Chinese New Year arrives Tuesday and so my thoughts have turned to Asian cooking.

That term, Asian cooking, reflects many dishes and styles from many countries as we add the flavors we love.

With stir-fry we can quickly prepare delicious, nutritious dishes, be it Asian or an everyday veggie side dish. Stir-frying vegetables (and meat) maintains their color, texture and nutrition and enhances flavor and appeal.

This "Yum Sauce" is one we put together for vegetable stir-fry. And for that stir-fry, the list of vegetables is long.

Pick out your favorites and try a few new ones.

Yum Sauce

1 1/2–2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup unsalted chicken stock or broth

1–2 teaspoon hot chili oil (you also can use Sriracha, dried chili flakes or dried or fresh hot pepper to taste)

1 heaping tablespoon (or to taste) shredded or minced fresh ginger

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

Sweetener to taste, start with a tablespoon of sugar, Splenda, honey, brown sugar, etc.

2–3 teaspoons cornstarch

Combine these ingredients and set aside. Note: I also toss a little minced garlic and/or ginger with the veggies as well.

Vegetable Stir-Fry

3 cups or more vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces, cut on slant when possible (See accompanying list)

Vegetable oil (I like extra light olive, peanut, avocado oils — it's your choice — or broth)

Splash of sake or white wine — optional

Unsalted, dry roasted peanuts or toasted slivered almonds

Heat skillet to hot. Add vegetables, tossed with a little oil, starting with the veggies that take a little longer to cook, such as broccoli.

As you add veggies, continually flip them until they are tender-crisp, and add a small amount oil or chicken broth, if needed.

Stir in your preferred amount of Yum Sauce and quickly cook until sauce is thickened. Serve topped with unsalted, dry roasted peanuts and on a bed of brown rice.

Note: Yum Sauce goes well in Asian meat dishes. We like beef added to this recipe.


■ Bell peppers, all colors, sliced thin, add great taste and color to the dish

■ Bok choy (stalks first. When dish is about done, add sliced leaves)

■ Napa cabbage or Chinese cabbage (add at last moment of cooking when adding sauce)

■ Eggplant, Japanese or standard

■ Leeks (white part sliced)

■ Broccoli flowerets, peeled/sliced stems

■ Onions

■ Snow peas/snap peas

■ Zucchini

■ Mushrooms (all kinds)

■ Kale

■ Water chestnuts

■ Bamboo shoots

■ Baby corn

■ Bean sprouts

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