I know I’ve mentioned how small our town is. To put it in perspective, we have one Chinese restaurant. We have another restaurant that offers some ethnic options, but it’s not nearly as good and just recently we acquired a Thai restaurant. Very exciting stuff, haha. We very rarely order Chinese food let alone order out. We ordered it maybe twice in the last three years apart from eating it at someone else house a few times. It’s a nice treat sometimes but we always feel sick to our stomachs after. There’s way too much salt and sugar and unhealthy fats.
So to avoid wanting to order out I make stir fry’s quite often(although I’m sure my husband dreads the words “stir fry” coming out of my mouth because it usually never involves meat.) To me, this tastes way better than take out. And honestly, it takes very little time. I chop all the veggies in the morning or early afternoon and then cover them and keep them in the fridge till dinner time. This is so handy. If you work all day it’s frustrating to have to chop veggies for 20 minutes before getting to cook when all you want to do is eat. And if you have little kids, dinner time is usually when they start getting cranky and making dinner takes way more time than it should. Good thing the veggies don’t mind being chopped up ahead of time. The night before when you have a few minutes after everyone’s gone to bed, or before work in the morning, or whenever you have a few minutes. Then the rest is fast and easy.
Simple Broccoli Stir Fry
- 2 small(or one very large) bunches of broccoli, including stems peeled and chopped
- 2 cups mushrooms cleaned and sliced
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp mirin(Try to find one with the least sugar added. There should be fairly minimal ingredients. If you can’t find it, omit or replace with a pinch of sugar)
- 2 tsp sweet chili sauce
- 1 tbsp cornstarch in 2 tbsp water(or another thickening agent)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 C sesame seeds
- 2 bunches of soba noodles cooked and drained(or you can sub rice noodles or whatever other noodles you like)
Prepare your broccoli and mushrooms(or other veggies – my husband doesn’t like mushrooms so I usually add sliced carrots or celery or even snap or sugar peas) ahead of time. Boil and salt your water and put in your pasta to cook. Once the pasta is done drain and set aside. Heat your oil in a large pan and saute your garlic, either minced or put through a garlic press. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the mushrooms(or carrots and celery). Stir well and cook till they just begin to release their juices. Add the broccoli. You can add the stems first if you like and cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the florets but I usually add it all together because I like the crunch of the stems.
Pour about 3-4 tbsp of water in the pan and immediately cover. Cook just till the broccoli turns vibrant green, just a few minutes. If you’re using snap peas add these just in the last minute before you add your sauces as they don’t need long to cook. The veggies should still be crunchy at this stage but will continue to cook for a couple minutes as you make the sauce so don’t cook too long. Remove the lid and add the soy sauce, mirin and chili sauce. Mix then immediately add the cornstarch and water and mix quickly. Continue to mix till the sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and add the sesame oil and seeds. Then add in the noodles, mix well, add more soy sauce as needed and serve. Top with more sesame seeds and some chili sauce of choice.