of my stir fry. At the same time, I toss in a spoonful of minced garlic. I stir the mix several times until all of the mushrooms are coated and then I cover the pan and let it cook down a little bit.
Next, I turn to my freezer and see which frozen stir fry mix I have available. Depending on where I shop, I can have quite a selection of mixes. You can get bags of stir fry vegetables at Krogers, Aldis, Wal-Mart or just about any grocery store. Avoid the mixes that come with the sauce or rice.
With the mushrooms still a little firm, I add my stir fry mix. I just dump the frozen veggies right in the pan with my mushrooms. Then I add a little bit of seasoning. I prefer sea salt, freshly ground pepper and chili powder. I think the chili powder gives it a nice burst of flavor. Optionally, at this point you can add some pre-cooked, tail-off frozen shrimp. A good choice for shrimp is the small salad shrimp. I let this cook down with the lid on, occasionally stirring and testing the vegetables to make sure they are thoroughly cooked.
When I feel satisfied that everything has cooked to my satisfaction, I uncover the pan with my stir fry in it and allow the water to cook off. You don't want a watery stir fry. When everything is ready, I mix a small portion of rice with my stir fry in a bowl and it's ready to eat. If necessary, you can add some more soy sauce, but it should be fine without it.
A Note on Portion Sizes
If you're cooking for one, watch your portion sizes! The directions for cooking the rice call for one full cup of rice, but that equates into four servings, which is 600 calories. You also need to watch the shrimp. A full 4 oz. bag of salad shrimp is 90 calories, but it contributes up to 70% of your recommended daily allowance of cholesterol. Just remember that the shrimp is optional or reduce the amount of shrimp that you put into your stir fry. However, you can definitely add more vegetables without much concern. A full bag of stir fry vegetables only runs between 100-120 calories for four full servings.
Also, don't be afraid to substitute fresh vegetables whenever possible. Frozen is great and convenient, but adding fresh veggies can add texture and flavor.