Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Take the Stir-Fry Challenge!

Today, I can't help but devote some of the discussion to one of my favorite and most versatile dishes under the sun - lions, and tigers and stir fry - oh my! 

So what's the big deal about stir-fry, you might be wondering? Glad you asked. You will be too. 

  1. There is a stir-fry for each set of taste buds -Don't believe me? Then you're not putting the right ingredients in your mix! You heard me right. The only reason you think you are not a stir-fry fanatic is your recipe, mi amigo. Confused? Don't be. It's quite simple. And easy to fix too! See, there are no rules for cooking a delicious stir fry. It can literally be prepared using just about anything you crave. Not real hot on the tofu staple included in some stir-fries? Get rid of it. Can't stand spinach in anything? Then what on earth is it doing in your otherwise lovely stir-fry? Goodness, that was easy. More importantly, what makes your mouth water? A water chestnut maybe, however rich with irony? Throw some more of those in there instead. This is your dinner, it should be made using your favorite stuff. Don't you agree?
  2. Stir-Fry Demands That You Walk the Wok -Ah, yes. The magnificence of the Chinese cooking masterpieces known to us as woks. Don't you know? They are the oh-so-amazing rounded version of a pan, made of carbon steel or cast iron, that sits over raging hot flames. The wok is an essential element of a kitchen's character, none are truly complete without one of these breathtaking birth places of meats, veggies and sauces combined. I'd give away my husband before getting rid of mine. With just a splash of cooking oil, your dish is done and exactly the way you would want it.
  3. Your Favorite Foods Are Ready to Eat in Minutes - Far less rude than any fast food, stir fry dishes made by your wishes, are hot and on the plate in front of you just as fast. With your wok at your command, saute your veggies and meat with just a few tosses of the hand. Lift the lid, and you're in business. Send it to the plate. Let cool. Enjoy!
  4. Not Feeling Conventional? Throw Out the Recipes! - In my opinion, stir-fry is a food far too personal to write down in terms of ingredients and instructions. I don't blame you if you're less than impressed from some other person's perfect concoction. That's no way to eat. This is such an easily personalized treat, let's experiment and taste test it as we go. Trust me, you will find the irresistible balance once you start adding and subtracting whatever your stomach is growling for. 
Here's my own stir-fry story. Well, mine and my husband's. When we first started dating over two years ago, I absolutely loved the fact that he could cook. I'm a little challenged in all departments domestic, so I fully supported his culinary talents. By that, I mean I was quick to eat anything he made and was generally easy to please. 

He told me early on back then, one of his favorite dishes to make was a chicken and vegetable stir-fry. It sure sounded good to me at the time. So that evening, he fixed some up and dished me up a plate, then sat down to join me for dinner. All I knew was steam was rising off the fresh cooked food in front of me and it smelled better than I could stand. 

Digging into the lovely meal, I was pleasantly surprised. I couldn't remember the last time I ate any type of stir-fry, it must have been ages ago when I still lived at home. My mother made it every once in a great while. Man, that first dinner was so good. 

Well, it didn't take long before I started to get a better idea of just HOW much my husband liked to make chicken vegetable stir-fry. He wanted to eat it almost every other night. At least three times a week. Eh...his crazy Asian appetite was killing my taste for it! 

"Not again...!" 
"C'mon, we just had that!"
"Will you make me something else then...?"

He could eat chicken and vegetables like I could eat pizza. All the time and forever. Ahhh! Funny though, when I finally figured it out. I wasn't getting sick of the stir-fried dish. I just preferred different things in mine than he did his. That solved some of that conflict, though neither of us can ever turn down a trip to the local Mongolian grill restaurant. It's all you can eat buffet full of every stir-fry friendly ingredient you can think of. 

"How do they slice the meats into such thin shreds?" my husband asks, confused and amazed. 

"I don't know, honey. But you should figure out how." 

Maybe one day we'll investigate just exactly what they're using behind there. 

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