vegan stir fry, asian-style

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Today’s lunch was one of those happy, unplanned meals. I was fully prepared to make a salad with beans or wheat berries or something along those lines this afternoon. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home to pick up a few staples for my VB6 pantry (see my previous post). I wanted to grab a few mushrooms in the produce section and discovered that they had fresh shiitake today. I have been looking for dried ones for a while because I’m out, and I have a few Japanese dishes I want to make that call for shiitake. I was quite happy to find the fresh ones since Asian produce is pretty sparse in this area. I also picked up some bean sprouts and tofu. 

Fast forward to putting away my groceries. As I was putting things in the fridge, I realized I had all the components to make a great Asian stir fry, that would be fast, tasty, and vegan. As is usually the case, I didn’t measure anything, but you’ll be okay. Chop up a couple of green onions, and a few leaves of cabbage. Clean and slice about 6 shiitake–if you can’t find any in your store, any mushroom will be fine. (If you’re using dried shiitake, you have to soak them well in advance, several hours at least, or overnight). Wash and dry one package of fresh bean sprouts–I despise the canned version. If you like them, go ahead, but I find them salty and a bit sour. (You can sprout your own if you plan ahead–I did it a few years ago and will probably do it again this summer. My grocery store carries mung beans in the organic section, and health food stores carry them as well). Cut about one cup of tofu into 1/2 inch cubes. I prefer the extra-firm tofu–I like the texture, and it’s the most similar to what we used to buy in Japan. Peel and slice thinly a small chunk of fresh ginger.

Heat up a bit of oil in a wok or frying pan. Toss in the green onions, ginger, cabbage, and mushrooms. Stir fry for about 4-5 minutes. Add the tofu and bean sprouts. Add equal parts soy sauce and mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), I probably used about a tablespoon of each. I added salt, pepper, and a few drops of Asian chili oil as well. Continue to stir fry a few more minutes, adjusting the flavor as needed. Discard the ginger slices and serve. Makes 2 small servings or 1 large one.

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