Thai Vegetable Stir Fry

As the weather turns hot and humid, I find myself increasingly indecisive about what I want to eat. Maybe my cravings are scrambled by the constant passage from sweltering Bahrain streets to air-conditioned stores and hone; maybe it’s the explosive vegetation, or the expanse of summer produce suddenly available at the market. Regardless, summertime stresses me out—there’s just so much food out there, and I want all of it.

Thai food not only makes a stunning sight, laid out in a lavish, colorful spread, but the boldly sweet, sour, and spicy notes seem to physically lower my body temperature—even when the dishes themselves are fiery-hot. This particular recipe is quick, easy, and hot weather-friendly.  This super tasty Thai Vegetable Stir Fry is a delicious, easy to make meal that proves vegetables need not be boring or tasteless!

The massive variety of seasonal vegetables is enough to make this Stir Fry a very healthy, fibre loaded meal.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or purple onion,
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped,
1-2 thumb-size pieces ginger, sliced,
1/2 to 1 small fresh red chili, sliced, OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. chili flakes,
1 medium-size carrot, sliced,
5-6 mushrooms, sliced or left in halves or quarters,
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets,
1 red pepper, sliced into strips,
2-3 cups baby bok choy, or other Chinese cabbage (leaves left whole if not too large, otherwise cut in half or thirds),
handful fresh Thai basil,
2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
Stir-fry Sauce:
2/3 cup coconut milk,
2+1/2 tablespoons soy sauce,
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice,
1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili (chili flakes),
2+1/2 teaspoons brown sugar. 

Method:
-Combine ‘stir fry sauce’ ingredients together in a cup or bowl. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Taste-test, keeping in mind that the first taste should be spicy-salty, followed by sweetness and the rich taste of the coconut milk.
-Warm a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl around, then add the shallot/onion, garlic, ginger, and chili. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, then add the carrot, mushrooms, and cauliflower (if using). Also, add 1/4 of the stir-fry sauce. Continue stir-frying 2-3 minutes.
-Add the broccoli and red pepper plus enough sauce to gently simmer vegetables (about 2 minutes).
-Finally, add the bok choy or Chinese cabbage. Add more of the stir-fry sauce as needed, almost enough to just cover vegetables in sauce. Simmer until bok choy or cabbage is cooked.
-Remove from heat and taste-test. If not salty enough, add a little more soy sauce. If too salty or sweet, add a squeeze of lime juice. –Add more sugar or chili if desired. Top with fresh basil.

Serve over Thai jasmine rice or Thai coconut rice.

Variations: Great as a side dish, or make it into the main course by adding tofu, wheat gluten, cashews, shrimp or slices of chicken.

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