I am always nervous when I go to Asian restaurants. When I order something with a “house sauce” or even a “bean sauce,” I’m left wondering: what if they’ve added fish sauce? Or dried shrimp? Or God knows what else?
One night, I was craving some kind of stir fry. It was about 8pm, and it was just me and my Dad that night. We were set on going out, but couldn’t think of a good, satisfying Asian restaurant. I did a quick Google search on stir fry sauces, trying to see if it was possible to make one at home (of course, now in hindsight- what isn’t possible to make at home?). I hit search, and good Lord. Every single sauce I came across was different. Which one was the best one? Some used rice wine vinegar, some didn’t. Others used peanut butter, but some recommended a paste I hadn’t even heard of. After some more Googling, I decided rice wine vinegar would be necessary to use, and that I could just wing the other flavors. I told my Dad that we would head to Trader Joe’s for some ingredients. And on the drive to Trader Joe’s this Quinoa Stir Fry recipe was conceived. P.S. I’m not ashamed to admit that the Ginger-Garlic Bok Choy recipe was on the back of the Bok Choy box at Trader Joe’s.
You can replace quinoa with any other starch- brown/white rice and even noodles. I have yet to try this sauce on noodles! We picked quinoa because starches made out of flour are just plain unhealthy, so white rice/bread has pretty much been ousted in our household, and I’m pretty grateful for that.
This stir fry sauce is an amalgamation of at least 3 different online recipes, therefore I feel safe in calling this my own! It’s salty, a little sweet, spicy from the ginger, and coats the quinoa really well. And the best part: I know what’s going into it.
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon red chili flakes (less or more is up to you; I like it spicy!)
- 2-3 tablespoons honey OR agave
- 1 cup quinoa
- Your favorite stir fry vegetables (I used a box of precut stir fry vegetables from Trader Joe's. Very convenient!)
- 1 box of firm tofu, dried and cut into cubes.
- 6 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil (divided)
- 3-5 scallions, chopped
- Ground pepper to your taste
- Cook quinoa/your starch of choice according to package instructions. While that simmers away, add 3 tablespoons of oil to your pan and add the tofu. Cook on medium-high heat until it's golden on all sides. Drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Add the rest of the oil into the same pan and wait until the oil is hot. Stir fry means to cook on high heat for a short amount of time, so that's what we're going to try and do here. Add your vegetables and swish them around to coat in oil. Cook for 5-7 minutes. The vegetables will still be crunchy, which I love! Feel free to cook longer if you don't like crunchy vegetables.
- Add the tofu back in, as well as the sauce you made. Make sure to fluff the quinoa with a fork when it's done cooking and then add that to the pan with everything else. Top with scallions, and if you're me, more Sriracha!
- If you're wanting to cook the ginger-garlic bok choy: add 1 tablespoon of oil to a small pan. Add 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger and 1 garlic clove that's been minced. Cook for for about 30 seconds, add the bok choy to the pan, and add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover the pan and cook for about 6 minutes, until the bok choy is a bright green.