It’s Thanksgiving leftover season and most of us are scrambling around, looking for new and inventive ways to use them up. I mostly just love having that glorious meal reheated and eaten in post Thanksgiving peace and quiet when we can really savor each dish and all of those wondrous flavors. And then we’re done. No turkey tetrazzini here, but a big pot of turkey stew has been known to happily simmer on the stove during the holidays. But post leftovers, we’re eating light, and I thought I’d share with you my most very favorite meal to make after the glorious gluttony that is Thanksgiving. And that would be stir fry.
Now, you don’t really probably have to have a recipe to make a good stir fry, and lord knows I’ve made it for years without one. There’s something so nice about just throwing it all in a pan and just adding this and that and what’s on hand and not really having to bother so much about measuring and such. Just quick and dirty and done. That works. And I’ll probably still do that from time to time.
(Sorry that some of my jars look a bit on the "used" side)
But the last year or two I’ve been wanting to create a recipe that I can rely on to give me that lovely balance of flavors that I want, and just the right amount of sauce with just the right consistency, and I’d really like to be able to have it written down and not have to think too hard about how I did it last time. The whole reason I created this blog was for just that… time to write down my recipes and bring some consistency to my cooking. Thus began my stir fry quest and this here recipe is the culmination of those months of testing and trial and error.
But I’ve sort of resisted posting it, because like most stir frys (should that be “fries”?), there’s a bit of prep involved. There will be some slicing, dicing and some chopping to do, and I always feel bad when my recipes require this much knife work, so I’m really sorry. But I promise, once you have everything prepped and ready, this dish goes together in a flash. Just minutes. Promise. I've even streamlined what is already a quick-cook dish by eliminating a couple of the add-in steps. I've started just throwing everything into the pan together (after the meat or tofu has had a minute to start cooking), which makes this an even speedier meal, with the wondrous benefit of ensuring that your veggies don't overcook.
So this is how I step off the post-Thanksgiving gluttony train. When I really want to lighten things up, I increase the veggie quotient and cut back on the proteins, or you can leave out the protein altogether for a vegetarian meal. These days I’m into serving it over rice, and brown jasmine rice is our favorite. But it’s also super delicious with Chinese noodles. Time to pack away the stretchy pants! Who'm I kidding. I'll be keeping the stretchy pants out within reach until well after New Years. Here's the recipe...
Circle B Stir Fry
This dish comes together pretty quickly once you have everything chopped and sliced. If you’re using carrots, broccoli or other veggies that take a while to cook through, steam or boil them briefly before beginning the recipe so they’ll cook quickly in the pan. If using tofu, I like to press it between paper towels to remove as much liquid as I can before marinating it. That way it really absorbs lots of flavor. When making stir fry, I've always sauteed the aromatics (ginger, garlic, green onions) first and then the meat and then the veggies, but lately I've just been giving the meat a good head start in the pan and then adding all of the remaining ingredients to the pan at the same time to cook together. This is a quicker, simpler way to get everything cooked, it tastes exactly the same and ensures that your veggies don't overcook.
1 lb shrimp (peeled and deveined) or chicken thighs, sliced, or tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
Peanut or vegetable oil
3 cups cooked jasmine rice or 4-5 oz Chinese noodles
3 cups of sliced veggies (any combination of zucchini, mushrooms, red and/or green pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (about a 1 1/2-inch piece)
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced (white and light green parts only), reserve a handful for finishing
a pinch or two of crushed red pepper (more or less to your heat preferences)
Sauce and Marinade:
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon ( or more) sriracha sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce
6 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup mirin (rice wine)
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
Mix the sauce ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.
Place the chicken, shrimp or tofu in a bowl or Ziploc bag with 1/3 cup of the sauce/marinade. Mix well and then let sit for an hour or so.
If using Chinese noodles, cook them in boiling water for 3 minutes, rinse and drain. Return to the pan and drizzle with a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil.
Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut or vegetable oil in a large wok or sauté pan over medium high heat (high heat if you're using a wok). Remove the chicken, shrimp or tofu from the marinade (discard the used marinade), and stir fry until slightly cooked through and taking on some color, about 5 minutes. If using shrimp, just cook them for 2 minutes and then remove them from the pan.
Add the remaining ingredients (veggies, green onion, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper) to the pan and stir fry over fairly high heat for another 5 minutes.
If using shrimp, add it back to the pan at this point and continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
Add the sauce ingredients and cook until bubbly and thickened, about 2 minutes, and then, if you’re using noodles, add them to the pan and stir until the noodles are heated through and sauced.
Place into a serving dish and sprinkle with the rest of the green onions. Serve over jasmine rice if not using Chinese noodles.