Way back in the early 1980s, when I was a new wife/cook, I wanted to learn how to make Asian food. Everybody back then was into “stir fry” and I wanted to learn.
When you’ve been raised by Italians, the idea of mastering Asian cooking can seem overwhelming.
But I bought myself all of the specialized equipment, like a big wok, a special slotted spoon, a bamboo steamer. I was scared. But I tried it.
Fast forward 40 years, and I have the best, easiest, most adaptable recipe for you!
I made this last night, and it was so delicious that there were no leftovers. That’s a huge thing in our house! Because, you know, Italian Momma’s make too much of everything every damn time.
Anyway, I made my stir fry with items we had in the fridge and cabinets. I used shrimp, and pea pods and peanuts and scallions and some aging mushrooms. I had some soba noodles, so we used them.
I cooked it all in a big sauce pan (the wok rusted out 30 years ago) and it worked out fine.
The thing about this style of cooking is that it’s all about the spices and oils. I learned a long time ago to always keep Extra Virgin Olive oil, Peanut Oil, Sesame oil, Vegetable oil and ghee in the kitchen. I also have jalapeno oil, chili oil and coconut oil. The more the better, future chefs; this is a key to good cooking!
I also keep soy sauce, hoisin sauce and fresh ginger around all the time.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. The idea here is that you can truly substitute every single key ingredient.
If you don’t like or have shrimp: Use beef, chicken, tofu, scallops, pork
If you don’t have these veggies: use green beans, carrots, peppers, corn, broccoli
If you don’t have peanuts: use sesame seeds, cashews, almonds or just skip it.
No Asian noodels? Use spaghetti, or fettucini, or rice.
Enjoy. The main idea is this: you need to have lots of sliced ingredients. No huge hunks of anything; just slice and dice before you start. And then you must have really hot oil. One hint that I always use: heat the oil, and then add some ginger/garlic/onion. If it immediately starts to simmer and kind of bubble around the edges, your temperature is good. If nothing happens, turn up the heat. But if it immediately starts to smoke, turn it down. Stir fry cooks quickly, so the idea is to do all of your preparations, and then start cooking about 15 minutes before you plan to eat.