Thursday, June 9, 2011

Japanese Style Stir Fry

This recipe is another oldie but goodie. It's been in circulation for over 32 years (yes, that's longer than I have been alive). My mom picked up the recipe when she worked in a printing and lithography studio. Apparently my mom and her coworkers used to smuggle food into the dark room so their bosses wouldn't catch them with their constant feasts. This recipe is one of the many dark room dishes that was created back in the day. Her coworker brought a portable wok to work one day and cooked everyone a Japanese inspired dish. It was such a success that we are still making, and enjoying, this meal decades later.

What I love about this stir fry is that it is really healthy, even though it was created before knowledge about health food became more widespread (think of common late 70s food: deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket, quiche, ranch dressing). Almost all of the flavor comes from the marinated meat, so make sure you leave plenty of time for that step. The veggies can be switched up easily, but I love this combination. The celery seems odd at first, but somehow it works.

This stir fry always leaves me with plenty of leftovers, but it is still great the next day. I serve this over basmati rice (it is my favorite rice and gets used for everything) that is cooked in chicken broth. This way there is flavor in the rice as well as the stir fry. However, you can really put this over just about any grain. There isn't tons of sauce in this stir fry, so it you're looking for something that has lots of extra juices to pour over your rice, you can double the marinade.

Serves 4

For the meat marinade:
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons sugar
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 scallion (white and green parts), chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons water
1 1/2 pounds filet mignon, thinly sliced (you can also use chicken if you prefer)

For the stir fry:
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
3 stalks celery, cut into 3/4" pieces
5 cups bean sprouts (they shrink down a lot)
5 small/baby bok choy, coarsely chopped
1 8 oz/227 gram can water chestnuts, drained

Prepare the marinade by mixing all of the ingredients.  Marinate overnight.

Heat a wok over a high flame. Add oil. When the oil is about to reach smoking point, add the meat. Stir fry to your desired doneness, keeping in mind that it will go back in the pan for another minute or so later. Once done, remove the meat and it's juices and set aside (save the juices). Do not clean the wok. Add the vegetables and stir fry them until they begin to release their juices and become a little soft (you will see liquid pooling in the bottom of your wok). Remove from wok, drain excess liquid. Add the vegetables and meat back into the wok and cook until everything is warmed again. Serve hot over rice.

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