Believe it or not, I’m convinced that the base you are about to become privy to…is in fact, the perfect base for any stir fry. In this recipe, I’m going to focus on a seafood version. However, I’ve used this base for chicken, rib-eye, hot Italian sausage and all kinds of creative endeavors when it comes to stir fry. Out of all the types of food I make, the wok is the most awesome tool for making simple, yet elegant dishes. I know that Sam Betty thinks he’s the real talent and he may be right in many ways but my Asian flare style of cooking is most likely unbeatable. I’ve even used this base when it comes to coconut curry dishes. It’s all about making sure you layer your flavors and this base is so flavorful that when you layer it with pad Thai or green curry the end result is nothing less than mouth watering.
For the base you will need some very basic ingredients:
1. Rice Vinegar
2. Soy Sauce
3. Fish Sauce
5. Freeze Dried Shrimp (It just gives it that unique salty flavor – however for those of you that are allergic to shrimp…the first 4 ingredients will do).
We’ll do this dish for 2 people, so the breakdown goes like this.
1 part fish sauce to
1.5 part Vinegar to
5 part soy to
5 part sugar
Let’s make each part a table spoon, for ease. However, the measurements will change depending on the end result of the stir fry. For curries, you will want to break down the table spoon to a teaspoon. Not that you will end up with a disaster otherwise, however you break down the measurements….but keep in mind that the volume of each ingredient in the base should stay consistent with the above mentioned formula.
So, about this seafood stir fry. The seafood ingredients are mussels, shrimp and tilapia. Other ingredients would be chili garlic sauce, freshly minced garlic, onions, Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning and a few vegetables of choice. Also, in this dish we have carrots, asparagus and broccoli. A quick word about the freshly minced garlic. I know that you can buy a jar of minced garlic. And if I said I didn’t have one of those jars in my fridge I’d be lying. However, I roll my eyes whenever I use it. There is nothing that can replace freshly minced garlic. I know it’s a pain in the tush but the end result is much more desirable.
1 quarter pound mussel and shrimp and Tilapia
1 pound of vegetables mixed
I’d say the more garlic the better. So, for two people I’d mince a half clove of garlic (fresh that is). Then about a half an onion…julienne style.
1. 3 table spoons of Olive Oil in a wok.
2. Let it warm and then toss in the beautiful freshly minced garlic.
3. After a few minutes put the onions in.
4. Start spicing it baby. Put some seasonings on the garlic and onion as they sizzle. Again this is about preference but a nice salty flavor is the desired result. If you so chose to use some freeze dried shrimp then this is the time and place as well. You would only need a few ounces….8 little shrimps or so.
5. After the aroma starts to waft about the kitchen (5 minutes) start thinking about your vegetables. Depending on which ones you’ve chosen some will take longer to cook than others, you have to cook them in order. In this dish we are using carrots, asparagus and broccoli. The carrots would take the longest so they go first. Let them cook for about 5 more minutes and then broccoli. After 3 minutes of the broccoli then the asparagus. Keep in mind, when you cook in the wok you must constantly whip the food around in order to get an even cook. You can’t just sit around the house and stir it up every so often, this is an action dish.
6. Now comes the base. We decided that early on we would make this based on table spoons. So, 1 table spoon of fish sauce, 1.5 table spoons of vinegar, 5 table spoons of soy sauce and 5 table spoons of sugar. Mix it up nicely. The flavors will begin to meld.
7. Cook the base into the vegetables for about 5 minutes.
8. Seafood cooks fast. And of the 3 ingredients we are using, Tilapia will need the longest time to cook…but not by much. So toss in the fish. Cook it for about 3 minutes and then the mussels. Again for about 3 minutes and now the shrimp. Once the shrimp are done, so will everything else be done.
Congratulations on one fantastic dish! If you are making this for you lady friend…it’s on tonight!