I have clients, friends and family that are looking to eat healthier, need to restrict gluten from their diet or have adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. This has encouraged me to find and develop recipes are both vegetarian and gluten-free, but still have flavor and substance.
One such recipe that have added to my recipe "inventory" is a Snow and Snap Pea Stir-Fry. Even my carnivore husband enjoyed this one. I love the variety of texture and colors in this recipe from the Vegetarian Times (see link at the end of this blog for the original recipe).
For non-vegetarians, I serve this with a ginger-soy marinated shrimp; although, the cashews add protein and a nice crunch so the dish works well as a standalone vegetarian dish. I typically pair it with brown or jasmine rice.
The key to stir-fry recipes is planning. Mise en place, as they call it in culinary school, which means everything in its place. Making sure you organize all the equipment you need and your ingredients are prep before you start cooking is essential. I also think about the different textures and how fast each one will cook and whether it will hold if you cook it first and set it aside as a read through a recipe as prepare to cook.
The snow and snap pea stir-fry actually cooks fairly fast. The time consuming part of this recipe is the prep work. That said, you can do this dish in 30 minutes or less, if you are organized. Here's what you will need:
1 Tbs. low-sodium, gluten-free soy sauce1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot¼ tsp chile-garlic sauce, such as sambal oelek, optional1 Tbs. vegetable oil1 medium red onion, halved, cut into thin slices, and pulled apart (1 ½ cups)1 small yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced (1 ½ cups)1 cup raw unsalted cashews1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger (or to taste)8 oz. sugar snap peas8 oz. snow pea pods8 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
Prep all your vegetables and place in bowls based on their cooking times. Also, if you can cut vegetables into similar sized pieces. Taking the time and using your knife skills to prepare similar sized knife cuts really does make a difference. Food will cook more evenly and so you would be as tempted to over cook your dish trying to get those few odd size pieces to cook through. I like to cut the ends off my snow and snap peas. I put the snap peas in a separate small bowl as they take the longest to cook.
The snow pea pods, yellow pepper and red onion can be place in another bowl as they cook in about the same amount of time. (If you like your peppers a bit softer, you can add them into the snap pea bowl instead.) Add the green onions, cashews and ginger into this bowl.
Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch and chile-garlic sauce with 1/2 cup of water in a small bowl and set aside so it is ready when you need it.
You can do a stir-fry at home even if you don't have a wok. I actually prefer to do it in a large French-style skillet with the straight (not slowed) sides. It give you plenty of surface area to cook the ingredients quickly and helps keep the ingredients in the pan as you toss them around.
Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in your pan over medium-high to high heat. I would use high heat for electric stoves but a bit lower temp for gas stoves. Then we start adding ingredients...
I have changed the recipe up a bit based on how I like my vegetables to be cooked. I add the snap peas first and give them a 2-3 minute head start over the other ingredients.
Then add the snow pea pods, yellow pepper, red onions plus the cashews, ginger and green onions. Stir-fry for an additional 3 minutes or until vegetables reach your desired level of doneness. I like mine crisp-tender.
Then add the reserved soy sauce mixture and cook for about another 2 minutes. The soy mixture will form a sauce and coat the vegetables.
When I made this for my client last week as well as for my husband, I served in a big pasta bowl and toss in the ginger-soy shrimp at the end.
I hope that you enjoy this colorful and flavorful stir-fry. If you have all your ingredients prepped and organized before you start, you can see how easy this beautiful dish comes together.
Original Recipe Source from the Vegetarian Times, June 2011, page 77: