Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lesson 1: The Unassuming, but Possibly Dangerous Stir Fry

How does one begin a food blog? One could, of course, begin at the beginning, but then for that one would have to start with the big bang (or possibly before, if you are particular about details and such). One could. But that would be boring. and not to mention hardwork. So one will just jump right in someplace, and get on with it.

Introductions, you ask? We are people of the experiment-with-food kinds. We also think hyphens are cool. Since we have that out of the way, let's move on to the cooking part, shall we?

So, this is one of the healthiest (or so we like to think), easiest things to make. And what’s more, it is an original recipe. Which means that we did not look this up from anywhere, does not mean that we're the first or the only ones to think of this. A thing so simple as this, must have occurred to every lazy cook in some form, sometime. If it didn’t, then boo for you.

The beauty of this is that it is really a highly versatile dish. It can be as simple or as complex as one’s mood dictates. So, let us try to begin, as they say, at the very beginning (again). Of course, things can turn a rather prolific, Ferris wheel kind of turn in the middle. Just saying, not to scare you or anything.

So, presenting, ladies and gentlemen, for your perusa

The Stir Fry 1.0

You will need:

1 tomato (not too ripe, firmish)

1 bell pepper (green, yellow, red, go nuts)

1 onion (the unassuming pink variety, of average build)

1 carrot (orange ones, the fresher the better)

7-8 beans (We like them French. You could use the flat, tasteless ones too. After all, you are going to be eating it, and who are we to judge?)

Garlic cloves (the number depends on how much or how little you like the thing. We usually go for about 6-7, you could reduce/increase depending on the intensity of your love. Do not do away with it entirely though.)

Ginger (one half inch piece. Thickness of your thumb, if you are the thin kind. Index finger, if you are of the khatha-peeta kandhan kinds.)

Chilly flakes (crush 2-3 dry red chillies if you don’t have the habit of stocking up left over packets from pizza dinners.)

Oregano and basil (learn to stock seasoning, people! Really!)

Pepper (preferably crushed, not ground/powdered. If you don’t like pepper, we are not talking to you anymore.)

Okay, so once you have all of the above, you begin with the basics, which in this case is a frying pan (preferably a flat bottomed one). You add about 1-2 tablespoons of oil to it. Wait for exactly 5 seconds, then add the chopped garlic into it. Stir, keep at it till it turns the mildest shade of brown. Then you add the chopped ginger to it, stir (NOT very rigorously) for another 10 secs. Once that is done, you add the onion (which by now you should have chopped into this 1 cm square kind of pieces--remember, we use big chunky pieces for stir fry, chopping it too finely means that the veggies get overcooked, and eventually become one gooey, brown slush with some coloured bits in it. NOT what we are aiming for).

Once you add the onion, toss it about (with a spatula that is) for some 10-15 secs. Stand back, take in that glorious aroma that wafts up. Once you have enjoyed that for another 5 secs, add the beans (which you should cut through the center, and then into 1 inch long pieces), stir for 10 secs, then add the bell peppers and the carrot. Once the whole thing has been stirred for another 10 secs, change heat to medium, add the herbs, chilly flakes, and salt, mix and let it stand for maybe another 10 secs. Finally, add the tomatoes (cut the same way as the bell peppers and the onion), give it all a healthy tossing around, so that the veggies look sauteed and shiny, but not dead tired, then add the crushed/powdered pepper and take it off the fire immediately.

Add mint leaves, and ta da! you are done!

Now that we have the basics ready, time for the Ferris- wheel to turn. The beauty of the stir fry is that you can add whatever you want into it- like meat for instance. You can get cold cuts (thank god for supermarkets), add those after the onions, and then proceed with the rest like nothing happened. You could do the same with sausages. Or even tuna, if you like the taste of canned tuna (We don't, but like we said, we don't judge.) You could also add grated cheese, you could add other veggies (things that cook easily--cabbage, lettuce (if you are adding lettuce, add it at the very very very end, along with the pepper), spinach (again, add towards the end), corn (removed from the cob), potatoes (make sure you boil them first, unless you like your vegetables on the rocks)).

Once you get the hang of it, you could even experiment with radical things like left-over dinner, lobsters and crab (the world could be your oyster. Oooh, you could even add oysters). We have never tried the last three, probably with good reason, but hey! what good is experimenting unless you get to blow a few things up.

On that good smoke, it's time for our take- off.


  1. I demand the recipe to be repeated once more at an early morning hour and packed to office for a quality check; heeee :-)

  2. Dear Potatoes,

    Thank you for the recipe. I plan to try this sooner rather than later. Only one question - is it OK to skip the 'getting the hang of it' part and move directly to the 'radical, unspeakable' part of the recipe? (Yes, I realise unspeakable was not part of the original recipe, but since we are experimenting…)

    Sincere blog-follower since the beginning,

  3. What the hell??? Your very first recipe is full of veggies!!! Please have some consideration for poor souls like me! And yeah... if this is a continuation of the great Onam conspiracy... I will.. I will.. aaaaarrrgggghh.. never mind!! ;D

  4. @ Prabha

    ah, as the first commentator, your demand shalt be considered. (and promptly brushed under the stove :P)

    @ Preethi,

    We say jump right in. And send us pics. Extra ketchup on your next order, if the pics include firemen

    @ Pritha,

    Ah, you should wait for two weeks. We are trying out to figure when the most succulent rabbits can be found in this side of town.

    Random question to the cosmos: Is there a reason why all our commentators are P-people?

  5. This post has inspired me to enter the dreaded kitchen! Yay! :D
    And although I wanted to comment after I am done trying the recipe, I Had to comment right away to break the P-monotony. :P

  6. yaar this totally rox..pls keep up the good wrk..i hv 4wrded d link to a lot of ppl who cant tell a spoon from a ladle...keep writing pls :)

  7. @ Shweta,

    More power to you for breaking the P-monotony (Ponotony?). But please, by all means, try the recipe and comment again. We are generous that way.

    @ Bhavna

    Thank thee for the kind words and the free publicity. May you have lots of good food to eat in life. But be nice to folks who cant tell a spoon from a ladle (we can't, either), ladles are people too!

  8. Potatoes!

    Are you'll out saving the world? Post new recipes soonly!

  9. @ Preethi

    New post coming. In a day or three. Meanwhile, can we interest you in some photographs?

  10. I can certify that the blog is indeed helpful for a certain kind of scientists, as food on rockets and canteens of institutes are really very bad.
    More posts please

  11. Was waiting for the pics :D awesomeness!

  12. @ ScrewDriver

    You are kind :)

    @ Anamika and medusa

    The photographers are much obliged!