Super-easy Asian Dinner

2014-01-30 — 4 Comments
Art by Jeffrey Hayes

Art by Jeffrey Hayes

Stir-fries are an easy meal. I didn’t always think so, back when my inexperience and disorganization made it seem like more bother than it was worth. I’m really glad I stuck with it. Now I am undaunted with the prospect of preparing a stir-fry dish. A bit of practice, some planning ahead, and remaining organized are key components to this stress-free, easy meal.

While I’ve made homemade teriyaki sauce and planned ahead to make long grain rice, this post is all about fast fast FAST! I’m sharing my tips and tricks on how to make an Asian-inspired meal as easily (and quickly) as possible.

Art by Nadene homeschooling mom & blogger practicalpages.wordpress.com

Art by Nadene
homeschooling mom & blogger
practicalpages.wordpress.com

Some items are flexible, but I always use fresh garlic and ginger. While we can use shortcuts for other parts of this meal, I’ve realized these two items must be fresh. Without them dishes never reach the same elevation of taste.

Stir-fries are a great way to get non-veggie fans (like my reluctant husband) really enjoying their veggies. Shortcuts are available: pre-sliced packs of stir-fry veg or frozen mixed vegetables. Along with the fresh garlic and ginger, I buy organic fresh carrots, broccoli, red bell peppers, mushrooms, and Chinese pea pods or sugar snap peas. We don’t use tomatoes but you could. A lot of people enjoy fresh bean sprouts. Select what you like.

These three jarred items are useful members of my stir-fry repertoire. For this stir-fry we need Teriyaki Sauce and Stir-Fry Sauce (I like Kikkoman) and if serving dumplings we need some fresh ginger in a small bowl of Rice Vinegar for dipping.

product kikkoman teriyaki2 product Kikkoman Stir Fry product rice vinegar2 TOYO_Website_FINALfrozen_dumplings sm

Frozen Dumplings cook up just like frozen perogies: drop from frozen into a big pot of boiling water and stir so they don’t stick; boil til they’ve floated a few minutes; drain and then fry in a bit of hot cooking oil until they crisp up on all sides. Slice some fresh ginger into a small dish of Rice Vinegar for dipping, and it’s almost as good as (or even better) than take-out. Yum! Sure it takes 2 more pans and a few more minutes than a basic stir-fry, but it’s a delicious addition to a special Chinese dinner at my home.

With our stir-fry we enjoy steam fried noodles (drop a half-bag into a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes and drain), instant white rice, or Uncle Ben’s über-convenient Long Grain & Wild Rice. True, it’s overpackaged and precooked but every now and then having this easy item in the pantry helps me fry it up to finish a meal quickly. This is about avoiding take-out by cooking at home without stress.

This is a great time to go all-veggie, add tofu (great recipe for baked tofu), or stretch a meat protein really far like we do in my house. One boneless sirloin steak, or one whole chicken breast, makes at least four large servings of this dinner. Gotta love that!

Slice the steak thinly across the grain, or cut the chicken breast into 1-inch cubes or strips. Into a bowl they go, tossed with about 3/4 cup of teriyaki sauce to marinate as we continue. Drain off marinade before cooking. *Always wash hands, cutting boards and your knife between steps.

GINA’S SUPER EASY STIR FRYYes, it takes a few minutes to prep the veggies but with a calm focus (and a good knife) it’s a pleasant task. I like putting the prepped veg in different bowls but piles on the cutting board works too. Heat a splash of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) to hot and quickly cook the meat, turning each piece to cook on all sides; takes 2-3 minutes. They’re small and the pan is hot so it doesn’t take long (cut a piece in half to check – we want no pink). Scoop them out to a plate to wait while we cook up the veggies. I love sautéed mushrooms so I do them in a separate fry pan and add to the stir-fry at the end along with the cooked meat.

Veggies get cooked for only about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, and then in with about a cup of the stir-fry sauce. Promptly stir in the cooked meat and sautéed mushrooms to heat through, turn off the heat, and plate it up over rice or noodles. For a garnish I like chopped peanuts, my grown sons like roasted sunflower seeds and a bit of Sambal (spicy chili paste), and hubby likes it just as is.

Ta Da! An easy Asian-inspired meal we make at my house – fast, fresh, and super easy. This keeps my joy factor way up. Have fun, stay peaceful, and enjoy this easy Asian-inspired meal at home.

Good Housekeeping on YouTube: just under a minute and a half on how to julienne.

Source 1 2 [my recipe is for printing or sharing if you desire; other images from Google.com]

4 responses to Super-easy Asian Dinner

  1. 

    You know, that baked tofu recipe really is awesome — even for those who don’t necessarily like tofu. I do mine slightly different, but the result is the same: crispy on the outside, full of flavor.

    We are big fans of stir frys because there are a lot of people in my family. With rice, noodles or (my favorite) steamed greens as the base, a hot stir fry of veggies topped with tofu is quick and satisfying. Never any complaints when it’s for dinner here!

    PS — I love your little recipe card! I’ve been putting all my favorite recipes on the tablet which is easier to read (and wipe down) in the kitchen. That is just the PERFECT size.

    • 

      Thank you so much for your delightful comment Shannon! Yes that tofu recipe does look amazing, and I’m going to do that for sure. I really appreciate how you – as a happy vegetarian – don’t shun me as ‘one of those’ *gasp* but of course you wouldn’t! You are an open hearted, kind and accepting person. Definitely MY kind of people!
      I am pleased that we around here are eating much less meat and I’m doing what I can to get my guys used to it. Recipes like this baked tofu really helps. One thing I find helps also is mushrooms! There’s something so ‘meaty’ about them. My guys haven’t noticed how I’ve been increasing the mushrooms and reducing/eliminating the meat in certain dishes: like spaghetti sauce for example. SO we’re moving in the right direction anyways.
      And I’m so glad you enjoyed my little recipe card (a first edition! 😀 )
      Big happy hugs to you my friend. xo Gina

  2. 

    Looks delicious! 🙂 A nice way to celebrate Chinese New Year too!

    • 

      Yes that’s it Karen. EXACTLY. How easy is a quick stir fry (and even some oranges for decor) to enjoy welcoming the Year of the Horse. Thanks so much for your visit my friend. hugs, Gina

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