by John Ryan
This is a serious hit of vegetables, but all the recipes from the 60s were like that. As you make this, keep in mind that it isn't a stir-fry in the tradition of blazing hot woks and kung fu cooking style. This is more of a stew-fry. In fact, these days I skip the wok altogether and use a 7-quart pot.
Serve this over rice—white if that's what you like, brown if you want to be authentic.
Small pot with a lid for the rice
2 cookie sheets
400-degree F. oven
2 cups beef broth
1 cup brown rice
2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
Get this started first and leave it to cook on a back burner while you make the stir-fry. Bring the broth to boil, then throw in the rice and garlic cloves. If necessary, swirl the pan so the rice is covered with broth, then turn the heat to low, cover, and let it cook undisturbed for about 40 minutes. When the rice is done you can throw the garlic out, but I like to mash the cloves up and stir them back into the rice.
2 eggplants (about 1-1/2 pounds total)
3 to 4 tablespoons oil, divided
1 pretty big onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into fat coins
12 ounces assorted mushrooms, sliced thick or quartered
1 big red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 fat cloves garlic, minced
An equal amount of minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
1 pound firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 handful snow peas (about 4 ounces)
1-1/2 cups water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon vinegar
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 teaspoons sugar
1) Turn the oven on to 400 degrees F. Peel and dice the eggplants into 3/4-inch pieces. Spread out on 2 cookie sheets and bake until eggplant browns around the edges, 15 or 20 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, start the long chop, keeping the ingredients separate. (I put each chopped vegetable on a piece of waxed paper.)
3) Measure the sauce mixture into a bowl and stir. The cornstarch will make it look like coffee with cream. Just before using it, stir it again till it looks like that.
4) When the rice is about done, start the stew-fry. Sauté the onion in a little oil over medium-high heat until it softens a bit, then add the carrots and cook for a couple minutes. Add the pepper and cook for another couple minutes. Follow this add-&-cook routine with the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, chili flakes, and eggplant. Add a little oil right along if necessary, to keep the vegetables from sticking unmercifully.
5) Finally, crank up the heat to high and toss in the tofu and snow peas. Give the sauce mixture a stir and pour it in. Bring the sauce to a boil. When it thickens and becomes shiny, it's done. Gently stir so everything is coated with sauce. Serve over brown rice.
Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.
This page created March 2000
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