Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sweet Onion and Mixed Vegetable Stir-fry

Tonight's original plan was cereal for dinner. But as I was driving home, I remembered some vegetables I had in the fridge that were almost past their window of peak freshness, and I decided to seize the day. You can make this really with any vegetables you have, and even add some meat, but I absolutely loved this combination of my classic favs. Let me know what combination works for you!


1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
3-4 stalks diced celery (for crunch!)
1 carton of  mushrooms, sliced or whole
1 bunch spinach, stems removed
1 T rice wine vinegar (a splash or two)
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame dressing
2 T honey


Heat up a wok or big skillet on medium to medium high heat as you chop your vegetables. Add a drizzle of oil to the bottom of the pan when you're almost finished chopping. The pan should be nice and hot.

Add the onions, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and stir to coat in the oil. I thinly sliced my onions instead of diced them because I wanted their caramelized sweetness to be a major star in this dish. When the onions are glossy and translucent, add the minced garlic and stir.

Stir in the vegetables, except for the spinach, adding a few sprinkles of salt and pepper. If the skillet looks dry, splash with a little rice wine vinegar. You can also use chicken stock, dry white wine, or anything that will keep it moist and give it flavor. Just remember: less is more. You want to give your veggies a little drink, not drown them. Add the spinach and coat it with the pan liquids so it will begin to wilt.

Let it cook, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the sauce in a small bowl so you can get the taste just right. I started with equal parts soy sauce and sesame dressing and drizzled in the honey to taste. I ended up adding a little more sesame dressing because I wanted my stir fry to be more savory and I knew my onions would release their natural sugars. But if you want it to be sweeter, honey is your main man!

Once you've perfected the sauce, add it in increments. Once again, less is more. You want there to be just enough extra liquid to drizzle over your rice, but if it starts to look like soup, you've added too much. Stir it around until the vegetables absorb the sauce a little, taste test to see if you need to adjust your seasonings, and serve with brown rice, sesame noodles, Ramen, or whatever strikes your fancy.

Other ideas: try it with bell peppers, snap peas, or pineapple. Sprinkle some crunchy Asian noodles on top for texture. Add some red pepper flakes for a little heat. Add cornstarch or flour to your sauce if you want it to be thick.


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