I just moved.  Good news: we have a pantry that has plenty of room.  Bad news: our oven doesn’t work at the moment.  So when we had a guest over the other night, it was time for some strategy…only basic ingredients on hand, only a stovetop to work with.  Here’s what resulted…

Peanut Sauce (adapted from my mom’s recipe)

  • 1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • a dash of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • (if available) 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Start a pot of jasmine rice.  To make it firmer and stickier, use less water than called for on the bag.

In the meantime, you can begin the peanut sauce.  In a small pot on low heat, combine all of the ingredients listed above.  All to taste, of course!  Let simmer.  Keep an eye on it, but if it gets too thick, add a bit more water.

Stir Fry Components*

  • canola oil
  • sesame oil (if available)
  • soy sauce
  • 3 chicken breasts, cut in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 crown (cluster) of broccoli
  • 1 carrot, thinly julienned
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced…I would have also used a red pepper if I’d have had one on hand.
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • a couple handfuls of spinach
  • 2/3 cup peanuts, chopped

*As always, this is no science.  Many vegetables could be used in this–really almost whatever you have on hand (I just probably wouldn’t recommend tomatoes).  Consider “stir fry” a synonym for “flexibility.”  The key is simply to cook the veggies as little as possible, adding the one that take longer to cook first…no one wants mushy stir fry!

Bring a wok or very large skillet to medium heat.  Add a couple tablespoons of oil to the pan and then cook the chicken until it is done.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.  Put in a little more oil and sauté the onion for a minute.  Add the broccoli, carrot, and and hearty dash of soy sauce.  To speed things up, add 1/4 cup of water and cover the wok for a couple minutes to let the veggies steam.  Remove the cover and add the green pepper and peas.  When the green pepper is just barely cooked, turn the heat to low and add the chicken back to the wok.  Take about 2/3 of the peanut sauce and 1/3 cup of the peanuts; add to the veggies and chicken and stir. Remove from heat.  Add a couple handfuls of spinach and stir in (the hot stir fry mixture will make it wilt quickly even without a heated burner).

Add a little water to the peanut sauce to make it thinner.  You can use this to drizzle on top once the stir fry is served with the rice.  Use the remaining chopped peanuts as a garnish on top.  Time to enjoy.

This Thai-American fusion saved the day and served four hungry movers.  It may not be authentic anything, but it sure was a welcome meal from the new kitchen!