The vegetables freshly chopped and added to the hot frying pan
There are times when we all need a nourishing meal but either we haven’t time nor energy to stand, cooking, in the kitchen for long. Today was such a day. Husband had gone to see his brother as it’s his brother’s birthday, and I stayed at home to have a bit of a catch up with the housekeeping. I managed a few basics – making the bed, filling the dishwasher and the washing machine, hanging washing on the line, putting away piles of magazines which I’d been browsing through, washing the windowsills in the sitting room and dusting and polishing the furniture – before husband returned, and so I ceased cleaning (bless him, he showed the vacuum to the carpet) and decided to make a vegetable stir fry for lunch.
Last week, I bought a packet of stir fry vegetables in Waitrose. I make my own sweet ‘n’ sour sauce, so didn’t buy a sachet, but really, I found the bag of vegetables a little disappointing. Yes, they’re OK if you’re in a tearing hurry, but how long does it take to chop some veg? I found the cabbage in the bag was in too-large pieces (and cabbage isn’t what I really want in a stir fry) and the slices of red onions were the outer casings of the onions and very tough.
So, today, I made my own stir fry from scratch. This is real food, but fast. It included, sliced or chopped (sufficient for two people):
2 spring onions
2 sticks of celery
half a red pepper
2 or 3 broccoli spears (but not the very woody end)
3 or 4 radishes
half a bag of beansprouts
These were chopped in next to no time, all similar sizes so they would cook at more-or-less the same rate (no, I didn’t chop the beansprouts.)
I used a frying pan as I don’t have a wok. I put a little rapeseed oil into the pan, heated it and added all the veg except the bean spouts. I stir-fried for a few minutes, then added the bean sprouts and stirred them in …
I then added my own sweet ‘n’ sour by splashing in some balsamic vinegar (white wine vinegar would do just as well), some salt-reduced soy sauce, about a tablespoon of tomato puree, and a good drizzle of runny honey. I then stirred all this into the vegetables …
I continued to stir fry this for about five or six minutes, tasting the sauce as it cooked and adding a little extra honey and tomato puree as we don’t like the sauce too vinegary. It wasn’t long before it was ready …
This made two good portions for husband and myself. I didn’t photograph it on the plates, I didn’t want it to go cold before we tucked in!
Of course, most, if not all, of you will be proficient at stir frying, but if you’ve not tried this simple vegetable dish, then it’s something you can do when time is short (and there’s not much washing up – just the frying pan, a wooden fork, a couple of plates and forks, and the chopping board and knife, and the large spoon with which to remove the stir fry from pan to plates.)
If you wanted, you could kick-start this dish with some small pieces of chicken and fry them in the pan first, or adding mushrooms. Indeed, most veg can be cooked in this way, and you can vary the sauce with what you have in the larder/fridge, perhaps some sweet chilli sauce or lemon juice instead of vinegar (or to augment the vinegar.)
(To use up the beansprouts and some of the vegetables in the fridge, we might have something similar tomorrow.)
We had a real-food, fast-food dessert, too: a little vanilla ice cream with some slices of strawberries. Ice cream isn’t too wicked if we don’t indulge too often.
Until next time.