Monday, 19 November 2012

Winter Vegetable Stir-fry

Apparently, men cook briefly during courtship, and women cook forever thereafter. *I* cook whenever I want something that isn't deeply and completely Bengalil, because for the d. and c.-ly B we have a cook, and no one else in Chez Rimi is remotely interested in anything else. Which is why I cook during sleepy afternoons and late evenings, when the rest of the household is safely away from the kitchen-zone and probably snoozing.

And then I have to chew the cud, figuratively speaking, till the bowls of my culinary production have been polished off.

In other words, there's an excellent reason this blog hasn't been updated since September; I can eat the same bloody thing for only so many bloody meals.

However, winter is such a wonderfully tempting time to wander into the kitchen, that I haven't been able to resist a bit of stirring and boiling lately. This is an astonishingly simple recipe that I resort to often. It needs vegetables, salt, a touch of sugar, and half a teaspoon of soya sauce. It's a miracle!

Here's the picturebook:

First, decide what vegetables you want, and chop them up. I have broccoli, baby corn, carrots, mushrooms and green beans.

Blanch the 'hard' vegetables -- carrots and corn for about seven minutes, broccoli for about a minute and a half.

Then drain them.

Now heat a little oil. Fry minced garlic really well. You may even add about 1cm of peeled and minced ginger, if you like that sort of flavour. When the garlic (and ginger) is fragrant, add the hard veggies -- carrots, beans, corn.

Toss them gently for about four minutes. Then add the sliced capsicum (bell pepper).

When the capsicum smells sweet and lightly friend, add the chopped mushrooms. Stir in. Now add half a teaspoon of salt, two pinches of sugar, and a quarter teaspoon soya sauce. Fold in very well.

Add three teacups of water.

Toss occasionally for about half a minute on high, then cover and simmer. Cook till the vegetables are tender. Taste the broth to see if you'd like more salt or a touch more sugar (or soya, or any other sauce -- but I'd say keep it simple).

This dish is about decisions. Once the vegetables are tender and you lift the lid off, you have to decide: do I eat this as an incredibly lovely soup with tender yet firm vegetables, or do I let the hot, delicious broth dry in the pot and turn this into a light stir-fry to go with boiled rice?

I leave that decision up to you. I ate it, yesterday, as a steaming bowl of nutritious, yummy soup, and today as stir-fried vegetables with rice :-)  I can tell you this, though: whichever way you eat, you'll love it. And it's SO easy. So get cracking, people. It'll take you fifteen minutes, but you'll remember the almost unbelievably light-yet-rich flavour for a long, long time :-)