You can use just about any combination of vegetables you like. I chose these for flavor, texture, color, and the fact that they’re all available right now. Once they’re in season, pea pods would be a wonderful substitution for the green beans, as would asparagus. No reason you couldn’t add a couple of fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes, too. Even tomatillos. And the addition of both lime juice and zest to the mushrooms while soaking them adds a deep brightness. Serve it over rice, or your favorite blend of legumes (lentils, dried peas, etc.). I plan to serve it tonight over udon noodles. Whichever you choose, be sure to factor in its cooking time. The vegetable stir-fry comes together in about 10 minutes.
Leftovers will have you the envy of the lunchroom. To reheat in a microwave, hopefully one that doesn’t smell of burning chocolate and plastic, add a little vegetable stock or water, and cover.
LIMEY-GINGER VEGETABLE STIR-FRY
1/2 cup dried shitake mushrooms
12 ounces boiling water
Zest & juice of 1 lime
Sesame, peanut, or coconut oil
1 yellow onion, 1″ cubes OR 1 bunch scallions, 2″ pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
2 carrots, peeled & trimmed, 1/4″ thick circles
Handful of green beans, stem ends removed, 2″ slices
2 stalks celery, trimmed, 1/4″ thick slices
Handful of broccolini, stems trimmed only at the ends, halved lengthwise, 2″ pieces
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Sambal olek (red chili paste) to taste
Retained liquid from soaking mushrooms
Sea or kosher salt & pepper to taste
Cilantro or fresh basil for garnish
Wedges of lime for garnish
- Transfer mushrooms to a heatproof bowl. Add the boiling water, lime juice, and zest. Stir. Cover bowl with a plate to retain the heat.
- Film the bottom of a wok or a deep sauté pan with oil. Heat over medium heat until hot (it will ripple, or shimmer), add the yellow onion. If using scallions, add them later, with the bell pepper. Sauté until softened slightly and very fragrant. Add garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant with their wonderful aromas.
- Add carrots and green beans sauté for about 2 minutes. As they release their water, you may need to increase the heat to medium-high. You want to drive off moisture in order to concentrate flavors.
- Drain mushrooms, being sure to retain their liquid. Add them along with the celery, broccolini, bell pepper, and scallions if using. Continue to sauté for 2 or 3 more minutes. Vegetables should be warmed through.
- Add the mushroom soaking liquid and cook until about half of it has been reduced.
- Season with sambal olek (start with a little bit!), salt and pepper.
- Serve as you choose. Garnish generously with cilantro or basil and a wedge of lime.