stir fried ginger vegetables
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There are some simple combinations in the repertoire of oriental condiments and spices that can take your breath away – and I don’t just mean hot chilies. Anything that comes sweet and salty must have been made in heaven – again, it’s not about salted caramel. I’m a self-confessed MSG junkie and I cheer enthusiastically to hear how recent research deems it innocent of causing cancer, hot flushes and rickets.
There’s soy sauce and butter which I’ve discovered recently – make sure you use unsalted butter and who wouldn’t, unless spreading a pat on fresh bread? Add soy sauce to mushrooms sautéed in butter and you’re in heaven. Sweet chili sauce beats ketchup as the partner for mayo thus making the best sauce for fish and seafood. And any boring vegetables can be zinged with a little oyster sauce and sesame oil.
Broccoli, the king of boring veg, can be boringly steamed and then souped up with a little OS and SO (they even look good together as acronyms) over a flash of high heat. Carrots, cauliflower, anything, will taste immeasurably better when dunked in OS and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. And if your veg drawer is getting super empty, you can shred and stir fry whatever remains, hit it with OS/SO and enjoy a surprisingly good veg dish.
I like to stir fry veg as a side to not-necessarily-oriental mains like fish or steaks but this recipe works as a good veggie stir-fry too, to be served over plain rice or noodles. No MSG included though, whether you consider it a good or a bad thing.
- 1 medium courgette
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large red or yellow pepper, cored
- 100g (3-4 oz.) cup or chestnut mushrooms
- 2 heads of pak choi
- 2-3cm (1½ in) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 tbsp. pickled (sushi) ginger slices
- 2 tbsp. groundnut oil
- 3-4 dried bird’s eye chilies
- 2 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
Shred the courgette and carrot into thin matchsticks. Thinly slice the pepper and mushrooms, roughly chop the pak choi. Finely chop the fresh and the pickled ginger.
Heat a wok over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the oil and the dried chilies; watch for the spicy fumes as the chilies hit the wok. Stir fry for a minute, add the fresh and pickled ginger and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the vegetables except the pak choi and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes until they start to wilt. Add the oyster sauce and stir fry it in.
Drizzle with the sesame oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or as a side dish.