Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rosie Makes Stir Fried Shrimp.

It's been a while since I've stir fried anything, and I've missed my crisp tender vegetables, my seared meats, my rice, my made-up sauces.
What's wokking today is shrimp with bok choy, onion, peppers, mushrooms, carrot, celery, and garlic with a slightly spicy sauce gently wrapping everything together.
Oh, stir fry. How I've missed you! Welcome back to Mama.
My mise en place (or menage a trois to Mr. Hawthorne): bok choy carrot celery onion mushrooms small sweet peppers garlic
I got carried away with the bok choy.
Loved the color and the pattern.
One of the key points in stir frying is preparation. Have all your vegetables minced, diced, chopped, and/or sliced and ready to go. No bigger than bite-sized pieces. There's a reason Chinese restaurants don't offer knives in their table settings. You shouldn't need to cut anything. It should all be bite-sized.
You want your vegetables cut evenly so they cook at the same time.
Shrimp is peeled and deveined.
I started on my rice first - a basmati. Basmati is a variety of long grain rice grown in Pakistan and India and noted for its delicate flavor and fragrance. In Sanskrit, its name means "the fragrant one;" in Arabic, "my smile." India is the largest cultivator and exporter of basmati rice, followed by Pakistan. It is primarily grown through paddy field farming in the Punjab region. Rinse ...
... then pour into boiling, salted water. Reduce heat, cover, and barely simmer until tender.
While my rice was barely simmering, I started on a sauce for my stir fry. I want a sauce to lightly coat my food and bring flavors together that accentuate the food, but not overpower it. My sauce ingredients: 2 TB cornstarch 1 ounce cold water (1/8 cup) 2 TB sugar 2 TB rice vinegar 1 TB Tamari 2 TB soy sauce 1 heaping tsp Lea & Perrins (I used the new thick sauce.) 1/4 cup sriracha sauce Pour cold water over cornstarch and mix until dissolved. Add rest of ingredients, whisking to combine. You may want to start out with a smaller amount of the sriracha and taste test to a level of heat you're comfortable with.
2 TB cornstarch
Add in cold water and stir to dissolve.
Stir in sugar and dissolve.
Rice vinegar in.
Tamari sauce.
Soy sauce.
Thick Lea & Perrins worcestershire sauce.
I would suggest taste-testing when adding the sriracha sauce. Try a quarter cup first, taste, and add more if desired. You want to be comfortable with the heat - not let it detract from the meal.
My rice is cooking, I've made the sauce, and my vegetables are sliced, diced, chopped, and minced and are ready for their little dance in the wok. With stir frying, you want your vegetables to all end up properly cooked at the same time, so some thought must go into the order in which you cook your veggies.
Start time: 1:14 I gave my pan a good swirl of peanut oil. Peanut oil is my favorite oil for wokking because of its high smoke point. You want a very hot wok to quickly cook your food. That's the point of stir frying. And peanut oil allows you to heat the wok over high heat without the oil burning - essential for stir frying. I'm starting first with the shrooms because I like well-seared shrooms.
Time: 1:15 Next I added a few pinches of the garlic.
Time: 1:16 I'm adding in the bok choy stalks first.
The technique is to quickly fry the ingredients in a large pan over high heat. All the while you're constantly stirring to preserve the flavor, color, and texture of the food and keep your vegetables crisp.
Time: 1:17
Carrots.
Time: 1:18
Celery.
Time: 1:18 Onions in.
Time: 1:18 Tender bok choy leaves in.
Time: 1:18 Peppers in.
Time: 1:19 Done. Transfer to bowl and partially cover.
Give a swirl of peanut oil.
Time: 1:21 Shrimp in.
The thing about shrimp is that most people overcook it.
Shrimp starts off gray and turns pink as it cooks.
You want to keep the shrimp moving so as to evenly cook it.
Time: 1:22 Add rest of garlic in. I add the garlic at the end because I don't want it to burn. Burned garlic is very bitter and will ruin a dish. If you notice the shrimp, they're still slightly undercooked now.
Pour in the sauce down the side of the hot wok, not in the middle of the ingredients. The heat from the side of the pan will help thicken the sauce quicker.
Time: 1:23 Add in veggies.
Time: 1:23 Stir to coat and cut off heat.
I mounded a scoop of the basmati on the plate and drizzled a little soy sauce over it then added the shrimp and vegetables. Six minutes to cook the veggies. Two minutes for the shrimp.
Shrimp is so very tender, sweet, and succulent when properly cooked. Stir fry dishes are always pretty to look at. The colors of the vegetables stay bright and fresh. The texture is crisp/tender. The sauce was a complementary addition to the shrimp and veggies. Not over-powering, but a nice flavor companion.
Enjoy!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rosie,

Good job disclosing that Sriacha is hot & not everyone should use a 1/4 cup. We gave a bottle to my dad after he had some at our house & loved it...and proceeded to use it like ketchup on a hot dog. He almost went into cardiac arrest!

xo Ange in WI

Sage Trifle said...

Your stir fry sounds delicious and looks gorgeous. How did you cut the carrot to get that shape?

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Sage, I have a special crinkly cutter that I found in a gourmet kitchen store here. If you can't find one where you are, I'd be happy to send you one.
Just let me know.