Thursday, 30 June 2011

Stirfry = Easy way to Eat Your Colours

Here is an easy recipe to make your long weekend more enjoyable! One of my rules when it comes to eating a well balanced diet to try and eat as many different colours as possible. The colours of many fruits/vegetables reflect the different antioxidant phytochemicals they contain. Many of these chemicals help protect against chronic diseases, but each in slightly different ways not yet understood, so the best protection comes from a diet rich in as many different phytochemicals as possible. (ie. Many Colours). The easiest way to eat lots of colours in a delicious meal is of course the veggie stirfry, and this just happens to be one of my favourite dinners! Here is my no-fail quick and easy stirfry recipe...
*serves 4 or 2 people for two meals (ie. dinner and lunch)*

Rainbow of Colours
Step One:
I always start with a variety of my favourite veggies, obviously in a wide range of colours. I always find the stirfry is a great way to get an extra dose of those dark leafy greens. It can be difficult to get excited about a big plate of bok choy or kale, but by throwing them in you stirfry the leaves will cook down giving you all the nutrients of a large serving without the boring presentation. For my stirfry today I choose onions, mushrooms, 2 different types of peppers (for the extra Vit. C), and spinach (lots of it).

Mushroom and Onions are in!
Step Two:
Timing is a very important part of the stirfry. Certain vegetables need more time to cook than others, and you need to time your rice with your sauce, so it can become a bit of a balancing act the first time you set out to make your own. I always start my onions and mushrooms first, because they require more time to cook down. Making this dish at home also allows you to monitor exactly what gets added to your dish, thus limiting unnecessary fats, heavy oils, and processed ingredients. I love to use coconut oil to grease my pan, because it enhances the flavour of the coconut milk in the sauce (and ladies it is supposed to be great for your hair and skin - so it probably doesn`t hurt to add it!).

Step Three:
I usually start cooking my rice shortly after my first set of veggie hit the pot. I choose to use basmati rice, because it cooks quickly, it has a light fluffy texture, and it is really easy to digest. I like to double my recipe so I can take stirfry for lunch the next day (it reheats well!), so I usually make 2 cups of rice. The cooking instructions for basmati are also really easy to remember 1 cup rice to 2 cups water, add a little salt and butter to taste and you are ready to go. Throw everything in a pot, bring the water to a boil, then turn down heat to let the rice simmer while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Key ingredients for sauce
Step Four:
It is time for the sauce which is the most important part! I love a spicy curry sauce, but if you don`t like a little heat with your dish than just leave out the chili powder. Start by adding 2 cups of coconut milk to the hot wok where your onions and mushrooms are cooking. Add chopped garlic (3 cloves), 1 tbsp of grated ginger, 2 tbsp of curry power, a few shakes of chili power, a splash of coriander, 3 tbsp fish sauce, and 1 tbsp of brown sugar and mix well. Everyone likes their curry to taste a little different so I recomend tasting part way through to decide if you more or less heat, or more or less curry. (remember as the chili heats up the spice will come through more so don`t go too crazy at the beginning). Bring sauce to a boil, and then allow pot to simmer. If you like a thicker sauce you can add flour gradually to thicken.

Final Stage
Step 5:
Once your sauce has boiled you can begin adding in your other veggies. Cooking time will vary depending on your preferences. I like my peppers to remain slightly crispy, so this part only take about 4 mins. Once the spinach (or other greens) have cooked down I remove the sauce from the heat. But this time your rice should be ready (it usually only take 15 min), so you are ready to serve. Spoon out your portions and ENJOY! HAPPY EATING!

Love your favourite Darwinian Fail,