Stir-frying is one of the quickest, easiest, and healthiest ways to cook, and this recipe is a great introduction. You dont need a wok or any other special equipment, just a regular old frying pan and a spatula or wooden spoon. Once you get this recipe down, you can add your own touches. More or less spice, different vegetables, more garlic or ginger, different saucesthe possibilities are endless! One word of caution with this and other stir-fries: if you add wet vegetables to hot oil, the oil will sputter and spit, so drain or pat excess water off your ingredients.
2-1/4 cups plus 1-1/2 tablespoons water
1 cup rice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 small onion
4 stalks celery
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup whole peanuts
1. Place the 21/4 cups water and rice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Combine the cornstarch, remaining 11/2 tablespoons water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl, stir until smooth, and set aside.
2. Peel the onion and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Trim and discard the ends of the celery and zucchini and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Peel and finely chop the garlic or pass it through a garlic press.
3. Place the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Let the oil get hot but not smoking (its right when a drop of water flicked onto the surface of the oil evaporates right away). Add the onion, celery, zucchini, and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables just start to get soft. The stirring is so the ingredients dont stick and so they get cooked evenly. Add the garlic and water chestnuts and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are still firm but also a bit tender. Pour the sauce mixture into the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until the sauce thickens. Stir in the peanuts and take the pan off the heat immediately. Spoon some rice into the center of each of 4 plates and top with equal amounts of the hot vegetables and sauce.
Reprinted with permission from College Vegetarian Cooking. Copyright © 2009 by Megan Carle and Jill Carle, Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, Calif.
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