Another easy recipe that is healthy, tasty, and can be modified in many ways. Another advantage to this recipe is that you can use up a bunch of vegetables in your fridge that are reaching the end of their shelf life. If you have a wok, use it. I prefer my flat bottomed, wok-like pan because I like the larger cooking area on the bottom, but it has tall sides to hold more stuff. In a pinch you can use the large pot you probably use for boiling pasta noodles.
1 cup dried rice (brown, white, jasmine, basmati, whatever)
Garlic – fresh or jarred
Ginger (optional) – fresh or minced
1 lb of meat (chicken, beef, or pork), cut in strips, or 1” chunks (this works best with chicken)
Veggies: lots of options here, onion, bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, snap peas, baby corn, bamboo shoots, etc. Chop all the vegetables into bite size chunks, not too small, not too big. You can also add peanuts or cashews. Don’t use too many veggies, no more than 6 or 7 types. A good rule of thumb is that you still need to stir the stuff in the pot, so don’t overload the pot
Sauce: This is also highly variable. You can do a simple sauce with soy sauce, or you can buy some the sauce at the market. We like Thai flavors, so we will add a can of coconut milk and some red or green curry paste (1-2 tsp depending on your taste and heat level), or the sweet chili garlic sauce pictured below (1-2 cups).
If you are cooking brown rice, it usually takes an hour, white rice takes about half that time. Follow the instructions on the package, or the steamer. I have found with the steamer to add an equal amount of water or broth, plus ½ cup works well.
With the meat, if you have time, you can marinade your meat in garlic, soy sauce (or coconut milk), and maybe some red pepper flakes. Put some sesame oil in a pan, and maybe some olive oil (sesame oil is more expensive than olive oil), add the garlic and ginger to the oil and heat it on high. As soon as things start popping, add the meat and brown it.
For the veggies, you need to add them in stages. My Asian friends say to remove the meat from the pan and cook the veggies separate. I am too lazy, so I don’t do that. Add carrots first, then onions and bell pepper, then broccoli and cauliflower, then mushrooms, then snap peas, then the baby corn and bamboo shoots. Cook each set of veggies for a couple minutes before adding the next stuff. I like my veggies slightly crunchy, especially the carrots and broccoli. This meal took me about 30 minutes of prep and cooking. Though I cut the veggies while the meat was cooking to save some time.
Once everything is mostly cooked, add in the sauce. Start off with small amounts, and add more to taste. If you are using a store bought “simmer sauce” you are probably safe to add the whole thing. Also understand that as things boil, the flavor will intensify. Too much soy sauce will ruin dinner in no time, as will too much spicy chili sauce. You can always add more Sriracha sauce to yours if you want more spice.