Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Delicious green stir fry

I love a tangy stir fry, and I’ve been reading a lot of Vietnamese and Thai recipes lately. I've been buying old cook books from charity shops, and they have reminded me of the time, not so far away,er when recipes mentioned garlic in hushed tones. No more sotto voce now, I don’t know many people who don’t want the kick of spices, garlic and ginger.

This dish is bright green and fresh, the cabbage is just cooked, accompanied with green peppers, peas and onion. I pair it with coconut dhal, and prefer bread to rice as an accompaniment. It's easy to make, you do all the slicing in advance, heat up the pan and go. The dhal can be prepared in advance. This is enough for two people, on the greedy side, more with the dhal. 

Base for blitzing:
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 slice ginger
1 shallot (1/2 small onion)
handful of fresh coriander, washed, with roots on
1 large pinch of salt
a couple of spoonfuls of water

Stir Fry ingredients
1/4 savoy cabbage, finely sliced
1/2 green pepper, sliced
2 large shallots/1 onion, sliced lengthwise
2 handfuls frozen peas
1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon+water or thai fish sauce
1 tsp brown sugar or honey
1/2 lime

  • blitz or pound together 1st six ingredients
  • prepare all other ingredients
  • heat up wok, adding a slug of  oil (corn, groundnut or veg oil)
  • add half the blitzed ingredients and stir, turning down the heat if it starts to brown
  • add half the sliced veg, stir and add a slug of water (or fish sauce) cook for a minute, stirring all the time
  • add the rest of the veg and blitzed mixture, bouillon and the frozen peas, keep stirring, adding water if necessary, cook for 30 seconds, until the cabbage starts to wilt
  • add sugar or honey, stir and turn off the heat
  • squeeze over the lime


This combination was a favourite of my Aunt’s, especially when her cancer meant her appetite was reduced. The strong flavours seemed to cut through, so she enjoyed eating again. The stir fry is light and flavoursome with a citrus tang, and the curried dhal is easy to eat, as well as being a good contrast in terms of texture and flavour. The other pleasure is how the food looks on the plate, a patchwork of greens contrasting with a golden yellow. 

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