With origins as early as the first century, stir-fry has earned its place as an important staple in Chinese culture and food. Gaining popularity during the Tang Dynasty in ancient Chinese history, stir-fry flourished as a method of cooking that used a variety of ingredients and little fuel to prepare. I say this not only for a quick history lesson, but also to point out the irony in my obsession with stir-fry. Last semester I prepared this simple yet satisfying dish nearly every night for dinner because of its nutritional value, ease of preparation, and most importantly- it’s inexpensive ingredients. For today’s blog post I will demonstrate how to make a 15-minute stir-fry as well as a modern twist on a classic Chinese drink.
1 c. brown rice (Preferred: boil-in-bag microwavable brown rice)
Sauce of choice (Preferred: Simply Asia general tso sauce packet)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ c. chopped sweet onion
½ c. fresh snow peas
½ c. cut broccoli
½ c. chopped carrots
¼ c. lightly salted peanuts or cashews
Note: Any variety of vegetables can be used (If you are feeling adventurous, add water chestnuts or fresh mushrooms). Many grocery stores have bags of inexpensive fresh stir-fry vegetables already chopped. Save leftover vegetables and incorporate into dishes later in the week. Also, chicken or tofu are a great additives for protein.
For Chai Tea Smoothie:
2 cups skim milk
¼ c. unsweetened instant tea
¼ c. nonfat vanilla yogurt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
Note: This recipe makes 4 servings.
Follow directions on brown rice package. While the rice is cooking (which takes around 10 minutes), place the oil in a large pan on the stove and add the chopped vegetables. Set aside the peanuts and sauce for the end. Cook the vegetables on medium heat for roughly 7 minutes. Once the vegetables have thoroughly cooked, add sauce and peanuts and continue to stir for 2 minutes. Fill a coffee cup with the cooked brown rice (this acts as a mold). Place rice and vegetables on a plate and serve warm.
For Chai Tea Smoothie:
In a blender, combine all ingredients but the ice. Process until blended. Gradually add enough ice to make a thick consistency. Pour mixture into a tall glass and serve. For color, garnish with mint leaves or sprinkle extra cinnamon on top.