Do you know Donna Hay? Sort of the Ina Garten cum Martha Stewart of Australia? Longtime doyenne of beautiful and luscious down under recipes, best-selling author of 26 cookbooks, editor-in-chief of donna hay magazine with nearly 600,000 subscribers; she’s a cook and writer worthy of your attention.
A few days ago, a lovely Donna recipe, Super Green Stir Fry, flew across my fb feed. My eye was caught; my mouth nearly watered. It was SO green. It did have rice noodles, though….but no meat! Probably Meatless Monday, hm? I was going to make it. Just like that. Except I’d been dreaming about a fish stir fry for Friday Fish. But I hadn’t yet figured it out. Dave, the best sous husband said, “Don’t you mean shrimp??” “Nope,” I said. “I mean fish.” Why couldn’t a famous woman like Donna help a home cook out?
If you’re not familiar with Australian recipes, there’s a little translating to do here and there. No, the recipes are, indeed, in English but ingredients may not look or be named exactly the same. For instance, I don’t know what “English spinach” is. Or which type of “chilli” she means. Living in southwest Colorado, we have any number of chiles. “Asian Chilli Jam” isn’t in our stores but “Sweet Chili Sauce” is easily located. Ingredients are often listed by weight as in “200G ENOKI MUSHROOMS.” I sometimes really wish there were world-wide standards for writing recipes or at least that the U.S. would go metric, dear Lord. But these are small things and they’re often interesting. I have a food scale (for which I’m daily grateful) and I just weighed what I needed to using the gram button. Or I googled it. 250G of spinach (English spinach, that is) is 1/2 pound. And off I went. Except how did I add fish? In this case, I had decided on salmon.
I thought about how long one-inch pieces of salmon would take to cook. Not long, but I wasn’t totally sure. Even a salmon fillet, depending on its size, can be done in under 8 minutes. How much would I need? I had a little less than half a side of salmon and it looked like a lot. I asked Dave to cut off the tail portion (I’d throw it in a skillet to cook it for a salad) and to weigh, skin, and chop what was left. About 1/2 pound looked right. I elected to add it right before the chilli bean paste….wait there’s another one. I’m hoping that translated to Gochujang and though I didn’t have any of the paste, I had the Gochujang Sauce from Trader Joes that would have to suffice. I wasn’t driving to the store again. Ok…let’s go back to right after the “chilli bean paste”…because that would give no more than 3 minutes for the fish to be cooked through and hopefully have drawn up some of the perfect flavors of ginger, garlic, onions, soy, and all the rest.
Luckily I guessed right. Because who wants overcooked fish? Not I, said the _____. You know “The Little Red Hen” story, don’t you? The fish was unceremoniously dumped in (best sous husband had chopped it and put it in a plastic bag in the fridge ready for the exact moment I’d need it), the rest of the vegetables were added, and they cooked another minute or so. Maybe a little longer because my fresh spinach, not to be confused with either English spinach or baby spinach, was big. I had trimmed it and cut in half, but there you go. It took an extra 30 seconds.
EVERYTHING ELSE MUST BE READY BEFOREHAND IF YOU’RE COOKING STIR FRY. My brown rice (going with whole grains), which takes 45 minutes plus resting time, was done. My bowl plates were warmed in the oven — everything is cold in 2 minutes flat in Colorado — and my wine was poured. I plated the rice, spooned the stir fry on top, garnished it with sliced jalapeños (the chiles I could find) along with a generous couple of spoonfuls of Sweet Chili Sauce and –what else –cilantro.
Did that sound fast? It was incredibly so. And it will be, too, when you try this:
Salmon Stir Fry
- 1 cup brown rice-takes 45 minutes to cook
- 2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 3 large plump cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
- ½ pound asparagus, trimmed well and sliced in 1-inch pieces (leave tips whole)
- 4 green onions, sliced thinly
- ½ pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black or white pepper
- 8- ounce fillet of salmon, without skin, cut into 1-inch cubes or pieces
- 1 tablespoon Gochujang sauce
- 2 tablespoons light Soy Sauce
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 cup thawed mukimame (edamame out of its shell)
- 4- ounces large bella mushrooms, sliced thinly – or other mushrooms you like
- ½ pound fresh spinach, trimmed and chopped roughly unless using baby spinach
- 1 jalapeño, trimmed and seeded, sliced very thinly–optional
- Sweet Chili Sauce-for serving
- Cilantro leaves, for serving
- PREP 1: Make Rice. Add 1 cup brown rice and 1 ¾ cups water to a 2-quart pot with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch each salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook 45 minutes or until rice is tender. Let rest covered 10 minutes or until needed. Prep 2: Place bowls in a 200F oven to warm. Prep 3: Stir together the Gochujang sauce, soy sauce, and water in a small cup; set aside. Prep 4: Toss together the salmon with a sprinkle of salt and pepper; set aside.
- HEAT OIL in a 5-quart sauté pan or wok over high flame for a minute and add the ginger and garlic, cooking it for a minute. Watch your hands –the ginger pops up.
- ADD THE ASPARAGUS, ONIONS, AND GREEN BEANS. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for another minute. ADD THE SEASONED, RESERVED SALMON. Stir briefly.
- ADD THE RESERVED GOCHUJANG SAUCE MIXTURE and cook for a minute or two, stirring.
- ADD THE EDAMAME, MUSHROOMS, AND SPINACH, sprinkle again lightly with salt and pepper; stir and cook until spinach is barely wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings. More soy sauce? Gochujang Sauce?
- SERVE HOT on top of a scoop of brown rice (3/4 cup), garnished with ¼ cup Sweet Chili Sauce (or more to taste), sliced jalapeños (if using), and fresh cilantro. Store leftovers tightly covered in refrigerator for two days. Reheat slowly in a nonstick skillet over low flame. If reheating rice, make sure it's reheated to 160 F. Do not freeze.
TIP: Decrease preparation time by using microwave brown rice.
LIFE GOES ON:
I have a great time with a fb group, begun by the smart and fun Dorie Greenspan, called BAKE AND TELL; of course I tossed that bread picture up there after baking it on Monday. If you’d like to join in the baking fun to see what others are baking or sighing over (we share disasters, and answer baking questions,too), check it out here.
Thanks for stopping in my kitchen; you’re always welcome.
Spring may be in Colorado for a few days. Hope you’re enjoying it wherever you are–or fall if you’re in Australia like Donna!
below: Tucker (left) and Rosie (right) waiting for PRIME to drive by. After all, there might be treats in that box. You can see how badly we need rain in Colorado.