This recipe is all about the sauce. That's why it's so adaptable. You can use just about any vegetable that would function in a stir fry, either fresh or frozen. The picture above is of fresh red cabbage and frozen broccoli florets that I steamed in the microwave according to package directions. The sauce, which you whisk together in seconds, is used twice: for the meat (start with raw or cooked chicken, pork, etc), and for the vegetables.
Does that make sense? It may sound confusing, but that's because you can do anything with it and not mess it up. The sauce is mainly rice vinegar, soy and honey. Sweetness perfectly balances out tangy and salty, and the honey also thickens the sauce nicely. No need for corn starch. I never really loved a stir fry recipe until I came up with this sauce. And since I can use different meats, veggies and even grains (that's pearled barley in the picture, which I love to use in place of brown rice sometimes), I make it often. Here's the recipe:
Adaptable Stir Fry
The sauce recipe is enough for 12 to 16 ounces of meat, feeding four people. I cut it in half when I only have enough meat for two servings, but the leftovers are great too. If you have pre-cooked meat (shredded chicken for example), add all the sauce when the vegetables are almost cooked; reduce slightly, then add meat and toss to coat with sauce and heat through.
Vegetables to try: cabbage, broccoli, frozen stir fry blend, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, snow peas, asparagus, bell peppers.
2 Tbs unseasoned rice vinegar (seasoned is fine, but note that it contains salt)
3 Tbs soy
3 to 4 Tbs honey, depending on how sweet or thick you want it
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
For stir fry:
1 Tbs neutral oil
12 to 16 ounces chicken breast or pork tenderloin, cut into thin, bite-sized pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 5 cups of vegetables (more for veggies that lose a lot of volume, like cabbage)
red chile flakes to taste
3 to 4 cups steamed brown rice or barley
toasted almonds or sesame seeds
To make the sauce, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
To make the stir fry, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat, season with black pepper and cook, stirring often, until cooked through. Whisk up the sauce again and add a little more than half to the meat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened slightly, stirring often. Transfer to a bowl.
Return skillet to medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray or add more oil and cook vegetables as needed. [If you have frozen veggies, you can steam them in the skillet: add a thin layer of water, cover and simmer until tender; uncover and cook until water is evaporated. If veggies are already cooked, just toss them around in the hot skillet for a minute to warm up.] Add remaining sauce. Simmer, stirring often until absorbed by the veggies. Season to taste, and add chile flakes as desired.
To serve, top a scoop of grains with some meat and its sauce, some vegetables, and almonds or sesame seeds.