Before the recipe: I must report that Chloe the Cat is thoroughly enjoying her summer. She’s exhausted from chasing chipmunks and protecting her backyard from stray cats, though.
Now, back to the recipe story: I don’t own a wok. Don’t really care to, either, at this point in my life, since I feel like it would just clutter up an already cluttered pots & pans cabinet. I know that a wok is pretty much crucial for successful, authentic stir fry dishes, but I’ve made do just fine with my trusty, most favorite, All-Clad stainless steel saute pan that I wouldn’t want to live without. I use it multiple times every week, and have for years. It’s an investment, for sure, but it should last a lifetime or two.
The only problem with using that particular pan for stir fry, I have found, is that I can’t just dump all my veggies into it at once and expect greatness. Stir fry veggies are supposed to have a little crunch to them, and in the past when I’ve overloaded the pan (i.e. all the time) for this particular dish, the veggies end up sort of steaming and getting kind of mushy. I finally figured out this week that if I saute the veggies just a little at a time, the results are much better.
I also tend to make a different stir fry sauce every time I make stir fry. Back in A-50, I tried my hardest to recreate Steve’s “best stir fry ever” for Rose, but with no luck. And finally, one night, we convinced him to make it for us. Not only was it crazy spicy (I never could quite get it spicy enough for Rose, I’m afraid!), it was deee-licious. I had to admit: it was the best stir fry ever. When I asked for his recipe, he spouted off a list of ingredients that amounted to “whatever I happen to have on hand that sounds like a stir fry.” So, I took a cue from him and started just playing around with ingredients whenever I wanted to whip up stir fry. This particular dish relied on coconut milk and pre-made red curry paste, since I wanted a shortcut. But I’ve been known to blend up exotic combinations of Sriracha, vinegars, peanut butter, coconut milk, cilantro, garlic, ginger, orange juice, brown sugar, honey, and soy sauce so that no two sauces are exactly alike anymore.
This stir fry was good – filling, healthy and simple – but after eating, I realized it needed more acidity to balance out everything. Some lime juice or rice wine vinegar would’ve done the trick here, so add it in if you make it.
Coconut Curry Stir Fry (4 servings)
First: bake some chicken. Preheat an oven to 350. Cook one chicken breast that’s been covered with oil, salted, peppered, and dashed with Chinese five spice seasoning until it’s done. Set aside to cool down enough so that you are able to dice it into small chunks.
Preheat a sautee pan to medium high heat. Add some oil (vegetable is best). Saute a sliced onion and 3 carrots, peeled and cut on the bias, with salt & pepper until just cooked, about 8 minutes. Remove from pan; set aside. Return pan to heat, add more oil, cook some broccoli florets & cauliflower for about 2 minutes, then add a tablespoon each of diced garlic and diced fresh ginger. Cook about another 2 minutes; add a couple tablespoons soy sauce, cook for about a minute, then add back the onion and carrots. Then add the chicken. Stir in 2 tablespoons prepared red curry paste, a sprinkle of brown sugar, another glug of soy sauce and a 14 ounce can of coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, and remove from heat. Serve over white or brown rice.