Sunday, November 27, 2011

Homemade Stir Fry

One of my most favorite, easy meals to make is stir fry. All you really need to make it is rice, veggies, and some time. One of the best things about a stir fry is how versatile it can be. You can include whatever vegetables you want in your stir fry. These are the ingredients that I included in mine:
Long grain rice. (I prefer long grain, but you can use whatever kind of rice you want.)

Water chestnuts, which taste really good with soy sauce.

Red and green bell peppers.

Butternut squash.

Mixed vegetables. (Carrots, broccli, peas.)
Other ingredients that I included: chicken, cashews, and onions.

The prepwork for this dish is to wash off all of your vegetables and prepare them by cutting them. If you have all of your veggies cut to begin with, making this meal goes by a lot smoother.
Make sure to cut up your onions because they will be the first thing to cook.
As you cut your vegetables start boiling the correct amount of water for the rice you will need...
and oil the pan that you will be using for your vegetables and/or meat. I have a wok, which is perfect for making stir fry, as it evenly distributes heat. However, you don't necessarily need a wok to make stir fry. Have your stove on a medium-high to high range. Once the oil in your pan heats up, add the chopped onions. Keep moving the onions around with a spatula so that they don't burn. Once the onions are translucent you can add the bell peppers.

Cooking these ingredients first will give the rest of the stir fry more flavor.
By now the water for you rice should have come to a boil, after which you can add the correct rice ratio.
As your vegetables and rice cook, you can start cutting your chicken (if you choose to include it in your stir fry). The first thing you should do is cut off the excess fat. I cut off all of the white in the picture above. Once you remove the fat, you can start cutting the chicken in pieces to be cooked.
If you look at a chicken breast closely, you will notice that grains, or lines, run across the meat diagonally. If you try to cut across these lines you will have a hard time. My dad taught me how much easier it is to cut chicken in the direction of these lines. Trust me, it's a million times easier to do it that way. (:

Don't forget to occasionally stir your vegetables as you do other things or they will burn!

Once you've cut your chicken into smaller pieces, you can add it to your vegetables. You will be cooking the chicken hot enough that it will cook all the way through, but when you are done make sure that there are no pink edges on any of the pieces of chicken before you serve it.

After the chicken is mostly cooked, you can add the rest of your veggies. Instead of stirring these veggies in with the rest, splash some water on them and then place a lid on the pan. This will steam the vegetables on top and make the cooking process go much faster.

By this time your rice should be done. Don't forget to take it off the heat and fluff it, or the bottom layer of rice will burn and stick to the pot.
During this time you should clean up any mess you have made; wash cutting boards, wipe off counter tops, etc.

After about 5 to 8 minutes of the vegetables and meat cooking you can add cashews (or other nuts), if you choose to do so.

The last step of this cooking process is to add the soy sauce. Many people make the mistake of adding soy sauce (or other flavors) to their dishes throughout the cooking process. However, the soy sauce will just cook off if you add it to the dish at any other time. The best way not to waste your seasonings is to add them just before your meal is done cooking.

This is approximately what your stir fry should look like when it's done cooking. Looks delicious, right?
All you need to do now is serve your meal and enjoy it. (And remember to wash your dishes when you're done.)

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