Homemade vegetarian stir-fried broccoli with carrot, potato in sweet and sour soy sauce, a side-dish or main dish just under 20 minutes
Autumn is my favorite time of the year for stir-fried dishes. Not only that they are so simple and easy to make, pleasantly healthy and deliciously versatile, they also give you the opportunity to let your creative streak shine. I did an Asian stir-fried beef noodles dish last week too if you want to check it out.
Another reason that I love stir-fried dish so much is that it's one of the few dishes that can’t go wrong. You only need to keep an eye on the dish and give a good stir or a dash of water every now and then to prevent the vegetables from burning.
You can add meat to your stir-fried dishes or just keep them exclusively vegetarian, they’re delicious either way.
You can toss in any mix of vegetables and stir-fry to your heart’s content. So play around with the colors, experiment with the interesting textures, discover the flavors and fragrance of your vegetables’ combination. You just need to let your stir-fry adventure begin and have fun!
When making stir-fried dishes I always love to have colorful veggies on my plate, to feast my eyes on. I also can’t resist the textures’ richness from veggies and legumes combination. The first ones give you slightly chewy crunchiness while the latter just melt into your mouth. For this dish I choose broccoli (healthy deep green florets, anyone?), carrot, potato and mushrooms. My friends and I used to prepare this stir-fried dish when we threw a cooking party and needed an emergency side-dish. This time, though, I add a sour twist to the sauce with apple cider vinegar. Let’s make a party of colors and textures, shall we?
Ingredients: (2 servings as a side-dish)
- 150 gr broccoli, dice into small chunks
- 100 gr or 1 medium carrot, cut diagonally and thinly
- 150 gr potato, cut diagonally and thinly
- 50 gr or 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
- 150 gr mushrooms, diced
- 1 clove of garlic and 1 small chunk of ginger root, minced
- Salt to taste
For the sauce:
- 1 and ½ tablespoons of honey
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- 10 tablespoons of water
- 1 tablespoon of corn starch/glutinous rice flour or like me, use kudzu root starch/flour
How to cook:
- Put in your pan a bit of vegetable oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is heated, add the minced garlic and ginger root and stir for 30 seconds or until they release their fragrance.
- Next add the carrot, potato and onion and stir now and then. Add a generous pinch of salt for them to be cooked faster. They should be cooked for 5 minutes at least, if you see that they’re about to get burned, add a dash of water, just a dash.
- When you wait for the legumes to be cooked, you can prepare the sauce (but don’t forget to give the legumes a good stir now and then). In a bowl add all the ingredients for the sauce except the starch/flour and mix until well-combined.
- When the carrot and potato are partially cooked, add the broccoli (florets and stem) and most of the sauce we prepared earlier (you must keep a bit of the sauce to dissolve the kudzu root starch in the next step). Again give them a good stir occasionally and let them cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add the kudzu root flour or corn starch to the rest of the sauce and stir to dissolve.
- Lastly add this sauce to the pan and stir for 30 seconds. If you use the kudzu root starch, it will thicken in 10 seconds. And we’re done! Serve this immediately with rice and main dish, or with rice only.
Do you often throw away the broccoli stem? You’re wasting good edible vegetable. Just cut around the stem and remove the hard cover, it is like the bark of the tree so we need to peel it off. Once you remove that layer, you will get to the core of the stem which is even softer than the broccoli florets and it tastes even sweeter. You can cut it diagonally and thinly for this dish.
As with all green veggies, keep the lid off when you cook broccoli for it to keep the delicious deep green color.
You don’t have to add the apple cider vinegar and because of that you can use less honey and soy sauce. This way the dish will taste naturally sweet from the carrot and onion.
A small cultural tidbit about the kudzu root starch:
The kudzu root starch is made from the root of kudzu, a beloved plant in East Asia. Eastern medicine believes this starch to have anti-inflammatory and detoxing effects, it can regulate high blood pressure, reduce fever and is a boost for your kidney and liver. It is very sought-after in Vietnam. This starch can be consumed raw in lemonade or cooked into compote, it can also be used to thicken Vietnamese desserts or soup/sauce like I use for this dish.
I read that the practice of growing this plant was spread widely in the US in the 90s' but because it grew so fast and so strong it became a menace to other plants. And so these days it is much harder to find kudzu root starch in the US, and it's pricier.
Unfortunately it’s rare to find kudzu starch here in France as well. I did a scourge of the kudzu here 2 years back, from supermarkets to online stores to Asian stores without any luck. And then finally after some months I stumbled upon it in an organic grocery store where they sell 100 gr of kudzu flour for 8 euros! Needless to say, I didn’t buy it from the organic store. The kudzu root flour that I’m using is brought from Vietnam from my trip there.
If you can find this starch for a reasonable price, you’d do well to bring it home. It is healthier than corn starch, doesn’t alter other ingredients’ tastes and is versatile so it will let your creative streak soar. By the way, if you happen to know where to buy kudzu root starch for a reasonable price here in France, I'm all ears.
A melting pot experience, in more than one way. Welcome to our Epicurean adventure!