When asked about a typical family recipe, I’d have to say stir-fry. I don’t know how my father learned to make it. He has never been to China, but somehow for as long as I remember, my father has been making these tasty and healthy meal that could be made in no time whatsoever. It was such a typical recipe and I later asked him to teach me to make stir fry. Of course, I make it for my family and it is always a favourite of ours.
The thing about our stir-fries is that there is really no recipe. Sometimes, the meat was chicken (actually, when I make it’s it’s mostly chicken stir-fry) and other times, it was beef. Sometimes, there was be cabbage, and sometimes there wasn’t. However, I think I got the hang of the technique now. The idea is that you fry meat, onions and vegetables, add soy sauce and water. And then you think the sauce with water and potato starch.
My brother came to visit us for a few days. He’s getting into cooking and baking and wanted to learn to cook new meals. My father has been teaching him to cook and bake and we also cooked together. It was fun, we work well together. I explain the basics (when to add what and how to cut it), and my brother was responsible for getting stuff from places I can’t reach (I’m 158cm tall) and balancing out my chaos.
My brother even had an idea that we should make a vlog of us cooking. “I would be the organized one and you’d be the chaotic, panicky one”- he said to me. I think he’s right. I like the idea of making a cooking video with my brother, he’s the best!
It’s a well known fact that I’m a great cook but totally chaotic. And because most of my cooking happens while taking care of kids and in a hurry, the result is delicious… but I have no idea how it came to happen. One moment I’m cutting up onions, garlic, meat and vegetables, the next I have a delicious meal on the table. Everything in the between is a mystery. Also, if you saw me cook, you’d probably wonder how I manage to get anything done at all!
But because my brother was here, I paid more attention to what I was actually doing. This time, we also experimented a little, not having enough soy sauce and added some new spices, like lemongrass paste. The result? Fantastic. One of the best we’ve ever had, if not THE best.
And because I actually paid attention to quantities and ingredients, I can give you the full recipe.
All of the things we cooked were amazing and I’ll give you the recipes in the next few weeks (stay especially tuned for the sponge cake with the world’s most amazing vanilla sauce). I must also warn you that for best results, all of these recipes require a brother. Preferably tall, blonde, smart and a good dancer.
Seriously, this stir fry, the chili con carne, and the cake have never tasted so amazing.
Cooking rice tips: some people like cooking their rice like noodles, with plenty of water. I usually take two cups of water per every cup of rice (I used basmati for this, although Chinese rice would probably be more appropriate). Consistency o the sauce shouldn't be too thin. You should be able to comfortably eat it with sticks. Other ideas: cabbage, green beans, ginger (you can use lemon peel instead of ginger).
- 2 cups rice
- 5 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 chili pepper (or more to taste)
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 spring onion
- 700g chicken breasts
- 1 zucchino
- 4 carrots
- 2 Bell peppers
- 1/2 teaspoon lemongrass paste
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons potato starch or maizena
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- a dash of cumin
- Dice the chicken and put it into a bowl. Add the soy sauce. You can also add some strong liquor like rum or vodka)
- Cut the vegetables into mouth-sized pieces.
- Chop onions, garlic and chili pepper.
- Put everything on a plate.
- Cook the rice, using your favourite method.
- In a wok, heat up the oil and add the onions. Cook for a minute.
- Add garlic, spring onions and chili. Cook for additional 2 minutes
- Add the meat, together with the sauce.
- Cook until the meat is tender.
- Add the carrots, and stir.
- Add the bell peppers, stir some more.
- Add the zuchini, and stir. It's called stir-fry for a reason.
- Add half a cup of water to the stir fry.
- Dissolve the potato starch in another half cup of water and add that to the stir-fry.
- Stir until you feel the sauce thicken to the right consistency.
- Add the lemon grass paste, sesame oil, fish sauce and cumin.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with the rice.
Previously published at European Mama.
Olga uses her kitchen as a place to perform hair-raising kitchen experiments. Most of these science projects turn out delicious, but she has a bad habit of occasionally forgetting to write them down. You can find her at European Mama and FoodRetro.com.