Have you ever noticed that some of the best tasting meals are those that evolve from leftovers? Leaving flavors to meld and deepen for even a day can have a major impact on flavor. With the holiday season just around the corner, stir-fries are a great way to recycle – and reinvigorate – the extra food left on your table.
Stir-frying is a centuries-old Chinese cooking technique that provides a fast and simple way to heat food while retaining color, flavor and texture. Unlike traditional frying, it requires a minimal amount of fat. No need to purchase an expensive wok either; any large sauté pan will do.
This week’s recipe allows for plenty of variation – use whatever vegetables and lean meat you have on hand. When using leftovers, be careful not to overheat your pre-cooked veggies; 30 seconds over high heat will raise the temperature without creating a soggy mess. Also, where the recipe calls for the addition of leafy greens (bok choy, cabbage or spinach), it’s best to use fresh varieties.
To intensify a base of low-sodium soy sauce, we’ve added ginger, scallions and Mirin, a sweet-tasting Japanese rice wine. Although an essential condiment in Japan, Mirin may not be a staple in your pantry. Feel free to substitute with a sweet white wine or sherry. If looking for a non-alcoholic option, try white grape juice.
Day-After Stir-Fry – Makes 6 servings.
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 cup chopped green vegetable (for example, snow peas, string beans, broccoli)
1 cup chopped red or orange vegetable (for example, carrot, bell pepper, red onion)
1 cup fresh, chopped bok choy, spinach or cabbage
3 cups steamed brown rice
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds, for garnish
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce plus 2 tsp., divided
2 tsp. sugar, divided
2 Tbsp. Mirin (or substitute, see text), divided
1/2 tsp. minced green onion
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1 cup cooked turkey, cut into bite sizes
1 tsp. cornstarch
In a shallow pan, mix 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon Mirin, the green onion and ginger. Add turkey and marinate 10 to 30 minutes. Discard the used marinade and pat the turkey dry with paper towel.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl or cup, mix together the remaining soy sauce, sugar and Mirin with the cornstarch until well blended. Set aside.
Heat a wok or a large sauté pan. Add the turkey and cook over high heat until warmed through. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
Add half of the oil and heat the vegetables in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Add the remaining oil as needed. If using leftover vegetables, stir-fry just long enough to rewarm, 30 seconds to 1 minute. The bok choy, spinach and cabbage cook quickly as well; heat until just wilted.
When all of the vegetables are tender-crisp, add the turkey back to the pan. Add the remaining soy sauce mixture and stir until sauce thickens. Serve immediately with steamed rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds to garnish.
Per serving: 207 calories, 5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 29 g carbohydrate, 10 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 274 mg sodium.
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