When I prepare rice, spaghetti or chapati, I struggle with balancing the plate; carbs, vitamins and proteins. The way I have been raised, rice goes well with green grams or beans or meat. I learnt about lentils in campus, and other grains that are super scrumptious that go well with these 3 common carbs. It is usually difficult to put a vitamin on the same plate, so what most of us do is add a fruit and call it a plate!
I was most of us, until I discovered how easy to prepare and source ingredients and how beautiful on the plate, stir fried veggies are! These veggies are so tatsy, I made them for my dad once, and he wanted to have them for breakfast the next day! They are yummy and super, super nutritious. That balance is hard to strike with anything else really. Want to try? Here goes:
1 small cauliflower
1 small broccoli
1 cup zucchini (large dices or strips)
1 cup carrots (large dices or strips)
1 large onion (large dices)
1 cup near ripe Tomatoes (hollowed-remove the seeds and pulp, large dices or strips)
1 cup eggplant (large dices or strips)
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Note: you can use cucumbers, rough chopped cabbage, bell peppers, lettuce…just basically whatever veggies you want to throw in there. Actually, if you have different kinds of veggies in your house but none is enough to make a dish on its own, just put them together in this one stir fry; it will be like a ratatouille gumbo!
Garlic and ginger paste are made from grinding the garlic or ginger in a mortar or running the peeled spices through the small-holed side of a grater
Prepping the Vegetables
Broccoli and Cauliflower
Cut the stem off close to the head so that the florets will fall away. The lower part of the stem is usually tough and fibrous and can be discarded. Cut the more tender part of the stem into slices or wedges for cooking as this portion is full of flavor and nutritional value.
Do the same for the cauliflower except for including the stem.
The Stir Fry
- In a large pan put your oil and add the garlic and ginger pastes and cook over low heat until they are aromatic or continue until they are golden brown (I find that they can become bitter, so I usually just leave it at aromatic). You want to use a large pan so that the veggies do not become soggy as they cook. Crunch is very important here.
- Add the soy sauce, onions and bell carrots (which will take a while to cook and stir moderately. Add the cauliflower and broccoli which take the next longest time after carrots and leave to cook together until they attain the desired crunch. Add your zucchini and eggplant next (and bell peppers if using them) add in the tomatoes last.
- Serve hot.
Note: The onions should not become translucent. This is a sign that they have overcooked for this dish. One of the ways to make sure this doesn’t happen, apart from not cooking them until it happens, is cutting them in huge chunks.
The dish should be prepared at the closest time to service since the longer it stays, the more it keeps cooking and will look horrible if it is over cooked and not enjoyable if served cold. If you reheat it, you risk over cooking it.
You can add sugar to the recipe, or honey. This just gives it a very authentic Chinese taste.
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