Hello BBB readers! My name is Dana, and I blog as Organic Eater. I have been a member of Bell’s Best CSA for four years, and have loved (almost) every minute of it. That first year was a huge learning curve! Before I joined, I didn’t even know what kohlrabi or bok choy was, much less what to do with it. I have made a lot of changes in the last four years, with cooking being the biggest change of all. I tell you that to let you know, I’m no chef, so if I can learn to make stir-fry, anyone can! It’s easy, but takes practice to figure out what YOU like in there. I don’t follow “recipes” (unless I’m baking), because I like the freedom to use whatever I have in season from BBB, so this will be more of a “guide line” than a “recipe”.
The first thing you will need is a big wok or frying pan. I recommend you throw out that Teflon, and cook with stainless steel instead. This beauty below was only $35 at Target!
Ingredients needed for this:
- Sesame Oil, (the light colored sesame oil, for high heat cooking). Other oils like olive oil could work, but refined will have less flavor and (in my opinion) taste better for cooking a stir-fry dish. Whatever oil you choose, you want it to have subtle flavor and high smoke point. (I would not recommend corn oil, as it is highly processed and almost always GMO).
- Sesame oil, toasted (the brown sesame oil). This is KEY! You will want to add this at the end, just for the flavor. I have no substitution for this, and have found it really is a major key to making great stir-fry!
- Meats and veggies: this is where we can “clean out the fridge” and use up almost any veggies. Best meats would be chopped chicken breasts, steak, pork, or shrimp. Best veggies: broccoli, mild greens like bok choy or pak choi (basically same green, different spelling), mushrooms, onions, carrots, green peas, zucchini, and mung bean sprouts if you have them.
- Aromatics, Flavors and Extras: Ginger, scallions or onion (any kind will work, but scallions/green onions are especially great), garlic (real or powder), cilantro, soy sauce or coconut aminos (my preference, but only found in health food grocery stores), Chinese 5 Spice (found in the spice aisle), cashews and/or sesame seeds on top after cooking takes it to another level of yum!
- Rice (or Cauliflower Rice if you’re strictly grain free)
You are going to need to “get over” any fear of fat/oil used in this, and just use as much as you think you need, and with practice, you will figure it out. It will always vary according to how much meat and veg you have in the pan. Besides, the fat scare of the 80s was overrated, and we now know we all need some fat in our diet. And while you’re at it, get over that “brown rice is better for you” thing too. There is a lot of scientific debate as to whether or not more fiber from brown rice is the best benefit for everyone’s gut, so I say choose what tastes better to you and don’t eat so much of it. And here’s an extra bonus: if you cook your white rice, then cool it (fridge), then reheat it for this meal, you are increasing the resistant starch in the rice and it’s healthier! It’s fascinating new information! Load up on more veggies than anything else, especially the green ones, and you’re all good!
Cooking Instruction (there is no exact recipe, it just takes practice)
- depending on what cooking method you’re using for your rice or cauli-rice, you may want to start that before you start your stir-fry. Rice is optional though, this is great without it!
- start with getting your pan hot (med-high works for my stove/pan), then your sesame oil hot, then add your “aromatics” of ginger, scallions or green onion, and garlic. You can add Chinese 5 Spice here too. Next you add your meat or veggie that will take longest to cook (like broccoli). This is where practice is important, because it takes time to learn what veggies take longer to cook than others. Greens (and cilantro) can be added at the end since they always cook quickly. As you’re cooking (constantly stirring) these meats and veggies, you may need to add more oil and aromatics, as you’re testing the taste during cooking.
- When everything has cooked to your liking, add a splash of toasted sesame oil at the end, while stirring, just before serving.
- add cashews or sesame seeds for crunch, and soy sauce or coconut aminos for more flavor, and salt of course, if needed.
RECAP/short version: For the dish pictured above, after the oil and aromatics got hot, I started with chopped onions, chicken and broccoli and mushrooms (I like my mushrooms well done), then added chopped zucchini and pak choy, and cilantro (I highly recommend cilantro!). I finished it off with black sesame seeds, the toasted sesame oil, and topped it cashews and coconut aminos. I definitely cleaned out the fridge with this one!
I hope you’ll try this, and then try it a different way next time. Experiment! That is the ONLY way you will learn how to cook. We all have to go through a learning curve to get comfortable in the kitchen, especially if you’re new to veggies/CSA life. Even after four years, I am still learning new tricks all the time! Got any tricks for us on stir-fry? Share them with the rest of us. And if you try some version of this, let us know in the comments. I post most often on Instagram, which goes to Facebook and Twitter as well. I am also on Pinterest and Periscope. I have LOTS more recipes, ideas, and encouragement for you to eat real food there. Many of my posts include our beautiful veggies from Jay and Robin! I hope to meet many of you at the next Farm to Fork Dinner or cooking class Robin has for us! We are extremely blessed to be a part of this very special CSA, and I am extremely grateful for all the hard work Robin and Jay put into making this the best CSA in Charlotte!
Eat more veggies,
Dana, Organic Eater