Bowls of yumminess
Bowls of yumminess
FEAST WITH ME - Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2020 - 12:00am

I’m a big fan of vegetables and lately, I have been buying them in bulk directly from the farmers. This means that sometimes I have to think ahead and make sure they don’t spoil. This Veggie Stir Fry is an excellent technique to incorporate all kinds of vegetables in your diet. It’s also a great way to make use of all the sad, slightly wilted vegetables languishing in the bottom of your refrigerator. You can easily switch up toppings and sauces swinging it from pan-Asian to Chinese to Japanese flavors. The basic composition is carrots, red and green cabbage, broccoli and some shimeiji mushrooms. These are all pretty hardy veggies that can last two weeks if properly stored, wrapped in paper towels and in a container. You throw everything in a wok with some onions and garlic, tons of ginger and whatever else you’d like to mix it with. I love basmati rice because it has a very low Glycemic Index. This particular version is topped with tofu. I slice firm tofu about 1/2 inch thick and fry it up in a pan of melted butter with a generous spoon of sambal tossed in and squirt of lemon juice. I pan fry it till its golden leaving it crisp on the outside and still soft on the inside. It’s delicious!

Here is a simple formula on how to make your own veggie stir fry bowl. I’ve decided to leave out the quantities because it’s a very easy recipe to personalize and you can add or subtract any ingredient to your liking.

This is one of my absolute favorite toppings for stir-fry bowls because we have such great quality tuna in the Philippines and even regular supermarkets now carry good quality frozen tuna.

You can also do the exact same marinade and preparation with salmon — which is what I’ve been indulging in lately — or blue marlin, tanigue or even shrimp. All you need are the ingredients and a really good non-stick pan or hot grill.

Photos by Magic Liwanag

Veggie Stir Fry

Ingredients:

Veggie Base: Julienned carrots, shredded green and/or red cabbage, broccoli, shimeiji mushrooms, sliced onions, minced garlic, grated or julienned ginger.

Apart from my staples you can add or replace with these: Shiitake mushrooms (but they have a very strong flavor), bean sprouts, snow peas, bell peppers, leeks, bokchoy, camote or sili tops, thinly sliced sigarilyas.

Stir Fry Sauce Base: Soy sauce preferably low sodium, rice wine

Procedure: 

In a large wok, heat some canola oil or light olive oil (regular olive oil would impart a flavor that is too strong and tends to clash with Asian flavors) and sauté the onions, garlic and ginger till fragrant. Add the mushrooms first if you are using them and allow to cook well. Then add the rest of the ingredients starting with those that take longest to cook such as the broccoli and add last the veggies you want to stay a bit crunchy like carrots. Add a splash of low sodium soy sauce and rice wine. You can also add a splash of water then season with some salt and pepper to taste. Cover if you would like the vegetables to wilt a little.

Grain/Rice/Noodle Base: Basmati rice, red rice, brown rice, quinoa, noodles (egg noodles, rice noodles, low carb noodles – but my favorite are the very thin egg noodles), farro, adlai.

Add your preferred cooked rice or grain to the vegetables and toss all together. Add more soy sauce, rice wine and water if necessary. This is pretty much ready to be dressed up the way you want it.

Sauce and Flavor Combinations:

Japanese: sesame oil + teriyaki or sweet soy + sesame dressing (my fave is kewpie!) + lots of chopped spring onions + sesame seeds + pink pickled ginger (optional) + togarashi (optional)

Chinese: hoisin or oyster sauce + sesame oil + spring onions + cilantro + XO sauce (optional) + Chiu Chow Chili Sauce (optional)

Pan Asian: lemongrass + sweet soy + sesame + sambal + spring onions + cilantro

Toss these sauces and garnishes in with the stir fry and serve extra on the side as condiments. You could also just serve the base and have a selection of condiments for your guests to choose from.

Toppings:

Butter sambal tofu; seared tuna (brushed with dark sweet soy or teriyaki and togarashi); seared salmon fillet; chicken (tossed in sweet chili and soy); beef (great with black pepper); meatballs sautéed in some sweet chili sauce; pork BBQ; scrambled or fried egg or whatever leftovers you might have!

Assemble your bowl, top with your favorite topping and finish with a generous garnishing of fresh herbs. Dig in with your chopsticks and enjoy.

Sesame, Dark Soy & Togarashi Seared Tuna

Ingredients:

150g of tuna fillet

1 tbsp dark soy sauce or Kecap Manis

1 tbsp canola oil

1-inch knob of ginger, finely grated

Juice of 1/4 lime (green lemons work, or lemon)

A smattering of sesame seeds for garnish

Togarashi for garnish

Minced spring onions for garnish

1 tsp sesame oil

Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Procedure:

In a bowl whisk together the dark soy sauce, canola oil, ginger and lemon juice, season with pepper and a tiny pinch of salt. Use this to marinate the tuna for no more than 10 minutes.

Get your non-stick pan or grill very hot and sear the tuna on all sides, getting a nice, caramelized coating while keeping the middle practically raw. You could use some of the marinade to brush on the tuna for more flavor.

In another pan heat some sesame oil to release aromas and then pour on top. Serve over the Veggie Stir Fry Bowl and garnish with togarashi, sesame seeds and minced spring onions.

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