Asian Stir-fry

Boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
   -or- Lean beef, in very thin strips
   -or- shrimp, peeled and deveined
Vegetable oil
Soy sauce
Black pepper
Onion, diced
Carrots, cut into coins or matchsticks
Celery, cut up
Red, yellow, or orange pepper, diced (if desired)
Snow peas or sugar snaps
Broccoli florets, cut in bite-size pieces
Mushrooms, either fresh sliced or canned straw mushrooms (drained)
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained, juice reserved
1 can sliced bamboo shoots, drained, juice reserved
Cooked rice
1 can baby corn, drained
toasted sesame oil
sesame seeds
hot pepper or wasabi

Use a wok if you have one, otherwise a large skillet will do.

Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, sesame oil, or a mixture of the two in a wok. Add meat, stirring to coat with oil. Add a few dashes of soy sauce and pepper once meat begins to cook. Toss in onions and carrots, cook for a few minutes. Add celery and peppers and cook for a few minutes more. If fresh mushrooms are used, they may be added with the celery. If using canned, wait until the very end. Add broccoli, peas, and canned vegetables. Add more soy sauce if desired, and toss to coat.

Place about a tablespoon of cornstarch into an empty clean mug or measuring cup. Pour in 1/2 to 3/4 cup of COLD water, or the liquid from the canned vegetables, and stir to mix thoroughly. Pour into wok, and mix. Allow liquid to boil, stirring. Liquid should form a thin, gravy. Toss to coat. Serve over rice.

* * * Straw mushrooms are sometimes available with the asian ethic foods. They are tender and have a pleasant flavor. I use fresh crimini mushrooms rather than white button for a better flavor, as well. Use shitake if you like. The vegetable ingredients are variable, and this recipe lends itself well to most fresh vegetables. Summer squashes, radishes, and of course any asian vegetables may be used. To use bean sprouts, add them in the very last minute of cooking, or toss them in after removing from the heat for an even fresher, crispier texture and flavor. Bean sprouts should not be bought canned, or cooked very long, as they turn to mush.