Thirty Minute Dinner: Stir Fry

This post is part of my 30 Minute Meal Series. The 30 Minute Meal Series is comprised of recipes that either take 30 minutes or less of hands-on time. I started this series because I believe that good food doesn’t have to take forever, but what should be forever is the impact that sharing this food with others and your body has on your life.

30 Minute Stir Fry

This meal was born out of boredom: I was tired of the food I was eating. I wanted veggies, but I didn’t want them raw. I pretty much always want rice. I needed something warm because it was week 4,098,204,495 of snow in the tundra I live in. So, I decided that I could probably make stir fry even though I had no idea how to do it.

I understood the basics enough – I know veggies have to cook longer than rice does. And I know you add soy sauce. Everything else in this meal is flexible, and based almost entirely out of what’s in my house already – feel free to make the changes you need to make!

img_4689First, I set some rice to boil. This whole meal only takes five minutes more than it takes to make rice. Caveat: I keep chopped onion and carrots in my fridge all the time and have a garlic press. If you don’t do/have those things (a) I recommend them and (b) you have to also account for chopping garlic and onions in your process.
If you want to do what I actually did next the first time I made this for this post, you should then dump out the rice because your boyfriend decided to take you to a steakhouse instead. Then, start over again the next day. #eyeroll #itwasworthit

If you need to chop onions, carrots and/or garlic, you should do that now. I use about a quarter of an onion, one and a half large carrots (five-ish baby carrots) and five cloves of garlic but everyone’s pallet and tummy is different – just do what’s right for you!

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Then, put some oil in the biggest pan you have and heat it up on medium. So far as I can tell, it doesn’t actually matter what oil you use (it’ll change the flavor some, but get creative!). After a few seconds, add the chopped onion and give it a little stir.

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While the onions are cooking, chop your protein into cubes or strips. It doesn’t matter which one. Just try to remember the last stir fry you ate and which it had and copy that.

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Add the garlic and the carrots. If you don’t have carrots, don’t sweat it! We’re gonna add some frozen mixed vegetables soon, which also usually have carrots. Stir them around a little – maybe about 2-3 minutes. You just want to soften the carrots a little.

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But first! Add your protein. You can see I kind of pushed the veggies to one side. I like to be sure that the meat got cooked on all sides before continuing and it’s just easier this way. You don’t have to do that – you’ll be cooking meat for nearly 25 minutes so it’s very unlikely that it won’t be cooked through. Once it’s cooked on all sides (if you’re using tofu or another plant-based protein don’t worry about it), move on to the next step!

This time, I happened to have sugar snap peas and water chestnuts (D asked that we try them next time we made stir fry) in my house so I added those. Stir them around for about 1-2 minutes or as long as it takes you to get frozen mixed veggies out of your freezer and some kind of nut out of your pantry.

I use about half a small bag of mixed veggies because I have the carrots and water chestnuts. If you don’t, or you just really like veggies, add more! Just about anything goes with this stir fry. I also usually add either a very small amount of ghost pepper or Hot Shot at this point. We like spice in this house, but you definitely don’t have to do that.
This time, I used sunflower seeds because I had them. I’ve used cashews, pecans and almonds before. I don’t recommend the pecans. They were a little too pecan-y and threw the texture off, but you do you!
Check on your rice – how’s it looking? Can you hear it bubbling still? You want the rice to be a little wet still, so that you don’t dry it out too much when you cook it. Turn it off before it’s all the way done.

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Add your rice! Just dump the whole thing on your veggies and give it a good stir! Then, add some soy sauce. I add about three long shakes of the bottle – it’s probably about a quarter cup. Depending on how much salt you like/eat, do more or less.

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This part gets tricky. I move all the veggies to one side like I did for the meat and add some eggs. This makes a lot of stir fry and I usually take it for lunch for a few days, so I add four eggs. I actually push the pan so that the eggs are the main thing getting the heat, then add salt and pepper.

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I just scramble them like you would if you were making scrambled eggs. It’s totally okay if some of the veggies or rice get in with the eggs – it’s all going to mix together eventually anyway. But I try to keep the eggs separate for a while, so I know they’re getting cooked all the way.

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Then stir it all in! I don’t scramble the eggs all the way. I actually just get them close, so they’re still a little runny. I keep stirring for about three more minutes so the eggs have time to cook and then, voila!

stir fry

Stir Fry!

Here’s the quick and dirty version:

Tools You Need
Small pot for rice
Giant Pan
Spatula/Big Spoon

Food You Need
Onion – about 1/3
Garlic – however much you like, I use 4-5 cloves
Oil – any kind
Protein
Frozen Veggies (or not frozen; whatever you like)
Rice – 1 cup uncooked (you’ll need to cook it)
Soy Sauce – about a quarter cup
Seed/Nut – if you want
Spice – any kind of heat you like

Steps:
1. Start cooking rice. Chop onions and garlic.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add onion and hard veggies (ex. carrots). Stir frequently. Chop protein into strips or cubes.
3. Add protein. Stir frequently.
4.  Once protein is cooked, add frozen (or not frozen) veggies. Stir frequently. Add heat, if you want it.
5. When rice is most of the way done, add rice to pan. Stir.
6. After a few minutes, push mixture to one side. Add four eggs. Scramble
7. Mix it all together.
8. Eat!

What’s in your favorite stir fry? Have you ever made it before? How did this recipe work out for you?

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