Stir, Don’t Fry!

Stir, don't fry!
Stir, don't fry! Image:Johanna Best

A few weeks ago I managed to do something, I hadn’t previously achieved. Did I get through the day without eating a single avocado? Nope. Did I get round to finally sorting out that box of memories that I have moved from house to house to house for the past 10 years? Afraid not. But what I did do, for the first time ever, was to use up the contents of the organic veg box we get delivered in almost one go. Usually, after we have gleefully devoured the crisp lettuce and fragrant tomatoes, turned the firm green courgettes into raw noodles, and made something creative with the tasty mushrooms, there will be one vegetable that sits in the fridge until either I have found out what it is, and how to prepare it, (I had never come across Black salsify root for example), or I have the inclination to use up ‘yet another celeriac’, when we have received one a week for the past 6 weeks!

But on this day in mention, I was utterly delighted to open the box and instantly know what we were going to have for dinner that evening. In fact, when I emptied the contents on to the kitchen counter, I felt just like a chef from the TV show Ready, Steady Cook! when they are presented with a bag of ingredients and have to make something using all of the food, plus a few store cupboard staples.

Organic Veggies
Organic Veggies. Image: Johanna Best

The organic goodies we received that day were:

  • broccoli
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • ginger
  • carrots
  • lime
  • apples
  • courgette (zucchini)
  • bell pepper
  • avocado (OK so I didn’t use that in the meal, but I NEVER need to think about how to eat those green beauties!)
  • lettuce – ditto
  • And since I had been craving sea vegetables of some sort, I thought it would be a perfect occasion to make an Asian inspired dish. Imagine a stir fry, without frying it. So, more of a ‘stir’ than a ‘stir-fry’ then!

    So here is the recipe. It’s a bit of a bonus recipe, because you can use the various components in other dishes. Marinated mushrooms, for example, make an exceedingly good addition to salads or sushi (or nori rolls). The marinated broccoli makes a great side-dish or snack, and the marinated arame makes for a yummy way to include more mineral rich, cleansing seaweed into your beautiful body. The courgette (zucchini) noodles are fantastic in salads, or eaten instead of spaghetti or egg noodles.

    Miss Best’s ‘Stir don’t fry!’
    Serves 4

    Marinated arame (see recipe below)
    Marinated broccoli (see recipe below)
    Marinated mushrooms (see recipe below)
    Asian style salad (find the recipe here)
    Courgette (zucchini) noodles (see recipe below)

    Place the noodles onto plates. Mix everything else together and serve on top of the noodles. Top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a little fresh parsley or coriander.

    To allow time for your veggies to marinate, I recommend you make this meal in the following order:

    1. Start by putting the arame to soak
    2. Make the broccoli dish
    3. Make the marinated mushrooms
    4. Rinse, drain and marinate the arame
    5. Make the asian style salad
    6. Make the courgette (zuchini) noodles

    Marinated Arame

    2 cups arame (not usually strictly raw, but still super healthy!) or raw sea vegetable or your choice
    2 cm piece ginger, grated
    1 clove garlic, chopped
    1 tablespoon tamari
    juice of one lemon
    zest of one lemon (preferably an organic or unwaxed lemon)
    1 tablespoon cold pressed sesame oil

    Soak the arame in warm water for about 10-15 minutes (or until soft). You can leave it soak while you prepare the rest of the dish. Drain and rinse the arame, put into a bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Keeps for about 2 days in the fridge in a lidded container.

    Marinated Broccoli
    This is a simplified version of my popular curried broccoli

    One small head of broccoli
    Juice of 1 lemon
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Salt and pepper

    Wash your broccoli. Cut off the stem and trim away any hard knobbly bits, then thinly slice the stem and the head. Place in a bowl and pour on the lemon juice, oil and salt and pepper and give it a little massage. Allow to marinade for about 30 minutes.

    Marinated Mushrooms

    1 box of mushrooms (about 250 g / half a pound)
    Half a small onion, thinly sliced (optional)
    ½ cup tamari
    1 clove garlic, crushed

    Wash and dry the mushrooms and thinly slice. Place into a bowl together with the onion, and stir in the tamari and garlic. Leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes. Store in the fridge in a lidded container for up to 3 days.

    Raw Noodles
    Raw Noodles. Image: Johanna Best

    Courgette (zucchini) noodles

    Allow about half a courgette per person for this dish. Make into noodles using wither a special tool called a spiralizer, a mandolin with a teeth-like attachment, or by cutting into strips using a vegetable peeler. For the latter, stack the courgette ribbons on top of each other and then cut into noodle-sized strips.

    Place in a bowl and drizzle on a little olive oil or sesame oil, a little salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

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