Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spicy peanut stir fry // a long-time favorite, re-worked

Somehow, over the last several months, I've developed a strong aversion to handling raw meat. 

Actually, for quite a while now, I've tended to make/eat vegetarian main dishes, so much so that our favorite waitress at our favorite restaurant recently said to me, "You're a vegetarian, right?" I'm not, but I would consider myself veg-oriented, meaning, vegetarian dishes often appeal to me. However now, I can't seem to force myself to handle raw meat unless I'm cooking for loved ones who prefer eating as omnivores. Nowadays at home, I don't eat much meat and what I do eat is pre-cooked (i.e. - deli turkey, prepared sausages, etc.), and while I'm out, I'll still order a dish with meat if it sounds the most appetizing. 

To accommodate this strange new world, I've been re-working some of our favorite meals. My most recent accomplishment on this front has been converting our well-loved chicken stir fry recipe into a vegetable stir fry. I consider it to be a great success. 

I've found the key to be including a variety of textures so has not to miss the unique texture of the chicken. You'll see in the ingredient list that I really like crunchy water chestnuts. This dish has a lot of similar flavor characteristics as my new favorite fried rice recipe, but I consider the flavor to be even more magnified in the stir fry. The sauce is a winner - salty, slightly sweet and as spicy as you want. And we definitely want, however, we've left out, without harm, the crushed red pepper flakes when entertaining others; so feel free to leave it out if you prefer.

Spicy Peanut Stir Fry

2 bunches of green onions, trimmed and chopped (green and white parts)
2 generous teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
10 heaping teaspoons smooth peanut butter (I use the natural, unsalted variety.)
2 cups of water
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons honey
1 12 oz bag frozen shelled edamame
1 16 oz bag frozen asian vegetable stir fry mix (I used a mix that included broccoli, green beans,sugar snap peas, carrots, celery, red peppers, water chestnuts and onions.)
2 8 oz cans sliced water chestnuts (slices halved)
cooked brown rice
chopped, unsalted peanuts

If preparing rice, begin cooking as directed on package.

If possible, prepare sauce mixture in advance, and let sit in the refrigerator (1 hour - 1 day) to allow the flavor to intensify. To prepare the sauce, in a medium bowl, stir together the green onions, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter, water, red pepper flakes and honey. 

Pour the sauce mixture into a large non-stick pan, and cook over medium heat. When the sauce bubbles, reduce to low heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir often to prevent burning.

Add edamame, frozen vegetables and water chestnuts. Increase heat to medium and cook until heated through.

Serve over rice, topped with peanuts.

Serves 6

Question - Have you ever developed an aversion that surprised you? If so, please share. I'm still trying to demystify my own.


  1. I too have developed an aversion to handling raw meat. I still do it, but I don't like it. If we buy meat in bulk, my husband is the one who will break it down into smaller portions to freeze. When cooking, I will start with frozen meat and by the time it defrosts in the microwave and cook a little, it's okay. I also prefer vegetable dishes. I find that part is common in females. Not sure what all of this is about, but I totally understand what you're talking about.

    Thanks for adding the comment about the red pepper flakes. I don't like very spicy food and it's good to know this works well with out the extra kick.

    1. So interesting! How long have you had this aversion? What do you think triggered it? I'm curious because I just cannot deduce how mine developed. I would have imagined that such a distaste would have cropped earlier, during my younger, more formative years.

  2. Any recipe with fresh ginger and water chestnuts appeals to me. Yum.

    I can't think of any food aversions I've developed. When I was a kid, I went through a time when I felt like most food choked me (except smooth foods like soup, pudding). I had forgotten about it till you brought this up. Not sure what that was about, but I seem to have overcome it. :)

    1. Oh dear. Sorry to remind you of such a hard memory, and that feeling/sensation seems like it would have been almost debilitating. I'm so, so glad it's no longer an issue!

      And I too am a fresh ginger enthusiast. It's one of those "trigger" ingredients that will cause me to come running. :-)

    2. No worries! Actually, it's good for me to occasionally remember things I struggled with as a kid--it helps me in understanding my children a bit better. Sometimes they have quirky opinions about all sorts of things--food, clothes--as a parent, it can be frustrating to try to understand them, so remembering that I was quirky, as well, is good for me.


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