Whenever someone says we’re having stir-fry for dinner, I always question what that exactly means. It’s not like they said we’re having BBQ chicken or grilled steak. Those are definitive. But stir-fry can mean lots of different things depending on who’s cooking and who’s eating.
It can be beef, chicken or in the case of this recipe... turkey. That’s not to say that you can’t substitute chicken or beef for the turkey in this recipe. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t mix and match other ingredients in this recipe either. According to my friend and Asian chef, Wilber Williams, who was born and raised in Thailand, (go figure), stir-fry is the Asian version of a good old American stew.
When it comes to stew or in this case, stir-fry, the origins of the recipe was to take whatever locally sourced ingredients you happened to have handy and throw them all into a single pot and cook it down with seasonings and fresh herbs. That’s not to say that there isn’t any technique or finesse in how you prepare stir-fry. In fact, in my opinion, to create a great stir-fry, you need some basic techniques, fresh ingredients and a little patience. But that’s enough blabbering from me, let’s get to it.
We’re going to do everything from scratch, including our own homemade marinade. Here’s what you need:
1-cup soy or tamari sauce
¼ cup of sesame oil
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 shots of Sake
Fresh grated ginger to taste
Pinch of salt
Small squeeze of lemon (optional)
¼ cup fresh orange juice (optional)
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Let them come together over very low heat. Once well combined, allow the sauce to cool. Make sure to taste as you go. If it’s not sweet enough for you add more maple syrup, if you want more ginger, add it.
The Asian Stir Fry
3 KOL Foods organic-fed and pasture-raised turkey breast fillets, turkey schnitzels (cubed), or turkey stew meat.
Substitute turkey with chicken breast fillets, beef pepper steak or beef kabob
1 small onion (cut into have moons)
½ red pepper (sliced Julianne)
½ orange or yellow pepper (sliced Julianne)
2 carrots sliced into rounds (not too thin)
6 cloves of garlic (sliced)
Small bowl of sliced shitake mushrooms (or your favorite mushroom)
1 small baby bok choy (rinsed and checked for bugs)
¼ to ½ lb. of fresh snow peas (rinsed and with the stringy vein removed)
3-4 fresh basil leaves (rinsed and checked for bugs)
¼ cup of sesame oil
3 green onions or scallions (sliced on a diagonal and divided into 2 portions)
½ cup of cashews
¼ to ½ cup of white wine
1 stalk fresh lemongrass (Pealed & sliced in half, then cut into quarters lengthwise)
¼ cup of fresh mango or pineapple (cubed and sliced)
I know there are quite a number of ingredients, but don’t let that intimidate you. This is really not too difficult. And by the way, if there are ingredients you don’t like or that you can’t get, no sweat, just leave them out. Remember this may be my version of an Asian stir-fry, but now you have to make it your version. And after all, you’re going to eat it, not me.
To begin, take the cubed turkey breast from KOL Foods and lightly dust with some salt and granulated garlic. Then put in either a shallow dish or a zipper bag and cover with the marinade. Be sure to reserve some of the marinade by itself. The turkey, (and yes, this will also work for chicken and/or thinly sliced beef like pepper steak), should sit in the marinade at least fifteen minutes to a half an hour. Better yet is overnight.
Now, start with either a large wok or a large flat saucepan. Over medium low heat, add the sesame oil and the onions, peppers and carrots. After about five to ten minutes of sautéing, they will start to get a bit soft, add the first half of the scallions along with the mushrooms. Now add a pinch or two of salt. The salt will help to pull the liquid out of the mushrooms. As the mushrooms start to release their liquid (after being in the pan for about three minutes) go ahead and add the sliced garlic cloves. You want to keep everything moving in the pan, hence the term stir-fry.
After another minute of sautéing, turn the heat up to medium/medium high. Pull all of the vegetables around the side of the pan. Add a bit more sesame oil to the center of the pan and then add the turkey. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Do not add any extra marinade . . . yet. Your goal at this stage is to get a bit of a glaze on the turkey.
Once the turkey is a bit glazed, add the white wine, the lemongrass and the basil. The basil should be rolled as you would roll a cigar, and then sliced as though you were making the rolled basil shorter and shorter. His is called a chiffonade cut (you didn’t know you were so fancy). Lower the heat back to medium low and then add some the remaining marinade that the turkey was marinating in. NOT the reserved marinade that had no turkey in it.
Let simmer for about five more minutes, and then add the bok choy, the snow peas and the mango or pineapple. Once the bok choy has wilted, add the cashews, a touch of grated ginger and turn the heat off. If you need more liquid, add some of the reserved (non poultry infected) marinade. Remove the stalks of lemon grass, as they are not something you want to eat, but they do add a lot of flavor. And you’re now ready to serve.
I serve over a bed of jasmine rice or you can use ramen noodles as well. Garnish with more cashews and some of the remaining scallions. Sometimes I will put a bit of fresh lemon grass as a garnish on top as well.
This is a great treat for the family. My kids go crazy for it. It should take you no more than an hour to prepare, cook and serve. And once you get the hang of it, you’ll be whipping out stir-fry dishes in twenty minutes, but you can still tell everyone that it took hours.
Enjoy and as my friend Wilber Williams is fond of saying . . . L’Chaim.