Monday, March 16, 2009

Easy vegetarian stir-fry recipes

There are a million vegetarian stir-fry recipes out there, with a wide variety of choices of vegetables you can use and sauces to mix it with. Stir-fry is especially great for vegetarians because you have such a wide range of choices in terms of ingredients and flavors so you’ll never get bored eating them.

Keep in mind when you stir-fry that it’s a faster way of cooking your food over a higher heat. Traditionally, you use a wok, but if you don’t have one, you can make do with a twelve-inch skillet, but you’ll just have to cook the stir-fry in smaller batches so it actually stir-fries instead of stewing in the oil. Peanut oil is a great choice for stir-fries, although vegetable oil will do just fine. Just make sure not to use an oil like olive oil, which smokes and burns at high temperatures that are required for a stir-fry. If you don’t want to use any oil, you can use a heat-resistant cooking spray instead.

When you are making a stir-fry, you can replace any protein in a meat-based recipe with tofu. Keep in mind that tofu only takes a couple of minutes to cook, though, so add it closer to the end of your cooking cycle so you don’t overcook it. Alternatively, you can also cut an eggplant into small cubes and add that to your stir-fry to make it more filling and satisfying.

In terms of vegetables, there is a huge selection of vegetables that you can use, including bok choy, mushrooms, baby corn, and pea pods. However, you need to understand that different vegetables cook at different rates, so you shouldn’t just dump them all in your pan all at once, or you’ll end up with vegetables that are either very overcooked or very undercooked. If you use cauliflower, potatoes, or carrots, cut them into small pieces or thin strips and allow them to cook a bit longer. If you use peas, asparagus, or mushrooms, though, cook those closer to the end of your dish being finished. And, with bean sprouts, herbs, bok choy, spinach, or any other greens, you should add those in the last minute of cooking or they will become wilted and taste more bitter than you meant for them to taste.

A great an easy way to add flavor to your stir-fry is to marinate your ingredients before stir-frying them. Try different pre-made marinades or create your own with teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, or hoison sauce. To spice it up, add some chili paste and fresh ginger to the mix. If you don’t have time to marinade everything before you cook it, or you want to use less dishes, heat up the oil, and add your spices—like fresh ginger, minced garlic, Chinese 5-spice—first, then add your sauces, and then add the ingredients you are including in your stir-fry.

To make it an even bigger dish, serve with rice, which you can serve on the side, or with noodles, which you can mix in with the stir-fry while it’s cooking to combine all the flavors. Even better, depending on what you include in a stir-fry, you can turn it into a wonderful main course or even serve as a smaller side dish to accompany something else.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

International Vegetarian Food Recipes

If you’re looking for delicious options for vegetarian food recipes, you should consider becoming more comfortable cooking Asian noodle recipes. There are a lot of different types of Asian noodles that you can usually find in the ethnic foods section of your local grocery store. Some of the more common ones include rice noodles, cellophane noodles, and soba noodles. Rice noodles are long, thin, flat noodles that have the same flavor and consistency as white rice. They are very common in Thai dishes. Cellophane noodles are very thing, transparent noodles, and soba noodles are shaped like spaghetti, but are made out of buckwheat flour instead of white flour.

One great option for vegetarian food recipes is to make a dish of Asian peanut noodles. This is a somewhat spicy dish, but not only is it easy to make, but you can increase the protein level by adding bite-size pieces of tofu to the final product. Cook either cellophane or soba noodles in very hot water until they are the right consistency, and then remove from the heat and drain right away. While you’re waiting for the noodles to cook, sauté some minced garlic cloves in a little bit of peanut or olive oil in a skillet. Place the oil and garlic in your food processor and combine with vegetable stock, peanut butter, cilantro, fresh ginger, honey, hot sauce, and some salt. Blend together until the mixture is smooth. Mix together the noodles and the sauce in a large bowl, making sure that the noodles are evenly coated with the peanut sauce. Top with some shredded carrots, chopped scallions, and chopped peanuts. Serve garnished with a lime wedge. If you find that this recipe is too spicy for you, or you know you do not like spicy food before you even try to make this dish, leave out the hot sauce from the recipe.

Another great option for vegetarian food recipes is to create your own vegetable chow main at home. Again, just like with the previous recipe, if you prefer a meal with some added protein, add some sautéed tofu to the final dish. Boil some Chinese wheat needles in hot water until tender, and then drain and set aside. While you’re waiting for your noodles to cook, heat some peanut oil or olive oil in a large skillet or in your wok. Add some sliced onion to the pan and stir-fry until the onion starts to become translucent. Then, add chopped celery, broccoli florets, and chopped bell pepper, and stir-fry until the vegetables start to go tender but are still crisp. Then, stir in washed bean sprouts, bok choy, sliced water chestnuts, and sliced mushrooms, and cook until the ingredients are all hot. In a small bowl, mix together a little bit of the water from the canned vegetables with some cornstarch, and stir this together until the cornstarch fully dissolves. Then, add more liquid from the canned vegetables and some soy sauce. Pour the sauce into the pan with the vegetables and cook until the sauce has started to thicken. Turn off the heat, and stir the cooked noodles into the pan with the cooked vegetables. Serve immediately with extra soy sauce for added flavor.

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