There is nothing like a delicious stir-fry. Did you ever wonder what the secret is to a good stir-fry? I have included and adapted the fundamentals of real Chinese stir-frying for your home to help you achieve that depth of flavor and wonderful textures throughout. Be sure to read through before beginning to make sure you have the equipment essentials and understand how to prep.
One key element to Chinese stir-frying is high flame, otherwise known as “the taste of the wok”. Not all of us have gas stoves. Not to worry, for electric stoves use a large sauté pan or skillet at least 12 -14 inches. In fact, do not use a small wok. If your wok does not have girth, opt for the larger pan. The smaller woks will steam or braise your food.
This adapted version of Chinese stir-frying will have you creating dishes that will rival your favorite Chinese restaurant. Many of us enjoy adapting the recipes we see and I would love you to do just that, using what is available to you. For the recipe below treat your proteins similarly to the tempeh simply adjust the cooking time based on your protein. Match the vegetables and aromatics as set below. Double the time for larger vegetables such as broccoli, eggplant,…etc.
Happy eating friends!
1 1/2 pounds Shiitake Mushrooms
1 medium fresh Bok Choy stalk
5 tablespoons Canola oil (if you don’t have Canola oil use an oil that can take high heat such as Safflower oil)
3 Garlic cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons Ginger
1 red Chili
3 teaspoons Cornstarch
1/4 cup Tamari Soy sauce
1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Oyster sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon Honey
- Place the tempeh in the freezer for 20 minutes. (this is to slice the tempeh thinner.)
- Prep the aromatics. Mince the garlic, peel and julienne the ginger, and seed the chili and chop up finely. Reserve in a bowl together.
- In a small bowl or cup add cornstarch and just enough water stirred in to create the texture of heavy cream.
- In a bowl or measuring cup mix the tamari sauce, rice wine vinegar, oyster sauce and honey.
- Take the tempeh out of the freezer and slice it fairly thin, about 1/8 inch thick. Toss in enough sauce to coat and allow to marinate while you prep the vegetables. Reserve the remainder of the sauce for later.
- Cut the vegetable with maximum surface area exposed. Cut the white part of the scallion and firmer part
about 1 1/2 inch long and half lengthwise. Slice the green portion thinly. Reserve both parts separately. Cut the white part of the bok choy 1 1/2 inch long and half lengthwise. Cut the leafy part 1 inch thick then half the pieces. Reserve both parts separately. Slice the mushrooms and cut away any tough parts off on the stems.
- Heat your empty wok / sauté pan on highest flame/highest setting for 1-3 minutes (wok/pan should be so hot, you can hold your outstretched hand 1 inch above its surface for no more than 3 seconds); add 3 tablespoons of canola oil. (For wok swirl the oil down the sides as you pour. Rotate pan so bottom is evenly coated. Drain Tempeh then add to pan and stir-fry until seared and about three-quarters cooked, about 2 minutes. Spoon tempeh on plate.
- Swirl in 2 more tablespoons of canola oil and be sure everything is evenly coated. Add the larger cut pieces of the scallion and the white part of the bok choy. Don’t stir too much at this point, because you want the vegetables to brown, about 2 minutes.
- Add the aromatics and the mushrooms to the pan stirring lightly. Once the mushrooms start to glisten and are just tender, about 2 minutes, add in the leafy part of the bok choy. Stir-fry until the leaves start to wilt, about 2 minutes.
- Return the tempeh to the wok/pan and stir in. Add in the remainder of the sauce. As soon as the liquid starts simmering, stir up the cornstarch slurry in its cup, and pour a thin stream all around the wok/pan into the sauce. Stir the entire contents of the wok/pan together immediately; the liquid will thicken right away over the high heat. The sauce should be lightly thickened not gloppy.
- Finish off with a small amount of sesame oil (like a quarter-teaspoon) drizzled over and stirred in just before serving. Transfer to serving platter and top with the thinly sliced green scallions.