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Stir Fry for an Easy Nutritious Meal

One of our family’s favorite dishes is stir fry. It is one of the only meals that all 5 of us scarf down with nary a complaint. It’s a great way to get veggies into picky eaters, and it’s so versatile. You can clean out that veggie drawer without wasting a morsel, and with the cost of food these days, no one wants to throw food away. Stir fry also makes great leftovers.

Stir fry pan
It’s helpful to have a wok, but you can use an electric fry pan or even a saute pan if you must.

I like to make my own sauce so I know it is gluten free and also free of MSG and other additives.  Here’s my simple go-to recipe:

  • 6 T soy sauce (fermented soy is best)
  • 4 T Sherry cooking wine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (okay, so I used 2 or 3; we love garlic)
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp sugar

Mix those together and set aside.

Now is the time to drag out all of those leftover veggies and chop them up. Some of our favorites are onion, red and green pepper (red for color, green for flavor), and broccoli (soaks up that yummy sauce). But that’s just a start. The possibilities are virtually endless.

We like some meat in our stir fry. I usually cube up chicken breast, but you can use beef cubes or tofu or whatever floats your boat.

And finally, we like walnuts for the flavor and the crunch, but my son is allergic, so I brown them and serve them on the side.

Now you’re ready to put it all together.

Heat up some oil in the wok or skillet over medium-high heat. I like to use lard because it is stable at high temperatures. I do not recommend using olive oil or any industrial vegetable oils. Sesame oil is a good option if you don’t have access to good quality lard or tallow. Here is a good article on the different kinds of oil and what to use for what. Whatever you use, make sure not to heat it to the smoking point.

If oil or fat smokes in the pan the temperature is too high for that oil. It’s safest to discard it, clean the pan and start over at a lower temperature. This may conflict with sources that advise to heat the oil to the smoke point. The point at which oil smokes signals that the oil has been damaged and potentially cancer-causing properties have formed. {source}

Add the veggies to the wok and stir occasionally until they are crisp-tender, maybe five minutes or so.  If you are using meat, remove the veggies and set aside.

Add more oil to the wok and then the meat. I usually use chicken. I like to throw in a bit of salt at this point, to help flavor the chicken as it cooks, but don’t overdo it. The soy sauce in the marinade is quite salty in its own right. Continue to stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked through and lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Now, push the chicken off to the sides of the pan and give the sauce a quick whisk, as the corn starch has a way of settling as it sits. Then pour the sauce in the center of the pan and stir as it thickens. After 3 or 4 minutes, add the veggies back in with the meat and sauce. Throw in the toasted walnuts if desired. Or water chestnuts add a nice crunch too.

Toss lightly to combine and serve over brown rice.

Stir fry
You are welcome!

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