Many varieties of frozen stir fry vegetables are available: Japanese, Teriyaki, Lo Mein (with noodles), Singapore, Oriental, and Szechuan. Last night I fixed chicken stir fry with broccoli, sugar snap peas, green beans, carrots, celery, water chestnuts, onions and red peppers. When you use frozen stir fry vegetables you have to be careful not to overcook them.
The pan should be heated until it is almost smoking and you cook the vegetables for five to seven minutes. No more, or you will have a gloppy mess. The vegetables will taste boiled, rather than stir fried.
Stir frying is a quick and healthy technique, detailed in the article, “What is Stir Fry?” Posted on the Wise Geek website, the article says you need to think smaller when you think stir fry. The ingredients should be cut into small, uniform pieces to ensure uniform cooking. “Thumb-size for the chunks is a good way to remember the ideal size,” the article notes.
The Family Wok website has posted “Basic Stir-Fry Instruction” and photos on its website. The wok or frying pan (I use a cast iron skillet) needs to be heated until it is smoking hot. Ingredients that take the most time to cook are added first. If liquid forms on the bottom of the pan, it is not hot enough or you have too much in the pan. Vegetables should be cooked until they are “crisp tender.”
As with all stir fry, you need to complete your prep work before you start cooking. Though I used Top Ramen noodles, I did not use the seasoning packet to cut down on salt. Thickening with corn starch can be a bit tricky, so watch the pan carefully. Your goal is a slightly thickened stir fry, not vegetable pudding. Short on time? Try Stir Fried Chicken and Vegetables tonight.
1 scallion, white and green parts, diced
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
2 tablespoons minced ginger (fresh or from a jar)
2 cloves garlic, minced (fresh or from a jar)
1 1/2 cups cubed chicken breast
1-pound bag frozen stir fry vegetables
2 cups lower salt chicken stock
2 tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar-free apricot jam
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-ounce package Top Ramen noodles, chicken flavor
2-3 tablespoons corn starch
Dice scallion and set aside. Cut chicken into 3/4″ cubes. Rinse Ramen noodles under running water and set aside. Pour oil into wok or skillet and heat until almost smoking. Add ginger and garlic. Fry for a few seconds and add chicken. Cook chicken until it starts to brown, remove and set aside. Pour a little more oil into the pan. Add frozen vegetables and stir fry for about two minutes. Return chicken to pan and add chicken stock, soy sauce, jam, and red pepper flakes. Add Ramen noodles and break them up. Cover pan and cook for another minute. Thin corn starch with cold water, add to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Plate stir fry, garnish with scallions, and serve with white or brown rice.
Copyright 2010 by Harriet Hodgson