Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mr. Hawthorne Makes Dinner Tonight - Shrimp Stir Fry.

I let Mr. Hawthorne take over dinner duties tonight. And he's stir frying. You don't need a big fancy wok. A skillet will do just fine. You don't need a recipe. What you do need is a searing hot pan with hot oil so the food cooks quickly. And you need to stir it. After all, this is a stir fry. All you need to do is jump in and do it. Preparation is key.
Column A Veggies:
garlic onion pepper carrot celery broccoli snow pea canned baby corn peas water chestnuts bamboo shoots mushrooms
Column B Meats: chicken beef pork shrimp antelope guinea pig wart hog ostrich sloth wombat monkey
Really, as Sandy says, you can use anything you have. Anything at all.
Pick whatever vegetables you want from Column A and cut them uniformly so they cook for the same amount of time. Undercook the veggies. Pick a meat from Column B. Slice or dice into uniform pieces. Add it to wok or skillet. Cook until just done. Add in a sauce. Or not. You could use a prepared chili garlic sauce like Mr. Hawthorne did, although he doctored his. Or you could use a beef or chicken broth. To thicken it up so the sauce coats the food, make a cornstarch slurry - 2 TB cold water or broth with 2 TB cornstarch. Mix well and add to hot pan, stirring. Add in the rest of the broth until you have the consistency you like. And ... wallah! (As Sandy would say.)
From fridge to table in less than 20 minutes, courtesy of Mr. Hawthorne. Prep time is usually longer than the cook time.
Yay! One bag of shrimp freed from the freezer. (And the defrost time was not included in the above 20 minutes.)
Mr. Hawthorne's veggies are ready - snow peas, chopped celery, carrot, and red pepper.
Vegetables went into about a tablespoon of hot oil for a quick stir fry - about 2 minutes.
Mr. Hawthorne stirred the entire time.
He poured in a little water here to let the steam do its thing.
Shrimp went in for a quick toss.
Maybe 2-3 more minutes. Don't overcook the shrimp. (They get rubbery.) You want them just curled and pink. Then Mr. Hawthorne added his special sauce. He took a jar of Maggi Taste of Asia Chili Garlic Sauce and doctored it up a bit. We've been going through quite a few bottles of Chili Garlic Sauce, some considerably better than others. The one we really liked, he got at an Asian market in Virginia Beach. Can't remember the name of it but will know it when I see it. I bitched about it because it was a HUGE bottle and didn't fit in the fridge properly. But back to Taste of Asia Chili Garlic Sauce - he added in a bit of light corn syrup, ground ginger, red pepper flakes, and salt and that did the trick.
Please get in your kitchen and stir fry. I hear a lot of people are intimidated by stir frying, but don't be. It's quick and easy and versatile. Just pick some from Coyum A and one from Coyum B. And let me know how it turns out.

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