This is for Q. It’s a quick-to-make and yummy meal with great reheat potential.
- A goodly amount of green beans
- A chicken breast (or 2 if you want to go meat-heavy), may substitute tofu, shrimp, squid, or white mushrooms
- Optional: white mushrooms, halved
- Some garlic [I use vodka garlic; see note below] – about 1tbsp
- Some ginger [I use vodka ginger] – about 1tbsp
- A can of Prik Khing curry paste (chili and garlic flavor)
- Sesame oil
- 2tbsp vegetable oil
- Fish sauce (I like Red Boat #42)
- Optional: raw red bell pepper cut into thin slices as garnish
- Optional: cilantro as garnish
Rinse and pick the green beans; break off the ends and snap them in half.
Cut the chicken/shimp/tofu to desired-size chunks (for chicken I cut strips about 1 1/2″ long and 1/2″ wide)
Chop the garlic and ginger together
Put the green beans in the microwave for about 6-8 minutes, depending on how powerful your microwave is. You want the beans to be softened slightly but not dehydrated. Alternatively, you can steam the beans, though microwaving them preserves their flavor better and keeps whatever little nutrients are in the beans.
While the beans are microwaving, put vegetable oil in wok and bring up the heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir until they begin to sizzle and smell. Do not brown the garlic/ginger. [I have also sometimes added chopped red indian chili peppers for people who really like it hot; danger: oil frying red peppers can make them quite overpowering!]
Add the chicken and stir it in with the ginger/garlic oil. Stir it around to cook the chicken (when the chicken turns white)
Open the can of Prik Khing and add to the wok; stir to coat the chicken. If you want to add mushrooms, this is a good time to toss them in, too.
Take the steaming hot beans out of the microwave and add them to the wok; toss everything together.
Add 1-2 tbsp of sesame oil, and 2 tbsp of fish sauce; stir it all up.
Serve garnished with optional shredded red pepper, cilantro, or toasted sesame seeds.
I have been known to make large batches of this stuff and eat it for breakfast, cold or hot it matters not and it holds up well in the fridge. If you’re planning on working hard all day and coming home exhausted, you can make a batch of this in the morning and reheat it in the evening.
In case you are not familiar with the technique of making vodka garlic/ginger: keep 2 nalgene bottles in your fridge full of cheap vodka. Whenever you have more garlic than you use in a dish, peel the garlic cloves and toss them in the bottle of vodka. Peel some ginger, slice it into chunks, and toss them in the other bottle of vodka. Now, whenever you need fresh-tasting garlic or ginger, but don’t feel like peeling it, you can just fish it out of the vodka and use it. I’ve kept ginger this way for up to a year (I make a point of running the supply down and dumping the vodka and washing the bottle) and garlic for years, as well. The garlic vodka is a great thing to add to popcorn butter, or pasta water, or anything else that needs a little whiff of garlic. I often make buttered pasta, and add a tablespoon of garlic vodka to the bowl before I stir in the cheese. I consider maintenance of vodka garlic/ginger/red peppers(or habaneros) to be an essential kitchen technique. There, now I have ruined the secret.
The wok I use I bought for $0.25 at the Johns Hopkins University Fair in 1974. It’s been to Pennsic on the back of my motorcycle, and it’s been to camping events and fine dinners. It’s probably the most-used quarter dollar purchase of my life. I wonder what kind of steel it is… Hey, if I made a mandrel for the lathe I could make a damascus wok… No.