The first time I made this spring stir fry for my family, I had “back-ups” on the table for our youngest three (9 years-old and two 5-year-olds).
Much to my surprise, I didn’t need bread or cheese to coax them into this stir fry. It probably helped that I made the sambal optional, simply adding it to my own bowl instead of the sauce itself.
This spring stir fry can be made with any assortment of spring veggies (turnips, radishes, asparagus, peas, carrots, broccoli) and spring greens (arugula, radish greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, Swiss chard, kale, spinach, mizuna). I made this recipe with what I had fresh from our farm, plus some ginger root I bought at the grocery store.
My top three tips for creating a delicious stir fry both in taste and texture are:
- Prepare all your ingredients ahead of time. Once you start cooking in the wok, there will be no time for last minute chopping. You want the veggies just barely cooked, tender and never mushy.
- Don’t skimp on the seasonings. Garlic, ginger, onions, shallots–whichever of these you use as your stir fry base–really cannot be overdone.
- Eat immediately. Stir fry is best HOT.
I serve this stir fry over hot jasmine rice, topped with toasted sesame seeds and chopped chives.
One last thought. At first glance, this recipe will look like a lot of prep. If you’re used to chopping veggies, however, the prep goes pretty quickly.
Spring Stir Fry
- wok or skillet, chef's knife, cutting board
- 2 cups jasmine or basmati white rice
- 3 cups chicken broth or water
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger root minced
- 1 bunch sweet turnips with greens (8-10 oz) thinly slice turnips (1 1/2 cups) / rough chop greens
- 1/4 pound arugula or other green rough chopped
- 1/2 pound asparagus slice stalks into 1" pieces (1 1/2 cups) / keep tips intact
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Stir Fry Sauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp sambal optional
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds toasted
- 1/4 cup chives or scallions chopped
- Cook rice in chicken broth or water.
- Whisk together sauce ingredients. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in wok or large skillet over medium high heat until oil is hot.
- Add garlic and ginger. Stir fry about 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Add turnips and asparagus. Stir fry until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add chopped greens. Stir fry about 1 minute, until greens wilt.
- Whisk the sauce, making sure to fully reincorporate the corn starch. Add sauce to stir fry and stir from the bottom of the wok or skillet as you bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce thickens and the vegetables are well-coated and shiny.
- Serve immediately over rice. Top with toasted sesame seeds and chopped chives and/or scallions.