Archive | 12:18 pm

An Ode to Stir Fry

2 Apr

For many, many years I labeled myself as someone who really had no idea how to cook.  I have probably mentioned this before, but I once hermetically sealed a pot in college while trying to make a rice-a-roni.  I just didn’t know any better and found cooking incredibly intimidating.  I was quite adept at baking, but cooking just seemed like a world away. Plus, there was open fire to contend with!

At some point during college, someone showed me how to make a stir fry.  I remember tentatively sitting in my kitchen the next day, surrounded by (poory) cut veggies and some cut up strips of chicken wondering if I could possibly make anything edible out of these FRESH things… without a recipe and without ::gasp:: measuring!  I cooked up the rice (I was finally an expert at rice by then) and then put some oil in the pan, threw in the chicken until it browned, threw in some veggies, threw in some soy sauce and garlic powder and watched in fear.

It seemed to be right, but how did I know if the chicken was done enough?  I remember calling out to my roommate, Kim (who was a very good cook), and asking how to know if the chicken was done. She mentioned something about cutting it open and seeing if it was pink.  I had pieces of chicken that were maybe 1 inch cubes, so I wasn’t quite sure how to cut into this thing… but it looked white inside so I took a deep breath and decided it was time to see how badly I could poison myself.

I was so surprised when it wasn’t just cooked, it was GOOD!  I think I stir fried everything for the next few weeks.  I tried every veggie and every meat.  I experimented with sauces (note: teriyaki sauce, good… BBQ sauce, bad) and found out that you could do some pretty crazy things in one pan.  I think I would call this my turning point.  Or at least a step in the right direction. I could cook stir fry! It was a small, but remarkable accomplishment.  I hadn’t set anything on fire, I hadn’t poisoned myself, and I hadn’t necessitated the strength of two men to pull apart a pot (mind you… it was the only pot we owned in college).

I have a warm spot for stir fry in my heart since then, and when Mike suggested he cook it for me a few weeks ago, I was quite excited by the idea. 

He used some good Basmati Rice.

Then put together some chicken, broccoli, carrots, onions, mushrooms, garlic, and what I think was soy sauce and a bit of ginger. 

It was so good!

One of my favorite things about stir fry is that you can pretty much clean out your fridge with it. I’ve even made stir fry with pieces of deli meat that were nearing their expiration.