There is no denying that this is a fast-paced world. Stressful and demanding jobs, erratic work hours, rush-hour traffic… in short, people no longer have too much time to spend in the kitchen, yet they want a healthy and well-balanced diet that will enhance their productivity. For those of you in search of such healthy alternatives, stir-frying is the best option.
Stir-fries are filling and wholesome one-pan dishes that can easily replace calorie-packed meals! They are usually made by tossing, cooking or sautéing ingredients in a wok or pan, with very little oil on a high heat for a very short time. Stir-frying is essentially a cooking technique, and contrary to the misconception that stir-fries are synonymous with Thai or Chinese cooking, the cooking technique can be applied even to our own subzis, making them healthier and more interesting in taste.
Stir-fries score high on the health factor. Since they are cooked fast and with very little oil, there is minimal nutrient loss. The nutrients and flavours of the ingredients are retained just as the colour and texture are preserved.
Stir-frying is not only a healthy method of cooking but also a very creative one, as it allows the use of a variety of ingredients like vegetables, fruits, paneer, tofu, sprouts etc. and various flavouring agents like sauces, ginger, garlic etc. Almonds, peanuts, just use your imagination and toss in whatever you think will taste good! There really is no limit to what you can do with a wok, and an assortment of vegetables, spices and sauces.
Here’s a collection of well-chosen and well-tested recipes just right for you to kick-start a new, healthy and tasty cooking routine. So, put on your aprons, fire your imagination, toss in the ingredients and stir up a delightful fare for your family and yourself!
CAPSICUM AND BEAN SPROUTS STIR-FRY SOUP
A simple yet healthy and refreshing soup with capsicums and bean sprouts.
Preparation time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 6 minutes. Serves 4.
1 tbsp oil
½ cup thinly sliced onions
½ red capsicum, cut into thin strips
½ cup bean sprouts
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander (dhania)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1.Put 3 cups of water to boil.
2.Heat the oil in a wok, add the onions and sauté on a high flame for a couple of minutes.
3.Add the red capsicum and bean sprouts and sauté for a couple of more minutes.
4.Add the hot water, coriander, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for a few more minutes.
STIR-FRY INDIAN RICE
Mildly spiced rice, with select vegetables, curds and cheese, which can be made very quickly.
Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes. Serves: 4.
3 tbsp oil
½ cup sliced onions
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
½ cup sliced capsicum
½ cup chopped tomatoes
3 cups cooked long grain rice
2 tbsp fresh curds (dahi), beaten
¼ cup grated cheese
Salt to taste
1.Heat the oil in a wok, add the onions and garlic and stir-fry for a couple of seconds.
2.Add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, capsicum and tomatoes and stir-fry for a few minutes.
3.Add the cooked rice, curds, cheese and salt and stir-fry for a few more minutes.
Often, just the aroma of pineapple is enough to get your taste buds revving so enjoy this spicy combination of pineapple and mixed vegetables.
Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 5 minutes. Serves 4.
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp dry red chilli flakes
½ cup pineapple cubes
½ cup carrot cubes, boiled
½ cup zucchini cubes, boiled
½ cup bean sprouts
½ cup blanched baby corn, cut into 25mm. (1”) pieces
½ cup shredded cabbage
½ red capsicum, cut into cubes
½ cup thinly sliced spring onion whites
Salt to taste
½ cup finely chopped spring onion greens
½ cup fresh pineapple juice
2 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp sugar
1.Heat the oil in a wok on a high flame, add the chilli flakes, pineapple, carrot, zucchini, bean sprouts, baby corn, cabbage, capsicum, spring onion whites and salt and stir-fry on a high flame for 3 to 4 minutes.
2.Add the spring onion greens, pineapple juice, soya sauce and sugar and stir-fry for 3 to 4 more minutes.