Something that I take great pride in with my blog is writing the best recipes I can. I iterate many times until I find one that is delicious, and if I can’t get to a level I deem “blog ready” it may never see light. The origins of this blog have always been rooted in two things: writing the best possible recipes and learning as I go (hence cooking by feel). Over two years into my culinary adventure, I can say that today I am a much improved cook than when I began. I’ve really learned how to think about flavors and how they interact; how to mix acidity, salt, fat and sweetness and do it in an easy to follow recipe.
As such, I’m starting a new series on the blog of revisiting some of my first recipes and updating them. I’ll be trying to improve them and taking better photos (another area where I feel I have progressed a lot!). This is the first recipe which I will improve: Honey Soy Stir Fry. I’ve improved the marinade & sauce, made a few ingredient substitutions and streamlined the cooking process. I will leave the original recipe up as a bit of a historical artifact. Below, I leave the introduction (mostly) the same and update the recipe. I hope you give the new version a try!
I began cooking when I was in highschool. I grew up a chubby kid, but when I reached highschool I joined the ultimate frisbee team. I went from essentially doing no exercise to two hour practices five days a week. In the process, I lost a bit of weight and became interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I started reading books about how to eat well and about the modern food industry as a whole.
Soon, I had cut red meat out of my life and was contemplating going vegetarian. The environmental impact of the meat industry weighed heavily on my conscience and I decided to make the plunge into vegetarianism. I was the only one in my family to go vegetarian (I am now happy to report that most of my family is now also vegetarian) and thus I ended up having to learn how to cook around the same time.
A stir fry was one of the first meals I began to make regularly. It was simple, delicious and healthy. I’ve never stopped making stir-frys, however I think my stir-frys have gotten substantially better. Think of this recipe as a guide, it can be modified to your liking. Prefer different vegetables, change ’em! Prefer noodles instead of rice, go for it. I hope you enjoy this nostalgic dish!
Active time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1oz dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 ½ cups raw brown rice, cooked via preferred method
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- ¼ low sodium soy sauce
- ½ tbsp dark miso paste
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger paste
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
- ½ napa cabbage, cut into thin bands
- Neutral oil, for cooking
- 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
- Green onions & sesame seeds, to top
- A few hours before beginning to cook, start with a bit or prep work. Soak the shiitake mushrooms in room temperature water. Press the tofu and cook the brown rice. The mushrooms should take about 1-2 hours to fully rehydrate, but can soak for much longer if you wish to start them in the morning.
- Now, when it is time to begin cooking the meal, begin with the tofu marinade: whisk together the soy sauce, miso paste, sriracha, ginger paste and honey. Cut the tofu into small cubes and marinate them in a shallow dish.
- Pour the liquid out from the rehydrating mushrooms and gently squeeze them to remove excess liquid(save the soaking water if you want a delicious mushroom broth!). Remove the stems and cut the caps into quarters. Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet on medium heat (I use a large dutch oven for this recipe as combining it all at the end yields a lot of food). Add a drizzle of oil and add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and then set aside.
- Now another touch of oil and add in the onion, bell peppers and broccoli. Add a pinch of salt, however be cognisant of the fact that the sauce will be fairly salty. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 3-4 minutes then add in the napa cabbage. Cook for an additional 4-6 minutes and let the cabbage cook down. The vegetables should be soft but maintain a bit of crunch. Once complete, set aside with mushrooms
- Turn the heat up to medium high and add enough oil to the bottom to thinly cover the whole surface. Add the tofu cubes using a slotted spoon to keep the marinade separate. Cook, flipping occasionally for about 10 minutes until there is a nice crisp layer on the outside.
- While the tofu is cooking make the sauce. Add the additional soy sauce, sriracha, ginger paste, rice vinegar, sesame oil and garlic to the tofu marinade and stir to combine.
- Once the tofu is cooked to your liking, add the vegetables back into the same pan. Pour the sauce over and combine over medium low heat. Add the rice and the cilantro in as well, and stir to combine. Taste for salt levels and adjust accordingly. Serve in large bowls with thinly sliced green onions and sesame seeds to top. Enjoy!