Chinese medicine is absolutely fascinating to me, and so is Eastern food. Growing up with Italian roots, I can produce a delicious and healthful tomato sauce from scratch, but I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to replicate that classic Thai flavor without success. I may have sampled every bottled Asian sauce in my local grocery store, and to no avail, just can not replicate it. Besides that, most of those bottles contain unhealthy additives and preservatives.
Why is it that the greed of an entire society, an entire healthcare system, an entire industrialized food system continues to manifest, most notably in our hospitals, in our military, and for goodness sake in our own children’s school lunch system. We complain that nobody is doing anything about it, place blame on the President or on the “system” itself. Instead, we need to start in our own homes; first by understanding how and why the corruption exists. Then we need to remember that we, the American citizens, control supply and demand. If you forego the bottled stuff and focus on the most important part of the meal, the farm fresh vegetables, your body and your family will thank you. Somehow, I think the Eastern countries already know that the human body naturally balances its optimal weight when it is nourished properly. Diet fads and diet systems, along with food industry marketing techniques trick us into thinking their way is the right way, and that is precisely why someone who may have lost weight following the latest fad will tend to gain it back a short time later. It’s not about diet, it’s about re-educating yourself on how important nutrition is to overall well being.
While my quest to replicate Pad Thai thus far has failed miserably, at least I was successful in cooking up a good stir fry. Maybe it’s the tamarind paste or another obscure ingredient that you just can’t find easily in Berks County (if you can make Pad Thai from scratch, I encourage you to tweet to me @KateMurrayPA; I just might feature your recipe in a future column!) In the meantime, check out those coconut aminos…an incredible flavor enhancer to kick up your stir fry from ordinary to extraordinary! This once “obscure” ingredient can now easily be found in the organic condiment section at your local Giant.
1 medium onion
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 red and 1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 yellow squash
1 small head of broccoli
1 cup water
1 tbsp. arrow root powder (thickener)
1 tbsp. fresh ginger root (I use a cheese grater for an ultra fine consistency. Remove the skin before grating)
2 minced cloves of garlic
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup coconut aminos
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. blackstrap molasses
This meal is great for a week night because it literally takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. Start by steaming your rice or grain of choice since that will take the longest. (Hint: To make the process go faster, I separately steam the carrots for 7 minutes and then add them to the stir fry already cooked.) In a wok or stir-fry pan, caramelize the onions and peppers over medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes, then add the broccoli, carrots and squash. In a separate saucepan, whisk the water and arrow root powder first until it is dissolved, then add the rest of the ingredients, continuing to whisk over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Once thickened, pour over vegetables and allow to marinate for another 5-10 minutes. Serve over rice. Chopsticks optional!