Cathy's Kitchen Prescription
Stir-fry with French Beans, Mini Bell Peppers, and Carrot
Serves 3-4 Prep time 40 minutes Cooking time 15-20 minutes
Chinese-inspired stir-fries have great depth of flavor that hit all your taste receptors and cook up very quickly. This vibrant, lively stir-fry is low in fat, gluten free, and easy to digest. It is wonderful together with nutty short-grain brown rice, or 100% buckwheat soba noodles. You can mix things up with different veggie combos, depending on their availability and your mood, and enjoy a stir-fry in every season.
1 large red onion, cut in half and sliced thickly
4 young carrots, peeled, sliced on the bias
Shaoxing rice wine, or dry sherry, to deglaze wok
1” fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 cloves garlic, peeled, halved, sliced thinly
1-2 red Thai chilis, depending on your predilection for heat, sliced
4 cups French beans, blanched
9-12 mini bell peppers, depending on their size, cored, roasted
5 scallions, sliced on bias
1 cup French beans’ blanching water
¼ cup Shaoxing cooking wine • or dry sherry
2 Tablespoons black vinegar • or unseasoned rice vinegar
1-2 Tablespoons aka (red) miso •• or to taste (optional)
2 Tablespoons corn starch or arrowroot
2 Tablespoons date paste from ½ cup dates
1 teaspoon your favorite oil-free chili or hot sauce, depending on your predilection for heat
• Found online or in Asian groceries
•• Miso is a good salt alternative that helps to lower blood pressure (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313421/#:~:text=Miso%2C%20which%20is%20made%20from,%2C%20including%20salt%2Dsensitive%20hypertension).
Hints: A good stir-fry depends on rapid cooking over high heat without overcooking any element. For that, you must have all ingredients ready to go before heating up your wok. So…
- Blanch French beans in ample boiling water for 4 minutes or until crispy tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the water for the sauce. Plunge beans in ice water to rapidly halt cooking and brighten color.
- Roast peppers on a tray lined with parchment for 10-15 minutes in a 375°F/190°C oven or until they soften, begin to collapse, and lightly toast.
- Make date paste by pitting the dates, just covering with water and microwave for 2 minutes or simmer on stovetop for 4 minutes, Cool. Blend dates with their water into a smooth paste.
- Mix up sauce. Taste and correct to your preferences.
- Prep and measure out all the other ingredients and arrange in their cooking order (see below).
- Stir-fries cook so quickly you mustn’t walk away and should toss frequently.
Heat wok (or a deep skillet) over high/medium high heat for 3 minutes. It should sizzle when you flick in drops of water.
Add onions and carrots, stirring, and allow to brown lightly as their sugars carmelize, about 3 minutes.
When the onions and carrots begin to adhere, drizzle in a small amount of Shaoxing cooking wine to deglaze the pan, dissolving any sugars from the wok.
Add garlic, ginger, chili. Toss to cook evenly, adding wine in minimal amounts as the mix dries.
Cook for just a minute before adding the French beans and mini peppers, tossing everything to mix.
After 2 minutes, stir the finishing sauce to ensure the corn starch is mixed in well and add to the wok.
Keep tossing as the sauce thickens quickly to a light, glistening glaze that coats all the elements well.
Quickly mix in scallions now, tossing everything to distribute throughout. Turn off the flame and cover until serving.
Serve on heated plates, accompanied by a bowl of brown rice, buckwheat soba noodles or other whole grain.
Xiǎngshòu nǐ de shíwù (enjoy)!