Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Scentsational stir-fry!

There is something extraordinary about the smell of ginger and garlic sauteing in a wok. The scent permeates the house, and within moments of inhaling the vapors, your nose has signaled your tummy that it's in for a treat.

This quick stir-fry is a perfect example of how fresh ginger and garlic can work magic on fresh vegetables and shrimp. The recipe uses little oil and lots of the good-for-you foods that are so important to a healthy eating plan. Often, I have substituted chicken or tofu for the shrimp -- depending on my mood and what's in the fridge -- with excellent results each time.

A stir-fry is a wonderful technique for using vegetables before they become dry and shrivelled unrecognizable somethings. One stir-fry and one frittata are mainstays of my weeknight meals. They are quick, flavorful, healthy when done correctly, economical, and because I never know what is going to be in the refrigerator each week, always different. For me, variety is key for staying on a good eating track. I always serve this recipe with brown rice.

And the key for a successful stir-fry: Prepare all ingredients before you start cooking. A stir-fry will fail if you prepare as you cook.

2 tsp. dark sesame oil
2 tsp. canola oil, divided
2 Tblsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce or tamari, divided
Juice of half a lime
3 garlic cloves, minced
Olive oil cooking spray
1 1/2 lbs. medium peeled and deveined shrimp, thawed if frozen
2 Tblsp. minced fresh ginger
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, quartered
4 scallions, green tops included, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large bell pepper, cut into thin strips
8 oz. snow peas, strings removed
1 cup broccoli florets
1/4 tsp. red-pepper flakes

* Whisk together dark sesame oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, lime juice and garlic in a large bowl; add shrimp and toss to coat.
* Lightly coat a large skillet or wok with cooking spray and heat over high heat.
* Add shrimp and cook until pink, 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
* Heat canola oil in the same skillet over high heat.
* Add ginger and cook 30 seconds.
* Add mushrooms, scallions, bell pepper, snow peas and red-pepper flakes. Cook about 4 minutes, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
* Stir in shrimp and remaining soy sauce and toss to combine. Serve hot over brown rice.

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