Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chinese "Vegetable Medley"...or Stir Fry

So let me explain the name of this recipe.
About a year ago my middle wee one absolutely refused to eat the stir fry I had made.  She wouldn't touch it and I have no idea why.  I made it again a few weeks later and she ended up making herself a peanut butter sandwich.  Whatever.
I got the brilliant idea to make the stir fry again and rename it a Vegetable Medley, because after all, messing with my children is one of the perks of motherhood.  I filled my husband in on the ruse and watched as she ate every damn morsel on her plate.  Not even a grain of rice was left.  This was made in our house probably every other week and I always had to remember to call it by it's new name...that was getting old.  After about 3-4 meals of the Medley under our belt and there we were sitting at the table happily eating it again and I ask "So?  How's dinner?".  Everyone replies with "Delicious!  So Good!  Mom you rock!".  So I lean over and put my arm around the middle one and say "You know, it's really a stir fry.".  The look of horror on her face that I pulled one over on her (again) was priceless.

Here's what you need:
  • 1 package Tofu (cubed)
  • 2 cups Brussels Sprouts (sliced length wise in thirds, or fourths, depending on the size)
  • 2 Peppers (green and red were what I had)
  • 1 1/2 cup Cremini Mushrooms
  • 1 bag Baby Spinach (6 oz)
  • 3 Tblsp. Grated Ginger
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 3-4 Green Onions
  • Juice of 1 Lime (2-3 Tblsp.)
  • 1 Tblsp. Soy
  • 1/4-1/2 Teasp. Red Chili Flakes
  • 1/3 cup Cashews or Peanuts
  • Wok or large saute pan
  • Brown Jasmine rice
  • Sesame seeds
  • Butter
For the Marinade:
  • 3 Tblsp Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tblsp. Soy (I use reduced Sodium)
  • 1 Teasp. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tblsp. Maple Syrup (You don't want the fake stuff here)
  • 1 Tblsp. Sesame Oil
I use brown jasmine rice whenever a recipe calls for rice.  It's lovely, I promise.  It takes 35-40 minutes to make so I start it first.  In the pan I am using for the rice I melt 3 tablespoons of butter and toss in 2 1/2 tablespoons of sesame seeds.

When the sesame seeds are golden I remove it all from the pan and then add the water and rice...I use a 4 to 2 ratio...4 cups water to 2 cups rice.  When it is finished add the butter and seeds for an amazing rice dish.  You can add parsley and Thai basil for a stand alone rice side if you choose.  Yum!
While the rice is cooking please use this time wisely and chop the hell out of the rest.

Tofu comes in a block...like this bad boy.

Cube it like this.

In a medium sized bowl combine all of the ingredients for the marinade and add the tofu.  

I usually let it marinate for about 20 minutes but you can let it sit for up to an hour.  
While that's soaking up all the loveliness that is the marinade get yourself a sharp knife and get to chopping...by the time you're done getting everything together you are ready to go!  

This is going to be quick too...which is why we eat it so often!  
Heat up the old wok and add a teaspoon of Canola oil.  Sometimes all I have is Olive Oil, don't be so picky here.
I suppose it doesn't matter what order you do things at this point but I start with the Brussels and get them nice and caramelized. 
Have a clean bowl large enough to hold everything once it's done since you will be working in stages for a few minutes.   
Add the peppers and cook them gently...don't overcook them.  Leave them with some crunch.

When they are done just plop them in with the Sprouts.

Then on to the mushrooms...
Add these lovelies to the Brussels and peppers.

Use a slotted spoon to get the tofu from the bowl to the wok but save the marinade!  I like a nice golden color to my tofu personally, which takes about 10 minutes.  

At this point add in the garlic, ginger and half the green onions, let it cook for a minute or so.  

Once it's done to your liking add in the marinade and the vegetables.  Then add the spinach.  Heavenly.

Cook the spinach until wilted, 1-2 minutes TOPS!  Then plate it up with the rice and remainder of the green onions and the nuts.

The middle one had a good laugh about all the name craziness (as did we all!) and forgave me but we still call it a Medley...and laugh all over again.  
Bon Appetit...it's time to eat!


  1. Ever try adding oyster sauce?

    1. It would be such a great addition...though I would have to add it without telling the middle one of any changes to her precious "Medley"! :-)